John Lennon retreated to the Dakota in 1975 to raise his newborn son and didn’t come out for the next five years.
And when Lennon did, the world had changed, and not for the better.
So observed a writer in Esquire magazine several years ago in an article entitled, “The Case for Guns.”
I didn’t save the article, but something about it stayed with me. The author asked – why didn’t Lennon have a bodyguard?
Turns out Lennon had been asked the same thing, the author wrote, and the former Beatle cited the example of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro.
In March 1978 Moro was kidnapped by Red Brigades terrorists, who killed all five of his bodyguards. Two months later, Moro’s lifeless body was found in the back of a car.
What’s the point of hiring bodyguards if we all end up dead, Lennon asked.
Which was completely in character for Lennon, and still painfully naive.
Given the circumstances leading to Lennon’s death, any bodyguard worth his or her salt would have been wary of Mark David Chapman, the man who killed Lennon.
Even the mere presence of a bodyguard might have been enough to deter a hollow shell like Chapman.
That Chapman hung around for hours after Lennon signed an album jacket for him, waiting until Lennon and Yoko Ono returned home around 11pm, would have made VIP bodyguard services suspicious.
If someone was going to die outside the Dakota on the night of Dec. 8, 1980, it should have been Chapman instead of Lennon.
And Ono spared the agony of seeing her husband shot five times from behind.
And the couple’s 5-year-old son growing up with his father still alive and hearing a briefly reunited Beatles sing “In My Life” at the young man’s wedding.
(Initially written for the Media Watch blog at capecodtoday.com on Dec. 8, 2005)