Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dr. Smith gets a spanking

A rebuttal to Dr. David Smith's observations of Charles Manson and others in the Family made by Dr. Murray Korngold as published in the San Francisco underground newspaper Good Times, February 26, 1970/ Vol. III No. 9.

Dr. Smith's article was published in the Berkeley Barb Vol. 10 No. 2 Issue 231. Jan. 16-22, 1970


Murray Korngold, PH.D.
Diplomate in Clinical Psychology
American Board of Professional Psychology

About a month ago, the Berkeley Barb interviewed Dr. David Smith of the Haight-Ashbury Medical Clinic on the subject of Charles Manson and his commune.  Excerpts from the interview were extensively reprinted in the LA Free Press where I first encountered it. At the time I found the interview and its wholesale publication deeply disturbing.  The interview was ostensibly prompted by an article scheduled to appear, this spring, in the Journal of Psychedelic Drugs on the group marriage commune.

In the course of the interview, Dr. Smith spoke as if he tacitly accepted the presumption of guilt of murder, a presumption which was and is shared by the establishment press and media.  Now, whether or not Manson is guilty of the crime of murder as charged (and I for one happen to think he is not) it still remains to be proved that he is guilty.  What we do know for sure is that Manson is being lynched by being flagrantly denied his right to a fair trial in an atmosphere which is rigged, corrupt, brutal and unjust.  A few observations to support this:

1) At the preliminary hearing to decide whether a grand jury should indict Manson and others, Manson wasn't allowed to be present to confront his accusers and cross-examine them.  He had that right according to law.

2) The "evidence" was a confession by Susan Atkins which actually sounds a bit deranged.  According to a recent expose in the LA Free Press, this confession was colluded in for profit by Susan Atkins, her two attorneys, someone from the district attorney's office and a public relations man named Schiller (one of whose previous is a book whitewashing the Warren Commission's report on the murder of President John F. Kennedy).  In a television interview Schiller is alleged to have acknowledged that the sum of $150.000 had already been paid, received and divided up.

3)There are indications that Manson is being deprived of his rights to a fair trial because of prejudice on the part of the presiding judge, Judge Keene.  Judge Keene at the time of Manson's arrest was in charge of the master calendar for the assignment of cases to the various divisions.  He assigned the case, himself, to Division 7, which he knew to be his own court.  It is rumored that his reason for assigning the Manson case to himself is his intension to run for the office of district attorney, when the incumbent D.A. vacates the office in order to run for state attorney general.  Recently, Judge Keene also presided at a bar association banquet at which another member of the district attorney's office prepared and presented a parody of the Manson case based on the presumption of Manson's guilt.   Judge Keene has refused to allow Manson to free access to counsel although the state statute doesn't clearly forbid such counsel.  Manson hasn't been allowed to have a transcript of the proceedings thus far and despite the pre-trial publicity which has already tried and convicted Manson, Judge Keene has refused Manson's request for a change of venue.

4) The refusal to grant bail on the grounds that this is a capital case may also be a refusal based on prejudice.  The justification for such a refusal is suppose to be that in a capital case, namely, one in which there is the possibility of a death penalty, the appearance of the accused at the trial may best be insured by withholding bail.  A few years ago in Southern California, Jack Kirschke was tried for the murder of his wife and her lover.  At the time of the alleged murder Kirschke was an assistant district attorney and was therefore granted bail.  Because of this he had adequate opportunity to prepare his case for trial.  The defendant in that case was convicted and sent to prison.  Manson, who is not respectable because he has done time, is being denied bail and being virtually denied an opportunity to prepare his case.  It should be clear, incidentally, that the detaining of the accused is not intended to be punitive.  It is meant to insure the appearance of the accused at his trial.  Yet Manson is being punished with solitary confinement for refusal to eat one meal.  His visitors are being photographed and intimidated. His phone calls are severely restricted as are all his contacts with any persons who are helpful to him.

