Forty-one years ago, on December 8, 1980 to be exact, the world was robbed of one of the most influential musicians of the second half of the 20th century: John Lennon. The former Beatle, following that legendary band’s breakup, embarked on a highly successful solo career, releasing Double Fantasy, his fifth solo album, just a few weeks before his death.
Just 40 years old, Lennon was in the prime of his life, with the potential to continue providing the world with great music for decades to come.
Beyond the millions of Lennon fans throughout the world devastated by his death, Lennon’s wife and children suffered a deeper and more personal loss, of course.
And who’s to blame for all of this? Mark David Chapman, who shot and killed Lennon outside the latter’s Manhattan apartment building.
Though Chapman had been a longstanding Beatles fan, he grew to resent Lennon for song lyrics that Chapman interpreted to be communistic and/or anti-God. To a pettier extent, Chapman fessed to the parole board – he’s been denied parole 11 times, and counting – that he resented Lennon’s wealth and fame and killed him for “glory.”
Well, congrats, Mark, you wanted it, you got it. Your name will forever be intertwined with his. And for that distinction, you’ve spent the prime of your life in jail, entering at age 25, and now you’re a senior citizen. Sure, not everyone knows your name, and some may confuse you with John Hinckley, Jr., who also rose from anonymity to notoriety less than three months after you killed Lennon, by trying to do the same to President Reagan, the bullet missing his heart by a mere inch. Nonetheless, for the most part, a whole lot of people know who you are.
Forty years and four weeks after Chapman killed Lennon, another largely obscure individual, Jacob Chansley, donned a fur pelt and Viking horns, packed a spear, and illegally entered the U.S. Capitol Building, joining hundreds of others in transforming a legal civil protest by tens of thousands of the 2020 presidential election results into criminal trespass at least, attempted murder at worst. For good measure, he wrote a threatening note to Vice President Mike Pence that “it’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” Presumably, the “justice” would be meted out by Chansley and other lunatics in ludicrous getups.
The ‘QAnon Shaman,’ as Chansley is better known, didn’t kill anyone. Therefore, he certainly doesn’t deserve 41 years (and counting) in prison, like Chapman. But surely he deserves more than the 41 months to which he was sentenced.
I believe the most important reason for punishment is deterrence: to prompt future aspiring wrongdoers to think twice before breaking the law. Spending three years in prison as a celebrity among conspiracy nuts, perhaps emerging to write a book, land a talk show, and even run for Congress might seem like a good tradeoff for many with not much else going on in their lives. Heck, in other parts of the world, some twentysomethings and thirthysomethings feeling listless become suicide bombers; this is just 41 months.
Seven to ten years in prison would’ve been a more appropriate sentence. It would better serve as a warning to anyone who dares to mess with our precious Capitol ever again.
Chapman’s crime resulted in the loss of one life, and Chansley’s resulted in none. Combined, they’ll probably serve at least 50 years behind bars. And although every life is precious – and Chapman should’ve gone to jail if he had murdered an unknown Englishman living in New York – by killing John Lennon, he changed the world forever.
Similarly, Chansley should’ve been criminally prosecuted even if he’d broken into a random post office, perhaps angry that his mail wasn’t delivered on time. That he invaded the building that, along with the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court are the preeminent symbols of our great republic also changed the world.
Full disclosure: I have a personal gripe here. I’ve been trying to convince those with an open mind that the vast majority of Donald Trump supporters are level-headed, polite, sincere, law-abiding people without a racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, homophobic, or xenophobic bone in their bodies, who genuinely believe that Trump isn’t any of those things either, and if given the chance to advise him, would plead with him to change his taunting and abrasive tone. And now this clown Chansley becomes the perennial poster boy for the 2022 and 2024 Democratic campaigns.
You won’t catch me disrespecting any sitting president of the United States. Not even Joe Biden, who’s running neck-and-neck with Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson as the worst presidents of my lifetime. I won’t call him Sleepy Joe or insinuate that he wears adult diapers. But I will say that, to this point, I’m very disappointed in him, and the really scary part is, I’d take him over just about any other Democrat.
For the good of my country, I want to see the Democrats lose in 2022 and 2024, on the national, state, and local levels. There’s a lot of damage to be undone indeed, particularly to curb translational trespass, political overcorrectness, media malpractice, academic harassment, and now even medical tyranny.
But we may not get that chance, especially with images of Chansley in his Halloween costume with the words “Trump Supporter” underneath appearing in Democrat campaign ad after campaign ad. Thanks a lot, Jake. For a guy who claims to be a Trump supporter, you sure have a funny way of showing it.
But it’s not just Chansley; it’s all the others who dared to cross the line, literally and figuratively. If you can’t behave like human beings instead of animals, stay home next time.
And for my fellow Trumpians who are quick to point out that the media didn’t make nearly as much of the 2020 summerlong riots in major American cities hijacked by the left, stop making that comparison: it makes you appear as if you have a scintilla of sympathy for the Capitol invaders, which you shouldn’t.