John Lennon. Who he? (courtesy theatlantic.com)


A Convicted Murderer’s Case for Gun Control
theatlantic.com‘s headline proclaims. Strapline: Why a man serving 28 years to life at the Attica Correctional Facility believes a few simple laws could significantly affect criminal behavior. Taken on face value, it’s a pretty compelling argument for gun control. But why approach a pro-gun control treatise without applying critical thinking skills? That’s like trusting testimonials embedded in an infomercial. So let’s start with a simple question: is this for real? Does this convict exist and did he write this editorial? Well . . .

The author’s name is John Lennon—just like the ex-Beatle gunned down at the Dakota apartment building in Manhattan. What are the odds? By the same token, it’s odd that John Lennon (the murderer) wrote his anti-gun screed from Attica prison. John Lennon (the singer) wrote a song about prison conditions called Attica State.

The Atlantic ed provides a pic of [the other] John Lennon. A member of TTAG’s AI found a John Lennon at Attica Prison born in ’77 convicted of Second Degree murder, up for parole in 2029. So he does exist. Anyway, the editorial doesn’t contain any objective information on Mr. Lennon’s “case.” But it does start with his description of his crime:

It was swift and cowardly.

Defenseless, distracted by music, Alex sat in the passenger seat of the rental as I made my way to the trunk. I remembered Frankie’s words: “It’s loaded, cocked, and the safety is off. All you have to do is pull the trigger.”

Mr. Lennon’s lead suggests our anti-hero didn’t know much about guns. Yet later in the piece he says “My first gun was a chrome .25 caliber automatic with a pink, pearl handle. It was beautiful.” He claims he was 14 at the time. Lennon writes that he was in his “early twenties” when he shot Alex. The shooter had some ten years to get to [pink pearl-handled] grips with firearms operation. So why the gun-handling instrux?

Perhaps Mr. Lennon’s illegal gun dealer “Frankie” handed an experienced criminal a gun unlocked and loaded because he thought Lennon was an idiot. More likely: it’s complete cock and bull: a panty-waisted anti-gunner channeling his inner Raymond Chandler. Just putting it out there. And wondering why Mr. Lennon described his partner-in-crime Alex as “defenseless.” It certainly doesn’t jibe with the next bit of the narrative:

At that point in our lives, Alex and I, both in our early twenties, were gun-toting thugs immersed in gangster culture. We were out on bail for separate gun charges. A few years before, Alex had been acquitted of murder for allegedly shooting a woman through the peephole of a Brooklyn housing project door. After that, his reputation preceded him.

On that night I knew Alex had been extorting a man who sold drugs for me. It sounds sick but part of me aspired to murder because it’s considered an accomplishment in gangster culture — it would enhance my reputation, complete my image. Yet another part of me knew this culture was foul and murder was horrible.

Well that’s a problem. A man out on bail for gun charges murdered someone in cold blood. And now he’s lobbying for stricter gun control laws. Assuming the self-described gang-banger had one or two prior convictions (ya think?) perhaps we should stop right here and say that gun control laws aren’t the problem. Enforcement is. More specifically, Lennon, and people like Lennon, are.

Which he fully admits. Well kinda. That bit about Mr. Lennon’s conflicted emotions regarding murder sounds . . . ridiculous. (Not to mention suspiciously erudite). I wanted to be bad—being bad was good—but I knew being bad was bad. At best, it’s jailhouse re-imagination. At worst, it’s dime store novel nonsense.

Despite the Xanax dulling my emotions, my heart pounded when I picked up the M-16. A surge of power rushed through me when I felt the trigger. I pointed in the driver’s side window … and squeezed.

Arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to a jarring 28 years to life at Attica, I entered prison. For many years I sifted through a host of rationalizations, but today I accept responsibility. I’m sorry for killing Alex, sorry for taking all the life he could have had.

Wait. What? He was on Xanax? That’s not exactly what I’d call the twenty-something gang-bangers drug of choice. And if Mr. Lennon was taking too high a dose of the drug (dulling his emotions) would his heart be pounding? Would he feel a “surge of power”? Yet more convenient cognitive dissonance.

Now, about that M16 . . .

