Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Susan Atkins And Charles Manson

I’ve always been fascinated by the Manson murders. Not because of the brutality of the crimes nor because of the celebritism. My fascination stems from the psychology around the crimes. Maybe this is due in fact that my career and my education originally focused on forensic psychology and crime scene investigation. How the hell did I wind up in finance? How does one man - a mousey, schizophrenic man – possess the power to control a group of people with logic based around racial revolutions and The Beatles? How did the song Helter Skelter spark such grotesque actions? Unfortunately, murders and cult activities are part of our everyday world, but the Manson murders held the American people in its grip for such a long time. Charles Manson even “graced” the cover of Life Magazine during this ordeal. What caused this - outside of the murder of a celebrity? I believe it was the belief system, drugs, and lack of moral boundaries this group of people possessed. Manson’s followers were looking for someone or something to adhere too, to show them a love – any kind of love – that they lacked in childhood. Manson’s family was comprised of rejects and delinquents with deep seeded emotional issues which Manson molded and twisted to his advantage. In Vincent Bugliosi’s book, “Helter Skelter: The Manson Murders” he included many chapters around how he took on this difficult case against Charles Manson. Manson never actually committed the murders; however, Bugliosi knew he had blood on his hands given his manipulation over his followers. Never before had an American trial been held on such grounds.

One of today’s headlines is on Susan Atkins, who is dying of brain cancer (an eye for an eye maybe?) Atkins’ was denied compassionate release on Tuesday. Her family claims she will be dead within a few months and hoped she would be able to spend her last days at home. Atkins’ was responsible for stabbing Sharon Tate and writing “Pig” on Tate’s front door in her blood. She was one of Manson’s most violent followers. I’ll stop with the awful details there. I applaud the board for their decision and was shock at the amount of people that commented that she should be released. Maybe the lapse of 39 years has deluded people of the pain and terror of these crimes, but I strongly believe people capable of such horrendous actions should remain in prison without parole. Originally, Manson and his followers were sentences to death, however, in 1972 California abolished the death penalty and all death row sentences were converted to life in prison.

What are your feelings on the death penalty? Personally, I believe some crimes should be punished by death. The Manson murders fall under that category. Now over three decades after her crimes Atkin’s medical treatment plus the cost of prison guards have cost state taxpayers more than $1.4 million since March. Is that fair to demand of state residents, especially in today’s economy? Take a look at the below video and you tell me if this is the same "born again Christian" Atkin’s claims to be today.

Do you believe she should still be held accountable for her childhood issues and actions?

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