1. I was stunned to hear you tell of his donation to the NYPD vest fund. It seems inconsistent with John the public figure, but obviously he was a concerned neighbor in addition to a dedicated father. In our polarized world, where you can’t judge Bristol’s dancing except in light of your politics, I always applaud those who “cross over” to be neighborly or helpful.

  2. Thanks for that very interesting post Massad. The real story behind the scenes is always more interesting than the one we end up seeing. Plus, the real story about a person versus the assumptions we make is always interesting.
    From what I have seen elsewhere, Lennon seems to have been a fairly pleasant fellow and was polite and considerate to his fans that approached him in NYNY.

  3. As with anyones death in particular.We greive for the good. He was famous. So his death would be of topic. I prefer to honor and rememnber those that died on Pearl Harbor Day, than a pot head. Sorry Mas, but he was a spokesman also for potheads and a wolrd with no rules. I f , someone had given me a five figure dollar amount , I would protect him also.If he hadn`t , the cops would not even care. We also have Christmas coming…to me ,that is the one we should truly remember.

  4. I never really thought much about John Lennon. To touchy, feeley for me. I couldn’t tell you where I was when I learned of his death. It didn’t mean much to me personally but I didn’t like the fact that he was murdered.

  5. I have no idea where I was or what I was doing that day. It wasn’t an important happening for me.

    I thought the Beetles music sucked.

  6. Massad, Thanks for telling about John Lennon’s help in getting vests for the NYPD. I had known that but many have not heard about it. John Lennon was a decent man, husband and father, as well as a talented musician. He very much desired to do good things for others. It’s a shame that violent crime took him so young.

  7. I was studying for finals at college. After a long day / night in the library, I finally dragged myself through my apartment door, to be greeted by the shrill phone ringer. It was my brother; who, with a catch in his voice, told me that there would be no Beatles reunion.

    We all lost a bit of our future that night.

  8. Mas,

    I remember Ted Koppel on Nightline and the whole “sensation” it created. I was in High School at the time, and not much of a John Lennon, or Beatles fan. It wasn’t until the death of Johnny Cash that I came to understand how some of Lennon’s fans were affected.

    His donation for bullet resistant vest is somewhat in conflict with the public image I had of him, but not suprising as I’ve aged. The more I grow, the more I realize how much alike we are in this world. None of us knows when, or how, we will expire just that we will. Sometimes the death of a figure, like Lennon, helps us to remember that, and helps us to appreciate those around us.

    We all have an impact on others, even if we think we don’t.

    Take care and stay safe,


  9. John’s politics aside he was a good musician and that is what I choose to remember about him. I knew about the contribution to help buy vests for officers. Shame he didn’t buy one for himself. He was a high profile figure who refused to take his own security serious. In fact the killer had considered other targets but he was more accessible. There is a lesson to be learned.

  10. I’m probably the most “progressive” person that reads your blog, disagreeing, as I do, with my liberal fellows on the 2nd amendment. I’m glad to hear some folks here are able to see that people are not easily categorizable into black or white. That, unfortunately, is the kind of thinking that has us where we are today as a country.

  11. With the work schedule as it was at the time, sleeping when the news broke. On the way to work we heard of the shooting. Working for Firestone Tire on 58th St and 11th ave in Manhattan we stopped at the Dakota. Sad scene as well as the scene at Roosevelt Hospital.

  12. Mas,

    Thanks for sharing. I, like others, were unaware of the donations for vests for NYPD. That’s an interesting insight.

    I put John Lennon’s assassination in the same group as others within a couple decade period of time: the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, JR and even Malcolm X (after he came around after his trip to Mecca and realized that reverse racism is no better than the racism he was trying to fight). Those guys and their families were inspiring– they were bringing the people together and challenging status quo– challenging the divide and conquer attempts by the elite that try to keep us all mad at a group of people only slightly different than ourselves.

    I do hope that you do not censor this post, because it needs to be stated when we remember John’s passing, that the CIA and FBI appear to have at a minimum been aware of the assassination, if not complicit to the point of ordering it to occur. As McCartney called him ~ “he who we won’t name” ~ John’s assassin– there is no hard evidence that he even owned a single Beatles album, let alone was a fanatic fan whose delusions drove him to kill Lennon for fame.

    Yoko Ono has repeatedly lobbied to get Lennon’s killer released on parole, but the powers-that-be have kept him under lock and key. Partially, that might be because of John’s and Yoko’s more liberal ideas about incarceration, but I believe she also wants him released because maybe then we would all learn more about WHY he killed Lennon in the first place.

