Mark David Chapman Used Legal Handgun to Kill Lennon

8 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

John Lennon memorial in Hollywood to have ‘Stop Gun Violence’ theme.

NEW YORK (AP) — On a cold night 35 years ago, Mark David Chapman waited for John Lennon outside the New York City apartment building where the former Beatle lived with his wife Yoko Ono and his son.

Organizers of the annual John Lennon remembrance in Hollywood, slated for Tuesday at Lennon’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star outside Capitol Records as usual, are using this year’s event to address gun violence.With performances by Eric Church, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Chris Stapleton, Sheryl Crow and Nashville newcomer Steven Tyler, this past weekend’s “Imagine: John Lennon 75th Birthday Concert” found some of country music’s heaviest hitters paying tribute to the late Beatle, who would’ve turned 75 this past October. The featured speaker is scheduled to be Suzanne Verge, president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and plans for the evening include a moment of silence to honor the 14 people who died last week in the mass shooting in San Bernardino. Fans will be placing flowers on Lennon’s star in memory of the slain former Beatles singer and songwriter, and performers will sing his songs during an open-mike segment of the ceremony.

Performing “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” with help from harmonica player Mickey Raphael, the three kept things short and simple, with Stapleton singing lead vocals and the two country legends — both of them old enough to be Lennon’s big brothers — chiming in with harmonies during every chorus. Nelson receives the loudest applause, but Stapleton — who, at 37, is still three years younger than Lennon’s second son, Sean — shines the brightest, his voice ringing strong and clear from the stage of New York City’s Madison Square Garden. A stand-out performance at last month’s CMA Awards likely spurred the producers to put Stapleton front and center, drawing more well-deserved attention to a dark horse whose voice and songwriting chops are on par with those of his influences.

Lennon himself would’ve been proud. 2015 may not bring everything that Back to the Future II promised it would: flying cars, self-lacing shoes, we don’t see ’em happening over the next 12 months. (Then again, don’t bet against Nike.) But this year will definitely pack plenty of punch when it comes to cultural happenings. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again. In no particular order, Texas senator and Republican presidential aspirant Ted Cruz has: said acts of Christian terrorism stopped centuries ago, forgetting the Ku Klux Klan and the shooting in Colorado last week; claimed he has never met an anti-abortion activist who advocates violence, despite being endorsed by one just days before; dismissed the need for Planned Parenthood because there isn’t a shortage of “rubbers” in America; and made an offhand comment that Colorado mass shooter Robert Dear could be a “transgendered leftist activist.” All this in just the last week.

Air travelers are still able to take a gun with them on a flight as long as they declare the weapon, unload it, lock in a hard case and check it in their luggage. Cruz also has a favorite line he likes to use, which appears on the stump and in his book. “For a long time, the left has had two caricatures of conservatives: that we are either stupid or evil. Security experts say there’s nothing to prevent someone who follows proper security procedures from collecting the firearm from the baggage carousel at the destination airport, even if the weapon is illegal to possess in the jurisdiction to which they have traveled. “The airline knows the gun is there, the TSA knows, and you’re declaring it, but they’re not doing the second piece, which is asking whether the firearm is licensed in the ultimate destination where you’re going,” said attorney Jeremy Saland, who represents gun owners in airport arrest cases. “It’s an extra headache for them.” It does get enforced at New York airports, but usually only on outbound flights.

I take it as a backhanded compliment that they have, to some extent, invented a third category for me: ‘crazy.'” It’s typical Cruz: both self-aggrandizing and distant from the truth, with a little temporizing statement (“to some extent”) that rescues the self-aggrandizing part from being an outright lie. The revolver is stored behind bullet-resistant glass at the Forensic Investigative Division in Queens, New York, where it has been in police custody for 35 years, stored alongside the gun wielded by “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz. Weeks ago, the staff at MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes asked me to review presidential campaign books for them, mostly because no one wanted to read the damn things.

They’re meant to generate revenue and an excuse to go on talk shows, while their (usually ghostwritten) composition solidifies speeches for the stump. It’s a testament to the fatuous politispeak repetition of campaign books that one penned by a man who clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist and became solicitor general of Texas manages to surprise you for not only being smartly not-ghostwritten but also well-paced and occasionally funny and persuasive.

But once you get about halfway through the book – to national events that were part of your own memory, where you could pen the story yourself, where you are no longer reading memories so far outside the fact checker’s reach that you have to take Cruz’s word for it – suddenly you realize that what makes Ted Cruz’s book so exceptional is what makes him exceptionally nasty. In fact, all that lawyerly skill at crafting an argument seems to have been marshaled in service of careful elision — points that are true out of context or that are framed in such a briefly qualifying way as to avoid outright falsehood. For instance, despite being a 340-page work, the book possesses only 66 end notes, the plurality of which are dedicated to citing quotes from famous conservatives or noteworthy persons Cruz expects resonate with a right-wing audience. A paucity of end notes isn’t really glaring for these books; take away the double-spacing, and many conservative campaign books’ works cited pages could be printed on two Post-Its. But it stands out when someone like Cruz inveighs against Obamacare — his senatorial career’s Moby-Dick — and only comes up with ham-handed anecdotes about meeting struggling Americans in the heartland.

