Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Assassination of John Lennon

On this day, 29 years ago, John Lennon was shot to death. Who would have expected such a thing to happen? I was visiting a friend in Missouri on that day and living at home after getting my master's degree from Michigan State University.

At Michigan State, I lived in a graduate dormitory, and a strange man lived there. In fact, there were a lot of strange people who lived in that dorm--it seemed to attract the isolated and the obsessive-compulsive--but I stray. The man who I remember was big and burly, and wore a trench coat year round. He had no friends, and walked around talking about John Lennon all the time. I sometimes might see him on campus--wearing his coat in the hot weather. Mostly I saw him in the television room at night, and he might bring up John Lennon to anyone in there. He was bizarre. Looking back, I believe he had Asperger's Syndrome, but at that time I had never heard of it.

Months later, when John Lennon was murdered, I believed that man from my graduate dorm had to be the culprit. I mean, it only made sense. I did some research on Mark David Chapman and he wasn't the man from my school. It still amazes me to this day. Why, if Mark David Chapman hadn't killed John Lennon, then this other guy might have.

And always, there is the question of what if? What if John Lennon had lived? What new art might he have achieved? There is no telling what he and Yoko might have done--one never knew what he was up to. It is such a great tragedy.

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