“I was nobody until I killed the biggest somebody on Earth,” explained Mark David Chapman, the man who murdered pop-legend and political activist John Lennon 27 years ago today. Despite this dubious claim to fame and the sad rationale for recognition, I submit that Chapman remains a nobody.
Assassins are a peculiar breed of murderer. As Chapman succinctly summed in his quote to be an assassin is to kill someone of note beyond the sphere of conventional influence. That assassins shoehorn their way into history books or append themselves like footnotes in another’s biography presupposes that in some regard that the assassin is a lesser, indeed a nobody, despite the subsequent infamy their acts may incur. Certainly, in some instances, assassins could be construed as heroes – those who risk life and limb to nullify a despot perhaps, but such instances are rare.
Working strictly from Chapman’s telling 11 words, the man who extinguished one of the brightest lights of the 20th century likely assumed that the notoriety he achieved would confer some order of greatness. Of course, he was wrong. Chapman only managed to sadden the world and in so doing forfeited his own humanity. One can cop an insanity defense (he did), but you can’t cop an inhumanity defense.
I’ve wasted enough words on a man who did nothing and took everything. I think Lennon said it best:
He’s a real Nowhere Man
Sitting in his Nowhere Land
Making all his nowhere plans