Thirty one years ago today, "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" shot former Beatle, John Lennon, four times in the back as Lennon was about to enter the building where he lived in New York City. --- Last year, prior to the 30th anniversary of Lennon's death, actor/comedian John Fugelsang urged the media to avoid saying the name of the killer to deny him the notoriety he hoped for in connection with his crime:
The idea sounds good, but it's not good. Censorship of any type only creates more curiosity and focus on the forbidden subject. Calling Voldemort, Harry Potter's nemesis, "the dark lord" only gave him more outlandish power. Those who can't remember the name of Lennon's murderer may have googled it by now, but if not, here it is: Mark David Chapman, currently serving 20 years to life at Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, N.Y. He's been denied parole six times.
Society should remember his name for a number of reasons: first and foremost, to be aware of when his parole hearing comes up again. Secondly, his role in Lennon's murder is a fact of history. And a citizen's job is to remember the past so we are not required to repeat it. Sadly, Chapman and others who kill and maim to achieve notoriety (such as alleged Tucson killer Jared Lee Loughner) serve to remind us that as a society we cannot afford to ignore anyone, especially our mentally ill children. They grow into adults who can do unconscionable things.
Throughout his storied life, John Lennon spoke his mind and would want the truth about his life and death to be told. Invoking Chapman's name as murderer is necessary: He shot a famous musician, activist, thinker -- a person who defined an era. Not invoking Chapman's name leads to a dangerous sort of amnesia.
We should keep remembering the names, the details, the circumstances. Maybe someday, we'll see these people coming.