How many criminals use an M16 rifle—a military firearm—for a point-blank assassination? I’m not saying it couldn’t happen. I’m saying I’ve never heard of such a thing. An AR15, maybe. But then again, maybe not. According to this chart of 2011 firearms-related homicides in New York state, out of 774 total deaths, killers used a rifle in just five incidents. I’d bet the farm on the fact that none of them was a gang-banger and none of them involved an M16.

. . . at 14 years old I had the same hole in my heart that President Obama, in a Chicago speech, stated other child killers had. I had no business with that gun. Yet making guns accessible to troubled souls is business as usual in America.

Here’s how the game works. Criminals manipulate people with clean records — cash-strapped students, vulnerable women, drug addicts — to buy guns for them in states with minimal oversight, like Virginia. The criminal transports the guns to New York, then resells them or trades them for drugs that he’ll take back to Virginia to sell. This was the hustle when I was out in the ‘90s. I’m sure some form of it still continues.

A cold-blooded killer who’s an Obama supporter? Huh. More to the point, Mr. Lennon’s suddenly transformed himself from a “gun-toting thug immersed in gangster culture” to a “troubled soul” with a “hole in my heart” (not holed enough for Alex’s family methinks). This “pivot point” (as pandering pols like to call it) sets the reader up for the meat of the matter: railing against straw purchases (buyers with clean records buying guns for criminals). Which are illegal.

You can tell Mr. Lennon is twisting the facts to suit his narrative by the crack about “states with minimal oversight, like Virginia.” If we’re talking about gun store purchases, and he is, Virginia has the same gun buying background checks and anti-straw purchasing laws as any other state in the U.S. (Quick reminder: those are federal gun laws.) Also, FWIW, transporting a firearm into New York illegally for an illegal sale is illegal.

I’m not an interstate gun smuggler, nor do I play one on the Internet. But I reckon Mr. Lennon’s assertion that the majority of guns going into New York are part of a “triangle trade” (guns > drugs > cash) is impure BS. Cash is king. Period. But the three-cornered criminal conspiracy makes better (i.e. scarier) reading—even if Mr. Lennon backs off from the concept by professing a lack of current experience.

However, since the Senate — the most undemocratic aspect of our government — halted gun legislation in April, the nation has moved on. But the shootings and killings in the world I know have continued and will continue unless we refocus on the root of the problem: our gun culture, and the easy access it affords criminals. Background checks for killing machines cannot be rudimentary, where criminals know every step — the rules of the game I describe have to change.

I find it quite amazing, not to say completely incredible, that a convicted murderer has such a strong view of the Senate’s role within the balance of powers established by the United States Constitution. Also strange: immediately after professing ignorance of what’s going down on the street Mr. Lennon claims intimate knowledge of gun-related violence “in the world I know.” There I was thinking the world he knows is the Attica State Prison.

Mr. Lennon believes the current background check system for firearms purchases is “rudimentary.” Criminals are outsmarting the system. So we must change it to stop the shooting and killings. We’re listening . . .

Disconnected Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, says, “Criminals do not submit to background checks now. They will not submit to expanded background checks.” Grassley’s full-scale alternative gun measures, which focused on funding prosecutions for illegal gun possessions rather than background checks, helped derail the legislation in April. Aggressive prosecutions are punishment measures that, frankly, do not deter criminals from acquiring, possessing, or killing with guns. Conversely, intensifying background checks will change the game and spook those who buy guns for criminals. This will deter so-called straw purchases.

This political analysis is no more coming from an inmate at Attica State Prison than this post is coming from the boudoir of an unlinked Israeli supermodel. The passage is way too Inside Baseball and the sentence construction is pure Huffington Post. Frankly? Frankly my dear I don’t think that’s an ex-con’s conversational style. Conversely? Conversely I’ve not been huffing glue. So I’m calling B.S.

Even if we continue the suspension of disbelief, what the hell does “intensifying” a background check mean? And where did Lennon get the idea that someone in jail for a crime like, say, “gun charges” isn’t being deterred from shooting and killing people? Laws that prohibit are chronically irretrievably ineffective (see: Prohibition). Laws that punish git ‘er done. Provided they’re implemented. Which they weren’t in Mr. Lennon’s case. At least not early enough.