Not a single one of those jobs is even thirty hours per week, because Obamacare kicks in at thirty hours a week.” The really difficult questions to answer would have been whether a single mother of six children would qualify for significant amounts of aid, and especially whether she would have qualified for the Medicaid expansion if conservatives in the Nebraskan legislature had not rejected it, so of course the questions are not asked. And, in any event, there are the familiar dual horrors of rising premiums and Obama saying, “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” Naturally, Cruz ignores that premiums rose before Obamacare, that insurance companies Chicken Little all the time about rate hikes before rolling them back, and that part of the rise relates to people who are actually sick being able to get medical care that insurance companies actually have to pay for now.

On that last point, for a litigator, Cruz seems really allergic to using a wonderful legal word like “rescission,” which is too bad, because it explains rate hikes and changing plans. Simply put, before Obamacare, when insurance companies could rescind your contract the moment you needed costly treatment after paying for years, it was very easy to have a cheap plan you’d want to keep. But mentioning that would spoil the image of poor insurance companies that Cruz suggests were “lured into bed with Obamacare” via the Leninist thinking that “the capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.” Poor butterflies.

Luckily, Cruz notes, the Bush campaign could run to the right of McCain on tort and campaign finance reform, two issues that get the people to the polls in droves! It suggests that, if not for his counsel on these critical points, the Bush campaign’s larger war chest and its infamous push-poll asking residents of the historically racist state how they felt about John McCain’s “black baby” might have had no effect at all. He starts with your bog-standard, “Yes, almost all journalists are Democrats,” which might surprise the massive journalism apparatus the right has created over 40 years, before choosing an odd target. “There is, however, a new, particularly noxious species of yellow journalism…

Moreover, Politifact evidently shamelessly editorialized when they fact-checked Cruz (and every conservative’s) assertion that Obama kicked off his presidency by going on “a worldwide apology tour.” Then, before confronting the issue, Cruz concedes, “It’s true that he didn’t explicitly add the words ‘And I’m sorry.'” In fact, Obama “wasn’t exactly bragging.” So the new front in the liberal propaganda war is a fact check website that checked facts Cruz admits are not literally true without any poetical ear for interpretation. Busting Ted Cruz for selective narrative and hanging massive public policy decisions on anecdotal evidence (the most reliable kind!) would seem like nitpicking, but he can’t help himself. You don’t need to nitpick books like Donald Trump’s or Ben Carson’s, because on their faces they’re two of the most full-of-shit works ever published.

One reads like it was dictated to a flunky from a limousine phone call, and one reads like a preteen frantically rewriting the text of their Encarta CD-ROM six hours before the assignment’s due. Even books like Paul Ryan’s and Marco Rubio’s are lazy buzzword assemblages interrupted by performative grieving, because that’s what they need to be.

If that’s what he is, I don’t think it’s fair to blame on the rhetoric on the left.” On the other hand, it’s hard to believe that Cruz would seriously consider the breaking-news reporting of someone widely referred to as “The Dumbest Man on the Internet.” Not unless it was useful. And it sets the monsters of Planned Parenthood — teen-sex abettors, fetal-destroyers, profaners of womanhood — along a perverted axis whose terminus might as well be a little girl locked behind a bathroom stall while the door rattles under the pounding of a set of hairy white knuckles. And, sure, this sort of discussion might constitute playing the game of interpretation, but if Cruz would condemn Politifact for not engaging in the practice, he can hardly fault others for taking his exhortation seriously.

A Texas redneck like Steve Anderson never caught on as a “Stunning” member of the Hollywood Blondes, but once he got a leather vest, two Budweisers, two middle fingers and the name Stone Cold Steve Austin, people connected to a character so real to a part of his experience that he could slip into it the moment he stepped outside. The wit that made him a masterful mic and ring psychologist — and an excellent interviewer today — meant that, when the lights went on, he was that rogue Texas Rattlesnake, and everyone recognized him.

Even a contradictory boil like Antonin Scalia has his logic: it’s the hemorrhoidal resentment for foreignness and change that leads your granddad to rage at anything that threatens his fantasies of the good old days. Ted Cruz knows that, for all his erudition, he’s still an intellectual one-percenter in a party that rejects elites and revels in combative anti-knowledge.

Reading his book is like watching him put his mask on in the morning: the pages wear on, and the incisive first half gets quieter, as the volume on the demagoguing second half gets louder, until there he is — Ted Cruz, brother — and the arena goes nuts. He’s playing the heel to the media he knows he can outrage enough to disseminate his comments, riding his name and statement for page views for a three-day cycle: outrage, interpretation, contrarian defense. He knows claiming that Christian terrorism has been dormant for centuries is a contemptuous violation of an even Jeopardy!-level understanding of history. He knows a bearded mass shooter who mentioned “baby parts” was probably not firing from the left side of the aisle in defense of his feminine identity, but he knows speculating about it commits him to nothing.

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