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Thirty years ago, on Dec. 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman fatally shot John Lennon outside the Dakota apartment building in New York City. Truly, as Lennon’s Beatle-mate, George Harrison, wrote in his song, “All Those Years Ago,” Chapman is “The Devil’s best friend, someone who offended all.” Chapman’s bloody, pusillanimous deed extinguished the creative fires of an artist who only wanted to “Give Peace a Chance.”

Isn’t it strange how the peacemakers throughout history have met violent deaths (e.g., Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Anwar Sadat)?

Beatle John was the voice of global peace and brotherly love during a time of intense turmoil, war, racial tensions and injustice. Ironically, John Lennon’s sincere belief in the benevolence that lay deep within the souls of all people contributed to his tragic, senseless murder at the hands of a deranged, disillusioned fan.

How convenient that Chapman claims to have “found God” and believes that John Lennon would have wanted him released from prison. I guess we would never really know for sure.

Chapman has been imprisoned at the Attica Correctional Facility in New York since 1981. He has been denied parole six times. Each of Chapman’s applications for parole has been vehemently opposed by Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono.

Chapman should stay in prison for as long as John Lennon remains deceased.

I think that we should remember John Lennon in our prayers. Chapman murdered Lennon, the man.

However, John’s spirit didn’t die with him on that mild December night three decades ago.

Hopefully, John’s beautiful dreams of peace, love and understanding will become realities in the 21st century. In John Lennon’s own immortal, poetical words from “Imagine:” “You may say I’m a dreamer/but I’m not the only one/I hope someday you’ll join us/and the world will be as one.”

John is gone. This is true. But he lives on — within me and you.

Joshua Di Genio

Junior, Seoul American High School

Seoul

True redemption

In response to “There’s room for redemption,” (letter, Nov. 29, Europe edition). I was really saddened and disturbed when I read this letter to the editor. It’s amazing how people can manage to close their eyes when they don’t want to see the reality of things.

If you have never taken the time to read more about this case, and dog fighting in general, you would probably imagine a dog fighting ring as some sort of a remake of the “101 Dalmatians” where the dogs play rough while having fun at the same time.

There are individuals who don’t believe dog fighting is a problem. They subscribe to the mentality of “your dog, your property and your business.” In certain parts of the world, it’s also part of the culture. It still doesn’t make it right!

Vick’s involvement includes dog fighting and brutal executions of dogs. Do you want me to be clear?

Dogs at Vick’s compound were hanged, electrocuted, drowned or even worse. He even admitted to slamming a dog to the ground repeatedly because the dog didn’t show “game.” On occasion, he even threw his own family pets in the ring.

These are cold and cruel acts that he continued for years. There is something seriously sick about this all.

Did he pay his debt? Well let’s say he took a shortcut, by pleading guilty under a plea bargain that allowed him to avoid more serious charges.

Does this mean that I want to see his face taking over the back page of a newspaper and hear people applauding him just because the guy can run fast while holding a football at the same time? I don’t think so!

But you are right, in the end there’s room for redemption — and I want to quote something I read in an article: “There is a story of redemption here, but it’s not with Vick. He made choices that determined his fate. The Vick’s dogs are the true redemptive ones. They overcome abuse at the hands of monsters and when given the chance, they learned to trust in the very species that inflicted them such pain. Not only did they learn to trust, but many have become service dogs for the elderly and handicapped. Now ... that is a true story of redemption.”

And for those that didn’t survive Vick’s favorite hobby, there is comfort in knowing that they no longer suffer.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” — Mahatma Gandhi

Maria C. Jones

Heidelberg, Germany

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