Niagara Gazette

Opinion

December 17, 2012

CITY DESK: A cold, numb feeling

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — The man who wrote “Imagine” — a clarion call for peace if there ever was one — was gunned down by Mark David Chapman in 1980. 

I was just a kid myself then but I remember coverage of the event well. 

In my house, the Beatles were played often and always. Our family — like so many others — took Lennon’s loss hard. 

The world would later learn that Chapman’s decision to gun down Lennon in the prime of his life had something to do with The Catcher in the Rye and Holden Caulfield and hypocrisy and such. 

During his most recent parole hearing, Chapman said he was now “embarrassed” by the murder and chose Lennon “because he was very famous.” Chapman reportedly said he could have just easily shot Johnny Carson or actor George C. Scott.

Do guns kill people or is it the people pulling the trigger? 

Whatever combination of nature and nurture is at work here seems to be working overtime of late. 

People have been shooting one another for no good reason for years. 

Sadly, it seems, only the frequency — and now the targets — have changed. 

Those of us left trying to make sense of the violence can conclude only that whatever snaps in someone’s life to cause them to gun down “famous people” or little kids is, quite simply, evil. A sickness. A symptom of larger problems. A failure by all of us to recognize something’s not quite right or to help keep the hinged from going unhinged. 

It’s a sign, I also believe, of the subtle demise of so many of those things our country once held so dear — God, family and country. 

In other words, the proper order of all things. 

It’s the sort of stuff that prevented generations past from opening fire one on another in crowded places. 

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