Back on Dec. 8, 1980, legendary singer, songwriter and former Beatle John Lennon was senselessly murdered in cold blood by Mark David Chapman. The weapon used was a .38 caliber handgun; Chapman is serving a 20 years to life sentence. Mr. Chapman was denied parole once again, for the eighth time just last week. It is reported through several reliable sources, that he still continues to boast about the manner in which his crime was carried out. In his own words, it was "Incredible planning, absolutely, incredible stalking." While at this latest hearing, he also expressed remorse, the overwhelming consensus throughout worldwide and national legal, entertainment, religious and other communities is that his release would not only put himself in grave danger (from Lennon fans) but other present day high profile individuals and /or entertainers as well.
At the same time, prison overcrowding might suggest sentence reduction based on good behavior for persons having committed similar crimes, but the complete and total lack of reason/motive for Chapman's crime and the worldwide popularity of John Lennon would likely preclude any such possibility.
Chapman's initial defense was to plead insanity, but per his own request to his legal team, he chose rather to plead guilty, which was allowed by the Judge at his trial.
Chapman had been an avid Beatles fan, and had over a three month period, developed a delusional, psychotic and angry stance against the famous singer. In the hours before the shooting, Chapman had met John Lennon on the streets in the vicinity of Lennon's home and had asked him to autograph a copy of Lennon's album, “Double Fantasy.” Chapman awaited Lennon's return to the Dakota apartment building that evening where Lennon resided with his wife Yoko Ono, and shot him five times with a .38 caliber revolver. Chapman remained passively at the scene and offered no resistance to arrest.
Arizona tragic incident renews gun controversy.
On Monday, August 25, an instructor at an Arizona shooting range was accidentally killed by a nine-year old girl being instructed in the operation of an Uzi sub-machine gun. The girl apparently lost control of the weapon due to recoil as it was being fired, and the instructor was hit in the head.
Once again, the full spectrum of opinion regarding firearm use and safety has come into the spotlight; and the overwhelming response to this incident appears to be one of severe question and criticism as to the logic behind a nine-year old being allowed or encouraged to engage in the use of a 9mm automatic weapon.
There are strong opinions on both sides of this issue, those in support of childhood training in the use and safety of such weapons will argue that with proper training and guidance, children can be educated and disciplined in the use of firearms. One firearms instructor/enthusiast remarked during an interview that as in any sport, “accidents will happen.”
But child psychology experts had stated over and over, that the human brain does not reach a state of adult maturity and reasoning capacity until sometime in the early twenties, and that while children, and adolescents may appear to comprehend the seriousness and finality of firearms danger, they do not possess the the fulness and depth of understanding concerning the long term consequences of firearms accidents or intentional criminal use.
Many are now awaiting a full and official statement/response from the National Rifle Association regarding this incident.