Government should also create a system that tracks gun-purchasing patterns. Credit-card companies already respond to irregular spending patterns—I used to shop with stolen credit cards, and when the employee at the register said, “I have to call the company,” I knew the jig was up. Similarly, it should raise red flags when a person who has never bought a gun suddenly buys five handguns. If the buyer is, for example, purchasing the guns for a drug dealer in the parking lot, he or she will be shaken if the sales clerk says something like, “We have to call and document this purchase with a new agency.”

The jig was up? Someone’s been watching too many black-and-white gangster movies. Besides, WTF? Does Mr. Lennon know that there’s already a long gun registry in the U.S. border states that requires gun dealers in those regions to notify the ATF when a customer buys two or more large caliber rifles in the same week? And the net effect on reducing gun-related crime has been . . . nada.

And what new agency is Mr. Lennon proposing? Americans need a new agency monitoring gun sales like we need another Ruby Ridge or Waco. Or DHS, TSA or NSA, for that matter.

Likewise, it’s bizarre that the bazaars selling guns aren’t regulated. Websites like Armslist.com provide a buffet of leads for charismatic criminals to buy guns from private sellers. These sites are like perpetual gun shows, which are truly the ultimate forums to make connections for criminals who blend in well — like me.

Bottom line, criminals create an indirect demand for gun manufacturers and merchandisers. For most criminals, purchasing a gun isn’t a one-shot deal. I had two separate gun-possession charges before I killed with an assault rifle. These are my convictions, but they hardly represent the number of guns I went through during my criminal career.

Bizarre bazaars. Charismatic criminals. Firearms forums. Glad to see English teachers in Attica have such a clever student. Only Mr. Lennon’s argument seems to be spinning off into space. His assertion that “criminals create an indirect demand” is not only a piercing glimpse into the obvious it’s also entirely misleading. How much of a market do criminals create for guns? Unknown but I’m thinking it’s statistically insignificant.

The fact that Mr. Lennon had not one but TWO gun-possession charges against him before he killed (with an assault rifle) is important. Again, assuming he exists, what was this gang banger doing on the streets?

Engulfed in an orgy of violence, my last month of freedom was chaos. Home invasions, robberies, murder — at the center of it all were guns: They would be disposed of, tossed after shoot-outs, then bought again. Easily. And I always bought new guns, so the notion that criminals just use stolen guns, acquired from a neighborhood burglar, is absurd. (The paper trail may suggest that, because the people making straw purchases also file false reports claiming the guns stolen.) Like most criminals, I created an extraordinary demand for the gun sector.

Home invasions? Armed robberies? Murder? A man confessing to committing heinous acts of terror and violence is asking law-abiding Americans—some half of which own firearms to protect themselves against exactly this kind of anti-social thuggery—to accept the idea that guns were at the center of his crime spree? How about this: John Lennon was at the center of John Lennon’s crime spree.

Its worth repeating: this screed proves that we need more criminal control. Not gun control.

By this point, Mr. Lennon has stopped making sense. New guns (define please) on the black market proves absolutely nothing about whether the guns in question were straw-purchased or stolen. Lennon’s bypassed logic as surely as the President skips Passport Control.

I’m where I belong. But without a gun I would not have killed. Like most misguided, impulsive youth in America, I was emotionally and socially retarded, with a killing machine on my waist. The gun sector and I do not share the same culpability. Hardly. It’s unethical, however, for stakeholders of Sturm, Ruger and Smith & Wesson to contest oversight that would prevent arming individuals like me. Hiding behind manipulative interpretations of the Second Amendment and arguments crafted by the gun lobby, which suggest that the panacea is to enrich our moral fiber, is no help. God knows I’d support moral reform — but fixing moral decay is a tall order. Meanwhile, our free-market gun culture is out of control. Let’s fix that. Now.

Mr. Lennon is certainly correct about one thing: he’s found his proper place in society. Anyone promoting the idea that criminals without guns won’t kill is extremely dangerous—with or without a gun. As for the rest of his blather—naming and blaming gun makers for “misinterpreting” the Second Amendment and “allowing” him to illegally possess and use firearms in the commission of felony murder (and lesser crimes)—GTFO.

 

Congress needs to take up gun control again when members return to Washington in September. This debate isn’t going away. “The world is watching the United States Senate, and we will be held accountable,” Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal, one of the senators at the helm of gun-control efforts, said after the bill stalled this spring. Perhaps it’s too utilitarian or oversimplified, but as a nation we’re left with the following question: Is the benefit of experiencing that surge of power, which some individuals get from sport shooting, worth the cost of unhealthy individuals, like me, experiencing a similar surge of power while they swiftly and cowardly shoot people?

