Today in history: Dec 8

By Terry Odenigbo


Today’s anniversary is a poignant reminder of the dangers of obsession which is very much alive in our Nigerian culture. Football Stars, Nollywood actors, Political figures, Religious clerics, musical icons and television personalities all have fans and followers who love and adore what they stand for. However, a percentage of those followers are obsessed and today we remember one such obsessed fan- not here in the heart of Sub Saharan Africa- but in faraway New York City. John Lennon, a former member of the Beatles, the rock group that transformed popular music in the 1960s, was shot and killed by an obsessed fan in New York City on this day in 1980.The 40-year-old artist was entering his luxury Manhattan apartment building when Mark David Chapman shot him four times at close range with a .38-caliber revolver. Lennon, bleeding profusely, was rushed to the hospital but died en route. Chapman had received an autograph from Lennon earlier in the day and voluntarily remained at the scene of the shooting until he was arrested by police. For a week, hundreds of bereaved fans kept a vigil outside the Dakota–Lennon’s apartment building–and demonstrations of mourning were held around the world.Lennon was considered the intellectual Beatle and certainly was the most outspoken of the four. He caused a major controversy in 1966 when he declared that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus,” prompting mass burnings of Beatles’ records in the American Bible Belt. Anyways, Psychiatrists deemed his killer- Chapman- a borderline psychotic. He was instructed to plead insanity, but instead he pleaded guilty to murder. He was sentenced to 20 years to lifeDo you think Chapman got what he deserved? Do you think John Lennon had it coming when he compared his band to Jesus? What are your thoughts?

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