Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Gavin Newsom Dunks on Leslie Van Houten Again


Less than two months before Patricia Krenwinkel has another turn in front of the parole board, California Governor Gavin Newsom goes hard on crime and sends Leslie back to her room after saying she's still dangerous. 

Sometimes there are laws and rules and regulations. Other times, a rich person gets to decide your fate. 

But I gotta agree with the guv. This morning, a seventy-two year old woman stared me down at the IHOP while I ate my chocolate chip pancakes and extra crispy bacon. Lemme tell ya, I was relieved when I escaped the situation without violence happening to me. 

111 comments:

shoegazer said...

This is the old-school version of "cancelling".

[melancholy violin music plays in the background...]

David said...

When I see these posts year after year, I wait for what will follow.

We discuss the horrific nature of these crimes: the blood on the walls, the personal nature of, well, killing with knives. Of course, we have to understand Van Houten is inextricably intertwined with the incomprehensible horror of Cielo Drive even if she was not present.

We can discuss what the Judge said who sentenced her, the fact she needed more time. Memory no longer serves as to that term, but seven years lingers in my memory.

We can discuss why she did what she did and frankly, while the movie has its own flaws, I thought Charlie Says did a not terrible job on that issue.

We should never forget the victims of her crime. That would be its own crime.

We can, of course, discuss the evidence. It is likely she stabbed a corpse.

We can discuss her culpability: the fact she wanted to go, that she wanted to be a part of what was happening.

We can discuss her record in prison, which is, by all accounts, flawless.

We can discuss who she was in 1969. Frankly, we can listen to her words, her…insanity.

We should be debating what has been debated since jurisprudence came to be. That is the contradiction between retribution and rehabilitation. That debate has dominated our criminal justice system since its inception. It’s origin, despite what some may wish to believe, is in the essence of the Judeo-Christian philosophy. That means we have a choice between an eye for an eye or forgiveness.

There is nothing wrong with saying ‘given the nature of this crime she should stay where she is, forever’. There is also nothing wrong with saying, ‘given what she has accomplished in prison she should be free’. That is the essence of the great five hundred year debate.

One side will note the felons who have been released who kill again. On the other side they will note the innocents who have been executed in this country.

I could cite you to a Stanford study on time served by murderers and show you the odd blip at 50 years for women in California where the number is, well it is less than five while most walked free after half that time.

But none of this matters.

You see, what happened is that several years ago the people of California politicized the process and ended the debate and so this headline is all that matters:

Governor Releases Manson Murderer

Manson desired fame, we all know that. I even remember listening to him say he was famous and not even dead.

His fame is really the only reason Leslie Van Houten is still in prison. She is the beneficiary of his fame.

She will not outlive his fame and will remain in prison, until she dies.

Perhaps, that is the appropriate retribution for her participation in that horrible crime (I used to think so) or perhaps her rehabilitated death in prison will be tragic.

We can debate those outcomes but must understand, whether she deserves it or not, she will die for him.

Perhaps she made that choice when she said 'I want to go'.

John Seger said...

I've said it before and will say it again...Horsey face LuLu belongs right where she's at.

grimtraveller said...

GG-W said:

But I gotta agree with the guv. This morning, a seventy-two year old woman stared me down at the IHOP while I ate my chocolate chip pancakes and extra crispy bacon. Lemme tell ya, I was relieved when I escaped the situation without violence happening to me

That was no 72 year old woman. She's 78. She routinely lies about her age !

grimtraveller said...

John Seger said...

I've said it before and will say it again...Horsey face LuLu

And I've said words to this effect before and will say it again, you cheapen any possibly insightful comments you have to make, not so much when you feel the need to descend to the lower levels with comments like that, but when you actually do so.

Jay said...

Insightful comment. I enjoyed reading it. I don’t think her or Katie will ever leave prison vertical. The infamy of the crimes is just too much.
I thought Charlie Says did handle certain things very well. All movies about real life subjects have flaws. It all depends upon if we take them as factually based entertainment, snd judge them on entertainment and factual value, or if we just judge them solely on factual merits .

Chris B said...

I can understand she wants to be released but playing the game is getting her nowhere. Perhaps it is time to tell the parole board exactly what she thinks of the absurdity of the process and that the governor is probably waiting for her death to put an end to what for him is a political inconvenience.

Matthew said...