For our own sake, for the sake of thousands of victims’ families affected, and thousands more whose lives will be affected, the answer seems clear.

No mention of Americans’ right to keep and bear arms to protect themselves against animals like Mr. Lennon and friends? Or the reason for the Second Amendment in the first place (defense against government tyranny)? Just a simple comparo between sport shooting and cold-blooded murder? I wonder why that is?

Bottom line: you couldn’t make this shit up. Only someone did. And it stinks. No surprise there. Whenever gun control advocates hide their true intentions to argue for civilian disarmament they create a miasma of misdirection that appeals to the gullible, the willfully ignorant and the intellectually dishonest.

Shame on The Atlantic Monthly for lowering their standards this far. I call on the editors (and industrious readers) to publish a link to an article on Mr. Lennon’s homicide conviction. And an article from an upstanding member of society willing to stand up to men without shame, honor or respect for human life.

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75 Responses to Atlantic Monthly Publishes Ex-Con’s Anti-Gun Agitprop

  1. I also fin it funny this idiot you honer by posting his BS. Say S&W made up the 2nd Amendment thats BS from the get go. Delete this crap from the site Robert.

  2. I’m calling bullsh1t. This guy doesn’t exist and this is nothing but anti gun propaganda disguised as journalism.

    • He may exist, but didn’t write that. Someone else wrote it and took it to him for his signature on the bottom, figuratively.

      • Someone with a liberal arts degree, a bit of ego and no editor wrote that – but it sure as hell wasn’t a con in Attica. I nearly spit-up on my keyboard when I got to “panacea”.

  3. He’s a convicted killer so who cares what he says, nobody that’s who.
    Screw him I hope he dies in prison!

      • I actually think most of them are decent examples of why the utopian dreamworlds carefully tended by liberals in their mental pictures of the future can never come to pass.

        But don’t worry, some of us seem to remain able to absorb entertainment as a luxury rather than as world view defining material.

        Heck, they must have gone over the “If you’re so peaceful then why are you using guns to defend yourself from our attempts to kill you?” “DUH, self defense is peaceful” conversation in each series, at least once.

  4. This is absolutely absurd. The gun grabbers just refuse to look at this as a complex problem about criminals, and the immorality the country has bred for itself. It’s an inanimate object’s fault

  5. “If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army
    pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and
    gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional
    privilege.”

    Arkansas Supreme Court, 1878

  6. Surely his conviction is public record. We know where he is and approximately when he was convicted. Should be searchable.

    BTW — yes, completely insane. The idea that extra background checks would somehow stop straw purchases, which he describes as people with clean records passing a background check in order to sell a gun to a criminal like him (a straw purchase) is crazy. This is already a Federal FELONY. He’s describing multiple things that are illegal — Federally. Felonies — that people are doing anyway. The entire idea that it’s the next law that’s going to be effective, that it’s finally the one that criminals will decide to follow, is absolutely bat s*** insane. The laws exist so we can punish when people break them. They do NOT prevent people from breaking them. It’s the threat of punishment that causes some folks to choose to follow the law. We have PLENTY of laws, as is evidenced by his story and his background and the fact that he ran afoul of them multiple times. We obviously do not punish sufficiently, because he was not deterred.

    • This is probably the work of some half intelligent anti gun half educated elitist thinking writer who had a conversation with some con and spun it into an anti gun rights agiprop story.

      • Forgive me if my math is incorrect, but if he was born in 1977, then his early 20″s would be 98, 99, 2000, and 2001 right? The FBI has 4 different charts noting the types of weapons used in murders for each of those 4 years. According to those FBI crime statistics, NOT ONE MENTION of anyone killed with a fully automatic weapon in those years. So, even IF he is who he says, and IF he did commit all those crimes, he is LYING about using an M16 in doing them. But then, why would trust anything to come out ot the mouth of convicted murderer anyway…..

        • The mention of an M-16 is just a red herring to demonize the AR family of weaponry in general.

          Robert’s analysis is right on the money and kinder than he could have been.

          He should be intimately familiar with the type that puts out this kind of trash: he knows the industry.

  7. I’m bookmarking this for later. That’s what I usually have to do with The Atlantic articles. I never find them when I have time (or inclination) to sit and read them.

