Last Friday on MSNBC’s “The Abrams Report,” Hoda Kotb made an appearance to plug that evening’s NBC “Dateline” program centering on John Lennon’s murderer, Mark Chapman. Ms. Kotb said that in listening to 100 hours of audiotape she was struck by Chapman’s being “so meticulous. He’s so calm. He’s so measured; all the while he is plotting out one of the most heinous crimes of the century.”
Lennon’s killing was tragic, as most killings are, but categorizing it as “one of the most heinous crimes of the century” is a gross overstatement.
This is, after all, the century in which we saw millions of people killed by Mao. Millions of people killed by Stalin. Millions of people killed by Hitler. And what of the more than 900 who died in 1978 at the hands of Leftist “Reverend” Jim Jones in Guyana? Then there were Leopold and Loeb, Susan Smith, Charles Manson, Andrew Cunanan, Timothy McVeigh, Dennis Rader, Charles Whitman, Richard Speck, John Wayne Gacy, and Charles Starkweather. Moreover, there were Columbine, Heaven’s Gate, the Zebra Killers, the Tylenol murders, the Birmingham church bombing and the Atlanta youth murders. The list could go on and on.
The hagiography of John Lennon continues. “Dateline” describes “that fateful day when a generation’s voice was silenced.” I can’t speak for other Baby Boomers, but Lennon was surely not my voice. Yes, his murder was dreadful, but it certainly never will qualify as “one of the most heinous crimes of the century.”