By Douglas V. Gibbs
I was talking with a young woman recently who said to me that she had seen Charles Manson in an interview recently, and he didn't seem to be the monster everyone makes him out to be. Interest in Manson has increased of late because of an upcoming parole hearing that he is likely to not attend, and is likely to be his last.
The young woman, about the same age as my twenty-one year old daughter, was not even close to being born when the Manson Family Murders happened, and in fact myself, currently having four grandchildren, was only a toddler at the time of the slayings.
My response to the young woman who doubted Manson is as bad as history portrays him was two-fold. First, I did admit that sometimes items of history become exaggerated as they become more legend than history. However, in this case Charles Manson was indeed a monster, and he should have been executed, but California's decision for a while in the seventies to do away with the death penalty changed Manson's sentence to life imprisonment.
Charles Manson, in 1969, wanted to be seen as a monster, as a radical, and as a brilliant madman. He believed that race wars were coming, and Manson wanted to facilitate those wars through his actions. He believed the murders he instructed his followers to commit would prompt those race wars. Already an ex-convict, and a singer/songwriter on the fringe of the Los Angeles music scene, Manson was willing to do anything to bring attention to himself, including manipulating his followers to murder, or should I say massacre, innocent victims.
The Manson Family formed in San Francisco, centered at Berkley's Haight-Ashbury, a festering sore on society where progressivism and the hippie culture merged with mysticism and ideologies of hate. Manson, as a master manipulator, encouraged his female roommate to let other women into their apartment, and eventually Mary Brunner agreed, at one point sharing the residence with 18 other women.
Helter Skelter, as Manson called it, after the Beatles song, became a coming reality in the minds of the Manson family while they had relocated to Death Valley. Manson believed by then that the racial division between blacks and whites was growing and that riots were going to soon come to America's cities. The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., was a part of the Manson's racial tension theories, and then Manson proclaimed that his Family was an elect group that had been instructed to preserve the worthy from the impending disaster. He convinced his followers that racial apocalypse was inevitable.
The group moved to Los Angeles to remain "submerged beneath the awareness of the outside world," so that they may prepare for the coming turmoil, of which Manson called "Helter Skelter." By February of 1969 the Manson Family determined they would create an album with songs that would trigger the coming chaos, creating murders between the races, retaliation, and ultimately a race war where the blacks would triumph and Manson's family would emerge as the rulers of the changed world.
After believing he killed a member of the Black Panthers, Manson's compound became a defensive camp complete with night guards, confirming to his followers that Helter Skelter was upon them.
In August of 1969, Manson's murder team, believing it was time for the race war, were instructed to enter a house and "destroy everyone in it as gruesome as you can." The murders included pregnant actress Sharon Tate, wife of director Roman Polanski, who was stabbed 16 times. Another victim in the house was stabbed 51 times.
The following evening the Manson Family murdered at supermarket executive's Leno LaBianca's home, carving "war" at one point in the abdomen of the man.
So I go back to the young woman thinking that the much older, still a master manipulator, Charles Manson is not a monster. I beg to differ. The facts of history lay it out plainly. It is only our society's decision to grasp at foolish concepts like relativism and pluralism, along with the fact that Manson is a master at playing the gullible like a harp, that has the younger generation confused as to what is real, and who the master manipulators really are.
I am sure you can connect the lines from there.
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary
Charles Manson to have Parole Hearing, but he may not attend - CNN
Bugliosi, Vincent with Gentry, Curt. Helter Skelter — The True Story of the Manson Murders 25th Anniversary Edition, W.W. Norton & Company, 1994
Sanders, Ed. The Family. Thunder's Mouth Press, New York, 2002.