  8. If the guy is real, then this is all just part of the game… to look good in front of the parole board. What better way to display how much he’s changed than showing an article that was published in the Atlantic supporting gun control. So predictable.

  9. But without a gun I would not have killed.

    This is the heart of the con’s con job. “It’s not my fault! I wouldn’t have killed except for that gun!”

    This piece of sh1t should have been executed a long time ago.

  10. However, since the Senate — the most undemocratic aspect of our government – halted gun legislation in April, the nation has moved on.

    Butthurt gun grabbers have been fond recently of denigrating the Senate with such descriptions, but they’re strangely silent about how their bill would have fared in the House of Representatives.

    • they are strangely silent about how reciprocal concealed carry got more votes than background checks.

      Speaking of background checks, they are eerily silent about how the EEOC/Obama admin is busy suing companies on the premise that background checks are discriminatory, they are trying to eliminate them for job applicants.

    • “Most undemocratic” Senate? As opposed to the House with it’s proportional representation, where the various incarnations of the gun bill stood no chance.

      As for that skewed-Senate canard, pardon me while I go on a rant. The bottom of this article from the Washington Post points to Neil Freeman’s equal-population states thought experiment.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/21/this-map-is-how-the-united-states-would-look-if-life-were-fair/?tid=pm_business_pop

      What whining-guy in the WP article does not mention, probably because he didn’t bother to read the work he referenced, is that with equal population states split up as Freeman proposed, there would be more not less representation of the ill-bred rural clod-kickers in the Senate.</u?

      When upState New York, interior Washington State, and now the parts of Colorado not overwhelmed by Californian carpetbaggers can get broken out into equal-population regions, the liberal mega-cities don’t dominate people hundreds of miles away living completely different lifestyles. In Freeman’s map, Adirondak, Pocono, Allegheny, Susquehanna, Shenandoah and Blue Ridge would all be reliable Red-State. Read in Ranier and Temucula on the Left Coast & that’s +16 votes in the Senate, a cost of it looks like -4 to me.

      Freeman says as much, which whiney-guy doesn’t bother to mention. I’ll say it plainly. Dispense with The Convict’s canard that the recent gun control bill that went nowhere in the Senate was somehow defeated there. (Again – it wasn’t. The bill would have been crushed in the House, and everybody knew it. The Senate just conveniently cooperated with the inevitable.) The dominance of large urban voter populations over rural populations in the same states gives the blue staters an advantage in the Senate vs. a more proportional representation, say of like population states. It’s effectively gerrymandering.

      The problem with the know-betters is they’re imperialists. Whatever way of organizing things, or whatever fact-free tale they can spin that will get them their way imposed on people they don’t know, well that’s what must be done.

      We should call them out on it every time – the imperialism, and the de-facto gerrymandering.

      Rant Ends

  11. It would be interesting to keep tabs on this s.o.b., and see if a reduced sentence is the reward for this garbage.

  12. The rhetoric, the style drifting from florid journalist to agenda-summarizing lobbyist, make it quite clear no inmate wrote this. Whether the inmate’s identity has been stolen or purchased is an open question. (Thanks, JeffW). The technical statements are clearly back-filled, elaborated from a checklist of legislative goals, I’d suppose. He always buys only new guns? To be sure would require several types of expertise he would not possess, identifying both mechanical wear and model year.

    I found myself enjoying the story as a spoof, wondering as John held the M-16 up to the car window, whether ‘Frankie’ had decided to go for ‘semi’ or ‘auto’ (or burst…) when he turned the safe ‘off.’ Why not surprise Johnnie! Cute, though to my dismay we never were told the answer.

    The Atlantic has a role to fill, though, satisfying the reading needs of those who have exhausted what Media Matters elsewhere provides.

    • I have to agree. The propaganda reads right out of Brady’s or MAIG’s playbook. Some thug who began a criminal career at 14 and was a drug dealer robber and home invader knows who is who in the US Senate? Why can’t I buy that. Maybe it is because half of all Americans can’t tell you who the last Vice President was….Heck, I try to stay informed, but I couldn’t have pulled Grassley’s name out of my a*s much less quoted him. Nope, these reads like a typical journalist wrote it. And maybe there is a John Lennon, and maybe he was interviewed about his life of crime, but that hardly detracts from the conclusion based on style that this was ghost written and highly embellished.

