updated 03/16/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 03/16/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST
I cannot protest strongly enough your cover story on John Lennon's murderer, complete with smirking photos (PEOPLE, Feb. 23). Oblivious to the heartache the story and photos must bring to Yoko, Sean and Julian, you even miss the most grievous error of all. Mark David Chapman is insane, yet you chose to give him top celebrity status—all in an effort to sell magazines. Rather than giving the readers a cover story about a person with something of value to contribute, PEOPLE treats us with the philosophy of a lunatic, who "enlightens" the public on why he shot a peaceful man.
Edward F. Connolly
As a performer, I have threats to my life. PEOPLE is giving these mentally deranged people an excuse to carry their fantasies out. You have made Mark David Chapman's dream come true by putting him on the cover. I wonder how you would feel if these sick people would turn on the press as they do on public figures.
New York City
When I saw this offensive issue on display at my neighborhood grocery store, I asked the manager to remove it. He refused, so I purchased them all, 173 issues, a total expense of $272.48. This is an expense which I can ill afford, and I know that this removal is insignificant compared to your circulation, but I could not walk away from that store and leave that obscenity on display. I am returning them to you under separate cover. I want, but do not expect, a full refund of the purchase price and shipping.
Keith V. Bird
Ft. Washington, Md.
I am appalled and disgusted by PEOPLE sinking to previously unexplored lows in sensationalism. Your interview with Mark David Chapman succeeded only in giving this slime exactly what he wants, the status of a star instead of the subhuman that he actually is. To validate his motives by writing an in-depth interview and article about him repelled both myself and my family. While I am sure the entire world still asks, "Why?" about the tragic loss of John Lennon, we do not invite his murderer to sit down at our dinner tables and explain himself, which is what you have done.
I am absolutely horrified that you and Executive Editor Jim Gaines had the brazen audacity to feature Mark David Chapman on the cover. Frankly, I could not care an iota why he killed John Lennon; the irreconcilable and irreplaceable loss of Lennon transcends whatever demented reasons this moron had for killing the man. Listening to his philosophically absurd ravings will in no way rationalize the hurt that the community of mankind sustained by the loss of Lennon. It certainly makes no difference to me that Chapman might, at long last, understand why he pulled the trigger and realize the consequences of his misdeed. Placing this abominable cretin on the cover will undoubtedly serve as a source of twisted and perverse inspiration to sick people roaming the streets who have nothing better to do than contemplate murder and etch their pathetic monickers onto the footnotes of infamy.
Jeffrey L. Stein
Featuring John Lennon's murderer is the most revolting piece of journalism I've seen in a long time. It was bad enough that this creep made frontpage news six years ago; to give him coverage now is beyond reproach. I won't read the article and I'm so angry that if I had a subscription to your magazine, I'd cancel it.
New York City
Your series implied that I was called in by Chapman's lawyer as part of his defense. This is not true. My taped interview that was quoted in the series was conducted: 1) for my study of adolescent suicide and for further understanding of the relationship of early experiences in life and how they relate to destructive behavior later on, and 2) for my study of affectional relationships between fathers and sons, which appears in my book My Father, My Son: Intimate Relationships.
Lee Salk, Ph.D.
New York City
I am very disappointed. After watching Cheers for five years and seeing Sam and Diane's relationship go through so many stages, only to come to an abrupt halt just short of the altar is, at the very least, a letdown. If the producers are trying to make us dislike Diane so she won't be missed, they are ridiculous. I expected much better from such talented people.
Blaming Honda for these accidents is a complete cop-out. The ATVs were not forced on these people. Would they give their children a loaded gun and then blame the manufacturer? Our two sons have come up with every argument known to man in favor of these machines because many of their friends have them. Our answer has always been and will always be "No. They're dangerous." It has made for some lively arguments over the years, but if they kill or cripple themselves, it won't be with our blessing. We all want to give our children everything we can because we love them so much. But sometimes you have to say "no" for the same reason.
We were angered by your article on ATVs. We strongly resent your insinuation that these vehicles are inherently dangerous and we definitely feel that the majority of ATV-related injuries to young people are due to lack of parental judgment and supervision. Anyone who has read the Consumer Product Safety Commission's findings on ATV safety would realize that the facts do not support a recall or ban on ATVs. Bicycles, boats and bathtubs injure more people in the U.S. annually, yet no ban or recall seems imminent on these items.
Ed and Betty White
Long Beach, Calif.