Villain comes from Anglo-French, and old French Villain, which itself descends from the Latin word Villanus, meaning farm hand in the sense of someone who is bound to the soil of a villa, which is to say, worked on the equivalent of a plantation in Lake Antiquity in Italy or Gaul. The same etymology produced villein. It referred to a person of less than knightly status, and so came to mean a person who was not chivalrous. As a result of many unchivalrous acts, such as treachery or rape, being considered villainous in the modern sense of the word, it became a term of abuse and took on its modern meaning.
Hello everyone! Your favorite fallen Saint has risen from the ashes. Suffice to say, I have survived my most recent crises and have righted the ship to the point where I feel confident enough to start setting my sights on buying drinks in Southern California for a select group of friends next Spring lol. (wink wink)
Anyway, lately I have been thinking about a few of the less discussed "villains" of the TLB case. I think that it is common for most of the world to visualize Charlie when they think of the Manson Family being "Evil Killers." I think here in the TLB community we focus on Tex and Patricia, and to a lesser extent, Bruce, Bobby, Lulu, and Susan as being the real killers. As well, we try to figure out Charlie's actual role and the ultimate motivation of the crimes. As my mind has been wandering in and out of the dark side these last several weeks- some of the other people, who in one manner or another, had a less than chivalrous role in this tragedy have started to come more into focus for me.
There are some potential villains in this case who most people, both inside the TLB community and out, never seem to hold to any real responsibility for the negative roles they played in this mess, or the role they may have played after it happened in one case. I think that even with the madness of the family, and the savagery of Watson and Kreny, that some of the crimes still could have been prevented if not for some luck, some timing, and - for the purposes of this post- some absolute irresponsibility and disinterest from some of the key people in the life's of some of the victims, as well as some of the parents of the killers. Let's me start with how one villain may have affected a very specific and very pregnant victim.
Riddle: I am a person from the TLB crime saga in 1969. I gave drugs to and raped underage girls, then later made jokes and laughed about it. when asked to pay for my crimes- I ran. I ignored the court system and disrespected the judge. I have a group of defenders who ignore my crimes and just focus attention on my unrelated virtues whenever my detractors bring up my transgressions. After Sharon Tate and unborn child were murdered- I went on record making jokes and smiling. Who am I?
Answer: If you said Charlie Manson you would be right. If you said Roman Polanski- you would be as well...
"I am not a fortune teller. I would like to be remembered for my life not my work. If there is any possibility of changing your destiny, it may be only in your creative life, certainly not your life, period."
" Normal love isn't interesting, I assure you its very boring."
- Roman Polanski
So let me ask you this question: Suppose you have a wife who is expecting your first child any minute. You are in another country during the tail end of this pregnancy, and she is with you. You have some people staying at your home back in the US. You will later tell authorities you didn't trust the people staying there, and that you knew they could be potential trouble...
So the question is: what would you do at this point as she gets closer the delivery??
How many of you would send her back to the house with people you know might be not 100% safe by herself? Is there a single hand up right now?
If you ask me to pick the very worst bastard in this case- I will answer you ten out of ten times that it is this short little prick- Roman Polanski. Sharon trusted this man and I say that had a large part in getting her killed. Whatever the real motive for these crimes were- I would make a pretty sizable wager that Sans Roman in her life- Sharon probably never goes through that nightmare. Her association with this man could very well have cost Sharon her life. Roman bragged about what a terrible husband he was, made jokes to police, and then later seemed to write the whole thing off as just another tragedy he had to endure in a life filled with despair. Poor guy. It must have been tough to process the fact you wont be tied down or have the responsibilities of being a father any longer as your winging from country to country in private jets on your way to bang the next 15 or 16 year old. I know he gave a few obligatory statements and shed a few tears for the cameras, but Roman was on to the next much younger woman and the next movie in the not so very distant future. Tex Watson and Katie were unique killers. Charlie was a unique ex-con. But, show me a more unique bastard than Roman Polanski. Roman should have been looking out for Sharon's best interests. The safety and protection of his new family should have been his only, and number one, concern. Had he taken the situation more personally and seriously- who knows?? Maybe Sharon is in the same place today. Maybe the crime happens anyway and it is Roman instead of Voytek, or Jay. I know that is a possibility. But, I would personally want to know for sure that I did all I could do myself, and didn't leave her safety, as well as the safety of my unborn child, to someone I knew was not a 100% risk free option. Would you? To do anything less is not only careless and thoughtless- but in this case possibly a mistake that was fatal for Sharon. And to make any kind of light of these tragic and savage deaths after the fact is the most classless and tasteless thing a husband/father could do. Shame on you forever Roman Polanski. You are a true villain of the TLB case. What you went on to do later in life with more than one underage girl makes you a complete animal to me, but the thoughtlessness in your care of your pregnant wife and unborn child is just as criminal to me....