I said it before and I'll say it again. Whether you believe Leslie should be released or stay where she is doesn't matter. Her sentence was with the possibility of parole and if she meets the criteria of the board, she should be released. The brutality or notoriety of the crime are not things she can change and therefore she not be a point. If they do matter in the decision then the chance of parole should not have be dangled in front of her. Her being considered a danger to society is bullshit and her not showing remorse is bullshit. If she was sentenced to life without a possibility of parole, I would understand that but that was not the sentence handed down. Political prisoner at this point.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Chris B, what is up! I've felt the same for awhile. Them playing the game also allows the grifters to grift.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Matthew, I am right there with ya word for word. Well said.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

David, I miss your writing. That was succinct.

tobiasragg said...

@David

That was an amazing post. Could have been a blog piece in itself, thank you for taking the time to put all of those thoughts together for us.

Personally, I find myself on all sides of the fence. It's not that I do not have an opinion, I feel like I have too many different opinions on the LVH matter. Your post, David, expressed them all, I think. I do remind myself that it is possible to forgive without release. I also remind myself that I am glad that I'm not in the position of having to decide.

One last note, this one on the "stabbing a corpse" bit. Mrs. LaBianca's head was covered with the pillowcase as these attacks on her occurred. Today Leslie says that she has no memory of ever seeing the woman's face, adding that perhaps it would have been better if she had. The post-mortem on Rosemary revealed that Tex Watson had severed her lower spine during one of those bayonet strikes. Had she somehow survived the attack, Rosemary Labianca would never have walked again. This phenomena explains why Leslie felt that the woman was dead as she stabbed away at her - if Mrs. LaBianca was actually still alive, she'd not have felt the stabbings as they happened.

During his last parole hearing, Tex admitted that he could very well die in prison and I think this must be where Leslie's and Patricia's and Bobby's and Bruce's heads must be at now, too. If LVH cannot achieve release, there really is little hope for any of them.

grimtraveller said...

David said:

We should be debating what has been debated since jurisprudence came to be. That is the contradiction between retribution and rehabilitation

If it becomes one, it'll make for an interesting debate.
For me, there is no contradiction between the two. Admittedly, they don't necessarily stand together in anything other than an uneasy alliance, but......

The definition of retribution is given as "Punishment administered in return for a wrong committed."

There are essentially 4 definitions of rehabilitation:

a] Restoration, especially by therapeutic means to an improved condition of physical function.
b] The process of restoring a person to a drug or alcohol~free state.
c] The process of restoring someone {such as a criminal} to a useful and constructive place in society.
d] The restoration of something damaged or deteriorated to a prior good condition.

Vincent Bugliosi frequently made the point that there had to be something particularly nasty and flawed about the Family women, that enabled them to do what they did in the way they did it and he wondered if whatever it was could ever be isolated and dealt with. But he also got his predictions about their future attitudes badly wrong and back in 2002, when he and Leslie's Dad were on the Larry King show, it was interesting to hear him trying to juggle an obviously different Leslie with what he felt. He touched on justice and punishment too, which I think is such an important part of the debate. It is important to be punished for a crime committed. I don't see why the two issues cannot work hand in hand. Not everybody can be rehabilitated ~ but that is essentially down to the perp in question. You know, all Charles Manson really required was a shift in attitude. then the necessary work to be done and whatever help he may have needed, would've had a foundation to be built on.
And some people, even if rehabilitated, should serve their sentence behind bars until they die. In a way, Leslie has kind of demonstrated that it is possible to be rehabilitated {as far as we can see, without having met her}, yet still be in jail most of one's life, and be productively useful. Sometimes, I've wondered if her and some of the others would have been so on a LWOP sentence.

AustinAnn74 said...

Gee, my heart bleeds....NOT....

Buntline said...

Steve Grogan is a lucky, lucky, lucky man.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

He sure is, Buntline. I perpetually wonder if he was involved in Friday night.

shoegazer said...

GT:



c] The process of restoring someone {such as a criminal} to a useful and constructive place in society.

And some people, even if rehabilitated, should serve their sentence behind bars until they die. In a way, Leslie has kind of demonstrated that it is possible to be rehabilitated {as far as we can see, without having met her}, yet still be in jail most of one's life, and be productively useful.


I'm going to bring a slightly different perspective--it's in a sense socially utilitarian in that it comes from what may be best, overall, for the society of which it's a part.