      • not even a typical journalist, unless you mean the typical piece ghost written by the anti-gun lobby. “gangster culture”? who talks like that?

        and by the way, why would you admit in print to a whole bunch of crimes you have not been convicted of??

        criminal defendants eligible for parole (even if its in 2029) speak through their attorney.

        double BS!

  13. I think it is interesting that the murder weapon was an evil assault rifle. Fits the profile of banning rifles then handguns.

  14. i call BS. surely someone here can look this case up in the NY York Courts Criminal Record Search. Shame on the Atlantic for not checking into this, its pure fiction.

  15. I think we will find out eventually that the murderer exists AND he “wrote” the article. Eastern intellectuals have long been fascinated, back to and including Mailer, with the reformed criminal, particularly if said reformation uncovered any kind of artistic or literary “ability”. I bet we will find that Lennon participated in some kind of writing program, either directly at the prison or indirectly via correspondence with someone on the outside. I bet we’ll find out he had an editor who worked with him on his piece, who helped him make it timely and compelling and persuasive and, and, and…

    At the end of the day, we will find that we have a very bright, murderous, con man behind bars who was playing some eager left winger into helping him “express himself on a wider scale.” Con man gets to laugh his ass off, left winger and his/her cronies up the journalistic chain get to experience shared orgasms and become the talk of the town for the next 20 min, and everyone else gets to ignore another useless article and move on with their lives.

    Those East coast intellectuals really, REALLY eat this shit up. The rest of the country? Not so much.

    • They sure do. Look up Edgar Smith — a child killer freed by William F. Buckley who was sent back to prison for kidnapping and stabbing a woman — and Jack Abbott, a murderer and bank robber befriended by Normal Mailer who murdered a waiter six weeks after Mailer engineered his release.

    • I’ll bet he gets plenty. i see conjugal visits in his future. I also see conjugal visits in his past, but they were nonconsensual.

  16. So if guns hadn’t been available, he would have graduated top of his class, have attended Stanford on a full ride, and would now be close to a cure for cancer. But noooo, we just selfishly had to have our guns, so he became a drug dealer and murderer instead.

    We are horrible, horrible people.

  17. Normally I wouldn’t pay much attention to nonsense like this, but whomever wrote this article went after Chuck Grassley. Thems fightin words right there. Grassley is one of the few remaining statesmen left in government.

  18. Lets resort to more name calling. Thanks and appreciated. You make the rest of us gun owners look like morons.

  19. I posted a thread on this article earlier yesterday. This is insane. It would be like having a pedophile write and article on how to raise kids.

  20. I call BS; my legal background exposed me to enough gangsta thugs to know that none of them meet any basic standard of literacy, let alone being published in some ivory tower rag. I doubt this git even knows he “wrote” this.

    • I call B.S, but for other reasons.

      There was that retired Crip on death row who wrote beautiful, inspiring stuff in an attempt to reduce gang ganginess.

      He never blamed the guns, but he coud write. Taking advantage of the educational opportunities in stir can lead to improved writing shills, e.g. Oreo Syndrome.

  21. I actually subscribe to the Atlantic (I filled out a survey and got it for free!), and it is basically an authoritarian right-wing rag. Right-wing corporatist on economic and foreign policy issues, authoritarian on Nanny/Daddy State issues, like guns. The whole magazine is dedicated to the idea that the Grownups know better.

    I recommend Harpers, a true left-wing rag, with a surprisingly gun-friendly editorial history.

  22. Given my experience as a state employee working with liberal women, the mention of Xanax, the “pink” .25 caliber pistol, the use of an M16 for a point blank shooting “cocked with the safety off”, the use of tokens “John Lennon” and “Attica”…. it all points to this being written by a woman are a VERY liberal male.
    Completely ridiculous, fraudulent article indeed.

  23. As a veteran Correctional Officer, I can attest that prisons are full of aspiring writers eager to ghost-write another inmate’s “uplifting essay” for the cost of some commissary goods. I suspect that this screed’s author drew upon the skills of one of these jailhouse capitalists to brighten up his prose. Any spelling errors or instances of awkward grammar that remained were doubtlessly polished away by the Atlantic’s editorial staff.

    It just goes to show that you really can polish up a turd. It still remains a turd, of course.