Here is another villain of the TLB case to discuss, but this one is more of a group award. I know that Mr. Hendrickson will agree with the nomination if not the reasoning behind it lol The Police...
" I never worry about action, only inaction"
- Winston Churchill
For all the talk about how hard the police were on hippies and how badly they hassled the ranch- they sure didn't do much to slow the Family down when it came to crime. If Charlie was the ultimate instigator of the TLB crimes, no matter the reason, then the various LA County Law Enforcement agencies are also villains in the TLB crimes and share some blame. Let me explain why. I could give you a pretty good list of crimes Charlie got busted for- AFTER he was already on parole/probation. Why was he free to order/suggest/direct (whichever you prefer) these crimes in the first place? How many times was he picked up for various crimes such as theft, burglary, drugs, or stolen this or that? The authorities knew he was housing underage girls and they knew there were runaways and people with criminal backgrounds at the ranch. But, they did nothing of any consequence to stop any of it until it was way too late. I remember watching a training video clip they made from one of the raids of the ranch. The ranch was under surveillance when the crimes happened for goodness sakes.
Think about this for a sec: They were watching the people who committed one of the most infamous crimes in history during the time they committed it, and and still needed help to figure out that it was these same people they had been watching who had done it... Sigh
How ridiculous it is that Manson was on parole and probation, violated them both many times, traveled in and out of his designated area at will, and still was walking free to contribute to these massacres? Shame on the LA crime fighting apparatus. I say they are all villains of the TLB crimes. Even after the crimes had happened they couldn't find the culprits without the help of the culprits. Ouch! Typical of their ineptness, they even arrested the killers a couple of times for other crimes, and screwed those arrests up as well. Mis-dated warrants and such. Sigh... Keystone Cops? I say the handling of Charlie Manson and his family by the LA police makes the comparison an insult to the officers from Keystone. All I can say for sure is that in my opinion- the victims of TLB were not properly protected or served by the authorities when an ex-con who is on probation can repeatedly break the law, get caught, and still stay free long enough to contribute to killing them all the while under the specific watch of those same authorities. Sigh....
This brings me to my next TLB villain for today. This one might come as a small surprise to some people inside of the TLB community as I have defended him at various times regarding his motive. It will come as a big surprise to those outside of the community, as he is seen to most as the Hero who slayed the 'Monsters." Actually, I have mixed feelings about this man. And this one comes with the asterisk that it assumes he knowingly used a motive he knew was false to prosecute Manson. He certainly put his own self interest ahead of true justice a few times, and if he really had been misleading me ( us lol) about the real motive of the crimes all these years, then he was denying truth and real closure to the victims families and that would make him a legitimate villain of the TLB case. I present the Prosecutor:
"Virtues are lost in self-interest, as rivers are lost at sea."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
So let' say for a second that Helter Skelter as an actual motive for the crimes was hogwash. Let's say it was a phrase around the ranch that the family kids used, and Bugs seized on it and ran with it from there. Let me concede that although it was a song they knew, and a concept they talked about, it had nothing to do with why any of them committed the murders. That would mean Bugs had spent most of his life, perpetuating a lie he sold in the name of his own self-interest. He sacrificed his ethics and integrity for publicity and financial gain. He denied the families of the victims the truth, and did not honor the memory of those fallen by doing his job and delivering the truth.He would have had several people sentenced to death under false reasoning and .... wait a minute
lol- I cant go that far. I think he got it right as to the who, and considering the crimes- I can live without the why as long as those who did it- paid for what they did. If I had even 1% doubt that those who went to jail were responsible for WHAT they did, maybe I feel differently about this one. But I am sure those accused- did what they were accused of - even if I am still not sure why. That they did it for any reason is enough in my eyes to be happy they got the sentences they did.
But that is just me personally. I am willing to accept that H/S is one of many possible motives, and to consider there is a reasonable chance that Bugs is just what most people "in the know" say he is. A self serving liar who made up a story to sell books and reap benefits in the long term. Certainly, his actions later in life would not serve his overall reputation well. But, sticking to the TLB case alone- For Bugs to make up a lie, and sell it to the world for over 40 years for self serving purposes and personal gain, would truly make him a villain in this case in my eyes...
My final villain in today's presentation will conclude my own version of the "4 P movement." following Polanski, the Police, and the Prosecutor, I conclude with the final villain(s) I feel don't get enough mention: The oh- so-faceless Parents:
"Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves have poisoned the fountain."
