October 4, 2004 02:57 | NewsPundit

What about love?

Love is all you need...

Parole for Mark David Chapman?: Cory Doctorow: Mark David Chapman, the loony who shot John Lennon in 1980, is up for parole.
An online petition calling for Chapman to remain in prison for the rest of his natural life has been signed by nearly 2,000 fans - and includes angry threats to Chapman's life should he be freed.

Somehow... this doesn't sit well with me. What was Lennon's position on incarceration? Even where his own life is concerned. Just wondering. I have no opinion either way on this specific case.

[Cop out update message]
I had intended to update this entry with the thoughts I had about the issue after first posting it, but you guys beat me to it and really, eh, we agree, and I just don't have the time... Sorry. So here is what I had started writing as an update. Your comments are basically what I was gonna say though... :)

Upon more thought, here is what doesn't sit well with me. What you or I may consider adequate punishment for murder aside, here is a man who faces additional punishment due to the celebrity of his victim and the act itself.

First let us look at the folks actually riled up by this and signing the petition. Are they doing so as a political act to express their belief in life-long imprisonment for murder, or is it out of an egotistical sense of "you robbed me of one of my favorite musicians" (plain revenge)?



That bothered me too. On some level I have problems with anyone working to deny someone parole. It's not up to revenge seeking or otherwise bitter folk to determine how the criminal justice system works. If their influence or opinions are needed, it seems to me that means the system is broken and needs to be fixed. Rehabilitation has to be possible, and if the parloe board determines someone has paid for their crime and have become rehabilited then that's all that should matter.

2- Boris Anthony

Precisely. I am just in the middle of updating this post with some other points... Mainly celebrity and mob justice... :\

I object on the grounds that celebrity should never be a factor in the workings of criminal justice, whether for or against the person in question.

Ha! I have an opinion, why should one criminal pay more for his crime than another convicted of the same? merely because his victim was a celebrity?


Celebrity is a factor only because the victim has more people to stand up for her/him. It's natural (I said "natural", not "right") that the release of a criminal who infringed on a celebrity meets much more resistance than that of a criminal who infringed on you or I.

I'm not disturbed by that at all because these people are just expressing themselves with a natural human response ("I loved John!"... even though he had no idea who *they* were).

What I find much, much scarier is how sentences can be changed based on the perceived "value" assigned to a human life, such as a police officer or a senator vs. a civilian. To get the most out of your vehicular homicide dollar, don't run over a cop.

I remember this reporter who was talking about his day in a NY courtroom, and seeing two back-to-back cases closed; one was about a young black man who stole AA batteries from a convenience store (owned by the defendants' neighbour...) during a blackout, and another was of a man who threw a two-month-old infant off a balcony, killing her. The battery thief got 8 years. The baby-tosser got two.

Sorry, that should read "district attorneys'", not "defendants"...

Why can't I preview my comments, Boris?!? ;)

I was going to update this entry earlier but you all have basically expressed everything what I was gonna say, re: celebrity etc...

So... yeah voila.

Steve, you would be disturbed by it if it affected you personally. I suggest you read some Camus and Kafka, just to get into the mood... ;)

Shut up wit de Preview! What de 'ell is Preview an'ways? ;)