  24. Considering Armslist.com did not start until 2009 5 years after he went to prison, Unless the prison is giving him un filtered internet access he would not have any experience with it. Even if he did have unfiltered access to the internet, there is no reason he would be visiting the site to know what it is, unless he is only pretending to be reformed. Has any one been able to find any more information on this guy other than he actually exists to see if there is any discrepancies between the supposed murder and his story of the murder. (for example did the actual guy use an AR type weapon which are rarely ever used in murders or did the guy use a pistol like 85%+ murderers use.)

    Though to be honest I expect that the actual case does pretty much line up within the frame of the story, since in my opinion there is already enough information in that story that matches the little bit that we know of the actual guy for it to be a made up. My guess it’s one of two things either the guy that actually wrote it, was a friend or relative of the guy actually in jail and new the basics of the event. (or it could be really well research but that seems like a lot of work for make a fake story)
    The other thing I can see happening is the “journalist” found a prisoner that “agreed” with gun control and the journalist wrote the story and putting the prisoners name on it. This gives the prisoner something to show that he is “reformed” and “trying to stop gang violence” which will help at minimum when he is up for parole, and possibly even slightly better privileges. The Anti gun journalist on the other hand gets the story that “even criminals agree that stricter gun laws would reduce murders”

    Technically shouldn’t he have been charged with first degree murder instead of second like the actual guy did, because it’s quite clear that this murder was premeditated according to the story. Though I guess that could also be a result of a plea bargain.

  25. The funny thing that I seemed to have noticed is that criminals will violate the law.

    I mean, we could explain the law in PSAs and have celebrities speaking in video clips before movies… but somehow I have faith that criminals will not follow the law. YMMV.

  26. Wonder what they promised him if he signed his name to this? Im sure he didn’t write it. Just has to acknowledge that he did, and in return he will not get gang rxxxd?

  27. So here is my big hunch that this article is a phony.

    John Lennon was received in Attica 2/12/2004 and his been in there ever since as per the NY DOC webpage.

    Armslist.com was created in 2009 as per the armslist “about us” page.

    Some anti-gun fool wrote this with the permission of his name.

  28. This has all the run to ground due diligence and truth as Reefer Madness.
    Should we call it Rifle Madness? It’s so bad, he couldn’t even get it wrong.

    Is this who the Left considers their go to guy for clinching the gun debate?
    A criminal? Have these people lost, what little they had, of their minds?

  29. No gun law could address the series of bad decisions he made in life. Getting a gun from a thug at 14, living the thug culture, drugs, previous gun crimes; he had the red flags but he chose to ignore them.

  30. His story about using an M-16 (!) is contradicted by the testimony of the shooting, offered during his appeal. Here:

    “In December of 2001, Lennon, an alleged small-time drug dealer, drove to Williamsburg with Lawson in a rented Nissan Ultima[sic]. There they picked up two female friends and drove around smoking marijuana, until Lennon parked the car on a Bushwick street and allegedly shot Lawson between 10 and 15 times, while the victim sat in the passenger side and one of the women was in the back seat.”

    So, this fiction is that from the driver’s seat of a Nissan Altima he somehow wielded a 40-inch long carbine and shot (left-handed) into the passenger sitting to his right. -?!-

    There was no mention of any forensic report on the wounds to the victim, which must have been horrendous. That’s important, because 10 to 15 rounds of 5.56 NATO at point blank would have thoroughly pulverized a body, and permanently deafened anyone inside that automobile. And since no crime gun was recovered by police, I guess the author of this fiction (whoever it is) felt free to make one up.

    This sounds about how an ignorant White House intern would imagine that AR’s get used in street crimes, and so gun violence is our own fault if we don’t swallow harder.

    • My own edit:

      The author says he shot an M-16 through the passenger side window of the car into his victim 10 to 15 times. So, not totally improbable with a weapon firing 5.56 NATO – just very unlikely to leave much of a victim, or a witness with hearing.

  31. I just came across this article, i know both John and Alex, so John does in fact exist. He does bring up some extremely good points whether people want to admit it or not. There is a HUGE problem with guns, they are way too easy to get. And yes, guess what? If criminals could not get their hands on guns as easily there would be less killings! How can that even be disputed? If he wasn’t able to get his hands on a gun- don’t you think Alex would still be with us?

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