Imagine No Guns: John Lennon & All The Talented Artists Senselessly Shot & Killed Might Still Be With Us Making Great Music

Posted by Billyjam, December 8, 2015 04:09pm | Post a Comment
"Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace"

New York City: By 9am this morning when I passed by Strawberry Fields on the west side of Central Park, already a substantial size crowd had gathered to pay tribute to John Lennon who was murdered 35 years ago on this date.  One guy with eyes closed intently strummed "Imagine" on his acoustic guitar as the solemn crowd around him gently sang along. Dedicated to Lennon's memory, the landscaped section of the vast city park is across the street from the famed Dakota Building. It was outside that NYC landmark on December 8th, 1980 that the beloved Beatle was fatally gunned down and killed by a deranged "fan." 

If Lennon's murder had occurred today undoubtedly there would be politically motivated, second amendment advocates, rushing to defend the use of firearms. I'd bet that they'd reason (as was the case in aftermath of San Bernadino last week) that if John Lennon had been carrying a concealed weapon that he could have defended himself.  Even back in 1980  Lennon's assassination brought forth to public discussion the issue of gun control in America. But even the cold blooded murder of the 40 year old John Lennon did not affect US gun laws, or sales of guns. In fact the sales of deadly firearms has multiplied in the years since; bringing with them the toll of human suffering. This morning Yoko Ono tweeted the image above with the disturbing statistic that in the years since the murder of her late husband that over one million people have died by gun violence. 

Among that staggering figure of 1,100,000 gun murders of Americans over the past 35 years is a significant number of musicians and artists killed by bullets. One such artist was heavy metal axe god Dimebag Darrel who coincidentally like Lennon was also killed on December 8th. What made the 2004 murder of the guitarist, who came to fame with Pantera, all the more dramatic was that he was shot while performing onstage in Columbus, Ohio with his later band Damageplan. Three others were shot and killed in the same incident. Imagine if there were no guns at all; think of all the artists that might still be with us today. The long list includes Marvin Gaye who shot by his own pops in '84 and Latin music superstar Selena "the Queen of Tejano music" who, at the young age of 23, was shot and killed by the president of her fan club. If there were no guns there would be a many more living members of my favorite genre; hip-hop. That long list includes BDP founding member Scott La Rock, Big L, Biggie Smalls/The Notorious B.I.G., Freaky Tah, Jam Master Jay, ATL rapper Dolla, Detroit's Proof, and Houston rapper Fat Pat who was down with Big Hawk who was also shot and killed eight years later. And of course there's 2Pac whose life and career was cut short by gun violence. Tupac's 1996 murder in Las Vegas is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Bay Area hip-hop/rap artists shot and killed. Others include The Mac, Mac Dre, Charizma, Killa Keise, MC Ant, Seagram, and fellow East Bay rapper The Jacka who was killed earlier this year on the streets of East Oakland. Back in 1992 Plan Bee of Hobo Junction was the 108th murder in Oakland of that year. The artist was a close friend of graf great Mike DREAM Francisco who, 17 years later, would himself be murdered at gunpoint also in Oakland. Another coincidence that's similarly unsettling was the shooting murder of Hitman of RBL Posse whose murder came seven years after the 1996 New Year's Day shooting murder of RBL Posse founder Mr. Cee

Even though it will never occur in this gun-happy nation, where opposition to firearms is deliberately confused with political freedoms,  imagine what an America without any guns might be like. Imagine the many talented artists, senselessly taken from us by guns, that might still be alive and creating their art!  Note that this article does not represent the views of Amoeba Music but this Amoeblog writer who welcomes the inevitable, albeit misguided and unsubstantiated, "freedom" arguments in the comments below that I expect will blindly avoid the freedom to life issue.


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Charizma (5), The Jacka (16), Rappers Murdered By Guns (1), John Lennon Death 35 Year Anniversary (1), Mac Dre (33), Mc Ant (1)