- John Locke
After reading all the books and testimony about this case that I have, the only thing I can compare the lack of parental or mature adult presence to life in "The Family" is an episode of a Charlie Brown cartoon. I am not kidding. Where were the adults? We are talking about a group of young people here with parents, in one case, who wrote letters that their underage child had their permission to run around with any group of strays that their child so wished. Really? (By the way, not to go backwards and pick on them again but, Police would just accept that? A 30 year old man gets pulled over with a 15 year old for breaking any law and a note from mom and dad is enough to move past the fact that this 30 year old is with a 15 year old?) After they were arrested for the TLB murders- some of the fathers of the girls in jail said what they WOULD do to Charlie, but let us ask what DID any of them do? They gave gas cards and sent money. Otherwise, not one of them did didley squat to get their daughters back at home, back in school, or away from the bikers and ex-cons twice their ages they were living with. The parents talked after the fact about loving their kids, and trying their best to give them good homes, but had their daughters stayed out of the papers and off the news- I am sure that they would have gone right on living in oblivion, unaware and disinterested in where exactly their kids were, or what they were doing. I can say that with some degree of confidence, because up until their children became embarrassments- there wasn't one case of that I ever read anywhere of any of the parents showing up trying to get their little girls back. The truth to the matter is that some of the kids who joined, or stayed with "The Family", did so because they had no better options with their own families. No secret there really. But, usually people stop there without really holding any of the parents of any of those kids really responsible. Lets look deeper. If it is fair to lay some blame on Charlie for his influence, then lets also give some to those who could have made a difference for there lack of influence. Adults who bring children into the world with no real intention of taking care of them are among the lowest of low on this Saint's scale. But tossing your children aside and allowing them to run with criminals and perverts twice there age is beyond criminal to me. It is in-human. Even in-humans do better than that for their young. I can tell you that for sure because I just watched a documentary called Black Fish about Sea-World. Even Killer Whales fight to not be separated from their young, and to protect their babies. Are you comfortable to think that animals have more compassion and love for their offspring than Humans do? Here is another thing: We seem to give hippies of that generation a pass on parenting skills due to the era and times, and I am not sure that is OK with me. I think young people and kids at a certain age need to rely on their families and parents to look out for them and teach them right from wrong- no matter the time and place. The wierdfer the times- the greater the need for direction. Isn't that one of our oldest and most important values and priorities? Protect our young? Even the kids who comprised "The Family" seemed to grasp the importance of family and watching out for the babies. Hmmm. They seemed to grasp some things their parents couldn't. Shame on their parents for that. Most of the young people who were at that ranch had nobody looking out for them, so they turned to the only role models they had. As a result, older and more cunning ruled the day. Due to the non- presence of the right type of adult influence, those kids were left with nothing but the absolute wrong type of adult influence to learn from. So, they learned what was being taught by bikers, criminals, ex-cons and drifters. Is it any real wonder then when the wrong type of results is what we wind up getting from the kids in this situation? This is in itself a tragedy. In my opinion, that make these absent parents villains. These weren't really evil kids to begin with in some cases. Some of them were just the sad and predictable product of absentee parents combined with the influence of some really bad adults who filled the void. I blame both sets of adults for not doing better by those kids, but I blame the Parents much more. For example: A grown man having sex with 15 year old Ruth was one thing- and the guy who does that is a villain. Dean, her father, was a much worse villain for allowing it. You know what I mean? Maybe some do, and maybe some do not. My heart breaks for people like Ruth. I hope she has found peace today.
Double Sigh, long hit, and two slugs of cold coors-lite ( in a can) ...
You know, there was a great post the other day about "What if" Marcia Clarke was around. I have a question of my own along those lines:
What if Nancy Grace was around back then? Think Roman would be so well received today if he made those post-death smirking comments, and Nancy was playing them every night at 7 o'clock for two months straight? How about court TV? How about all the cable private investigative shows? Think the DA and the Police would get off the hook for all the mistakes, and lies with 24/7 cable coverage? Would people be so much more aware of some of the others involved, in one way or another, who really deserved to answer some questions- because so many more people with so many more resources were looking into every single possible angle of the case to compete with one another for attention and things like ratings?
(Would TMZ find some of these missing videos and movies we hear so much about? lol)
My how times change. Bob Dylan sure had that one right on. Obviously, the crimes would be much more preventable today. At first thought you would think it is hard to conceive something like that happening in 2015. But, look a little deeper and I guess it still could. Then you turn on the news and you know it still could. The fact of the matter is that although times change, human nature does not. Sloppy police work, neglected/frustrated kids, disinterested husbands, known locations of privilege, vulnerable victims, older trouble-makers prying on younger troubled kids- The ingredients are still always out there. As long as there is opportunity and something to be had, the bad people will keep coming in the night. We have to trust in our community systems and our personal support mechanisms to stay safe in life from the bad guys. A major part of that support is our family and those in the law enforcement community with whom we place our trust. When these people fail us so miserably and for such selfish reasons, they have to share some of the responsibility for our pain and suffering along with the villains that they have not succeeded in helping to protect us from.
After all- it is sometimes the case that, intentionally or not, those with whom we place the most trust in our lives can end up being the greatest villains of all....
-Your Favorite Saint