5)  There are no vigorous efforts being made by the court to restrain the prejudiced and hysterical pre-trial publicity which is whipping up a public frenzy of hate and fear not only against Manson but also against communes and longhairs in general.  Despite the fact that the United States, unlike many other countries, has no formal procedures for protecting  the rights of accused persons against pre-trial publicity, one needs only to reflect for a moment to recall numerous cases involving wealthy and prestigious public figures accused of capital crimes.  In those instances, the media exercise a little more prudence and restraint-- and even in the most sensational cases where the temptation to try the case in a public kangaroo court is irresistible, convicting is usually left to the courts.
And even in the courts, offhand, I cannot recall nor do I know anyone who can recall any wealthy defendant ever put to death for the crime of murder.  Be that as it may, just let the accused be poor, or black, or radical or someone with unconventional sexual attitudes in any capital case and the media together with the courts land on him ferociously.  Most of the people who read this paper surely know what it is like for anyone not in the establishment to fall into the hands of the police and the courts, for any reason.

One would expect a professional associated with the youth culture to know this.  So, what is one to think of the following quotes from Dr. Smith's interview:

"...unfortunately a very large number large number of guys like Charlie are running around.  They seem to be attracted to hip subculture with its freedom and acceptance.  Fortunately not many of them are a persuasive as Charlie and they don't end up in a position of power..."

"...the problem was that Charlie was disturbed.  He developed a paranoid delusional system that led to violence.  It wasn't a drug thing.  When we studied them there was no violence but there is a fairly fine line between mysticism and schizophrenia..."

"Any individual who has an all-encompassing delusional system that has all the answers is very persuasive to the adolescent who is searching for a substitute father figure..." etc., etc., etc.
In short, at the time that the establishment media were drawing a damning portrait of a sinister and hypnotic caster-of-spells-over-innocent-and-helpless girls, who drove them to murder and depravity, Dr. smith was doing the same, but in psychiatric jargon.

Despite Dr. Smith's friendly comments about communes and the "hip subculture" in the course of the same interview, his comments as a whole are authoritatively damaging to those who are disenfranchised and oppressed, because in my opinion, Dr. Smith thinks and talks and acts from an establishment point of view. Liberal.  Philanthropic.  Yes, but decidedly a man who is most comfortable inside the status quo.

It wouldn't surprise me if someone were to be violently disturbed after spending practically his entire existence between the ages of 10 and 32 inside a steel cage.   The only kind of man who could take such a tone towards a total victim of this country's violence would , in my view, be someone who had himself been comfortably free from the establishments violence and who is, in addition, seriously lacking in imagination.

There is another matter that everyone thinks about and no one ever talks about publicly and plainly and that is the intense feeling of sexual envy and sexual panic generated by Manson's relations to women.  I have the impression that this strong feeling of threat and envy cuts across all lines, hip as well as establishment.  The history of Manson's commune is one of extraordinary harassment and hated by the outside world.  I don't know whether Manson was involved in the crime attributed to him, although to this psychological observer, it seems inconsistent with what I know of him, but I do know that he must be an unusually na├»ve person.  Until the age of 32 he asserts that he has never been with a woman. 

Well, he certainly seems to have been making up for lost time kin a very open, unconcealed and together way.  To live and travel openly with such a band of devoted sexual partners has just got to generate such a cloud of malevolence, that it was only a matter of time before lightening struck him.  It may very well turn out that the only violence in the Manson case is the violence directed against him and his friends and, through him against us.  But however it turns out, those who purport to speak in the name of "hip subculture" (whatever that may be) should be mindful of their responsibilities to protect and not to damage the right to equality before the law.  That is the very least that should be required from a friend, even if he is liberal.  but most important of all, no spokesman should be trusted unless he says what people are really doing to each other, without taking refuge in psychiatric jargon which only covers up the violence practiced against the poor, the black, the young, the aged and all those eccentric unrespectables so easily classified in the diagnostic categories of conventional psychiatry.