    For more reading on Lew Rockwell’s site (who frequently links back to this blog) and shares much of the self-sufficiency ideals of Backwoods Home:


  13. Thanks Mas,

    I was 15 and lived a mile and a half up Central Park West from the Dakota. I was in private school and my classmates were sons and daughters of the powerful and influential. While not a Beatles at all (very much anti-Beatles) I remember very cleary the news flash on the radio the Lennon had “expired” and the chill that rushed over. What did “expired” mean? I wasn’t sure. So the next day a female classmate friend of mine who was 110% Israeli when down to the Dakota and stood in the throng. Very vivid memories. BTW it was rumored my friend’s father slept with an Uzi under his bed in their East D
    Side apartment but I could never confirm

  14. Thanks for the clarifications, Mas. The Cranberries recorded ‘I Just Shot John Lennon’ and labeled the murder weapon a Smith and Wesson 38. I suppose a pop music group can be forgiven poor research.

    Lennon was amazingly creative- artistic in several media. His world view (ala ‘Imagine’) was, however, execrable.

  15. Hey Willie,
    John Lennon was not a pothead. He was for peace in the world and a great humanist. As it pertains to our troops the last and only justified war we’ve ever fought was WWII. The rest have been wars of aggression and hegemony committed by our government and unfortunately the soldiers pay the ultimate price. Open your eyes a little more.

  16. Mas, Thanks for telling the story. I also enjoyed the article on the Masonic Hospital. I am a cancer patient , and will have life saving surgery there very soon. I have been reading and learning from your articles since the very early 80s. I learned my first weapon retention from one of your articles, one so old you were using a Model 66. Keep up the good work !

  17. Best of luck on your surgery, Fan! From what I saw there, you’ll be in good hands. Please get back to us and let us know how you’re doing after the operation.

  18. Mas, a great article that moved me. If memory serves, I bought Lennon’s Double Fantasy album just a few days before he was murdered. I still listen to it occasionally, the C.D. version that is.

    With respect to Winston’s post above, his link to is spot on as a site that should appeal to many readers of this website.

  19. I was surprised that Lennon had made the contribution for vests. Seems out of character for him, as an anti-establishment type.
    I have no memory of where I was at that time as I was not a Lennon follower. I did not particularly care for the Beatles music, however everything is relative. As the years have piled on other music has gotten worse and makes the Beatles sound better or maybe hearing that music now returns me back to “the old days”.

    What makes a persons death more important than someone elses?

    Locally, about 2 years ago,we had two brothers killed and their sister badly injured by a Sheriff’s Deputy’s squad car answering a domestic dispute call that was out of his jurisdiction. The officer was traveling 103 mph WITHOUT light or siren. The one young man had just gotten back from a tour of duty in Irag and had gotten married. The three of them had gone out for ice cream. Which is more tragic?

  20. Mas,
    Thanks for the portrait of Lennon and for bringing home to us all another look at the futility and anger in a murder. And thanks for the look you gave us of yourself in the telling of the story. It is another reason I point out you and your writing to my friends who are frightened of gun ownership. We need more examples to show them of people with heart and soul behind the backstrap. In 25 years of marriage I gave up my share of the 2nd Ammendment, but when we broke apart I regained full citizenship and learned what I needed to know to protect myself and my country. Keep healthy and keep writing.

  21. Thanks for the interesting information. And is indeed insightful to see these postings. But, to say that Lennon didn’t do a LOT of pot (which would make him a pothead) would be like denying the Beatles didn’t drop a lot of acid. Please, folks. Remember them as they were. But don’t try and make them out to be something that they were not. Those of us from that era remember only too well. No, the Beatles weren’t angels. Remember when Lennon proclaimed the Beatles were more famous than Jesus?

  22. Mas, thanks for the information about Lennon.

    I have never been the greatest fan of his music, and I found that his political views, well, painfully niave would be the most charitable assessment.

    But sticking his hand in his pocket to support the street cops of the NYPD . . . well, no matter how much you think you know about someone there is always something else.

  23. Well, being that I was seven at the time I just remember the news reports and wondering why he was such a big deal. I do think it’s interesting that you were at such an unforgettable event and the insider point of view is always better than hearsay. No doubt he was a talented man, but the fact that he said they were “bigger than Jesus” and was probably right, at least where he lived in NY and larger cities has always irritated me. The fact that anyone can be deified like that says a lot about people in general I guess. He says in his song “Imagine there’s no heaven” I hope he imagined there was as he was there dying. The thought that someone would go out not believing that, is really disturbing to think about.

  24. Thanks for the great article, Massad. I was heading back to my apartment from law school studies when I heard about Lennon’s murder. I was stunned, to say the least. There are few people that had as much influence on our generation’s music. I remember walking into my apartment in Washington, DC and telling my girlfriend (now my wife) about it. It was devastating news.

    My wife and I were in New York in October, and it just happened to be on Lennon’s birthday. Getting anywhere near Strawberry Fields was nearly impossible and there was also a large vigil going on across the street at the Dakota. I didn’t know about his contribution to the police department, but it is consistent with his love for New York.