Using the "c" definition, this presupposes a need within the society for talents/skills/contributions of the individual who has been rehabilitated. So far as I can see, there are no really indispensable attributes that Van Houten possesses that society cannot tap as well, or better, elsewhere. The closest she comes is having the rare experience of having fallen under the sway of a charismatic narcissist who was a practiced manipulator and opportunist. This is useful: she could speak to youth about her insights, and assuming they'd take it to heart, at least partly, it could be of benefit.

Alternatively, she serves as a tragic symbol of the potential for social retribution that's possible if society has deemed her transgressions completely and totally beyond redemption within her lifetime. This sort of unmistakable social sanction serves as an object lesson to anyone who becomes aware of her situation. At best, it can act as a deterrent, and more commonly it at least plants the idea there are some acts that can trigger merciless retribution.

So between serving as a reformed spokesman for the follies of youth, and the tragic figure of a transgressor being held up as a public example of how much society hates the act she's associated with, I think the latter probably has more overall value.

In a sense, she's like the corpse of Captain Kidd, on the gibbet at Tilbury for 3 years: she's rotting in jail. She's a visible lesson for others.

This is completely avoiding her as a person. As a person, she was quite attractive and in some sense admirable though misguided. She seems to me to pose no threat to anyone, and has not for a very long time. She seems genuinely chagrined and ashamed of her actions in her youth.

She still makes an excellent symbol of being associated with the irredeemable. There is no "out". This is doom.

We have very few of these in current western society, from an excesses of empathy having become more afraid to punish that the potential criminal fears the punishment, even if applied.

It's a race to the bottom, now.

Peter said...

IMHO. It's more merciful to whip someone, or brand them, or force them to make restitution, or even cut off a hand, then to lock them in a cage for years.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

It's easy to say from my comfy desk chair in Ohio but if I were Pat, I'd stop going to hearings.

tobiasragg said...

I have had the same thought, Green. I could be mistaken, but I don't think Pat has ever gotten less than a five year denial. That's the stuff of hopelessness.

In a way, I think Charlie was the smartest of the Manson prisoners. He just said "fuck it, I know I'm never going anywhere!" and he just lived his life. Complaining all the way, of course. Charlie had a ton more experience with living in confinement than the others did, but I think it must be that hope of one day being free that must make things so miserable for them at times.

I will add that LVH has been pretty impressive with how she has apparently adjusted to having a meaningful life in confinement. This is largely thanks to her parents and to that first warden at CIW, who worked together to formulate a kind of curriculum designed to bring the girls gradually back to the realities they faced. It's been quite an interesting story.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

After the commishes stomp on her every sentence, she'll be accused of child trafficking again from the peanut gallery. And how dare you say Charlie abused you? And go back to your room. Pat is screwed even if she didn't know Charlie. There's no female Tex to deflect toward, she was never sexualized, and men don't see her as a mother or teacher. If you listen closely, you can hear the banshees howlin on the wind.

tobiasragg said...

"Her sentence was with the possibility of parole and if she meets the criteria of the board, she should be released."

This line from Matthew's post has been sticking in my head. I've been thinking about it all afternoon/evening and I'd like to speak to this. It would be interesting if others care to chime in with their views, too, if so motivated.

Leslie was not sentenced to "life with the possibility of parole." Leslie was sentenced to death. The same was true of all the others. Had the CA Supreme Court not done their temporary thing back in 1972, all of these people would be dead right now. "Hey - that means us!" Leslie reports herself as saying to Krenwinkel and Atkins in their prison cottage when the news came over the radio. There was a bit of a celebration there that day. Rather than gasping for air until they could breathe no more until they were dead in the green room, these ladies (along with the male Manson-related murderers) continue to breathe living air. And that includes Mr. Grogan, who now breathes free air.

So as we are tossing out terms like "political prisoner" let us also remember that it was the same government that allowed them to live to ripe old ages that has contained those lives to this day.

Obvious point? Obviously, yes. But it is one worthy of consideration I think.

I guess the other fairly obvious point that I'll go ahead and make is that there is no promise associated with the word "possibility". As someone responsible for crimes that have offended society, one must accept that that responsibility also means that one is subject to the whims of the society that has been offended. And yes, attitudes toward crime & punishment have changed over recent decades here in the U.S. and that is just the reality of the thing. Is this truth in line with the notions of "right" or "fair"? Of course not. But as a senior person to me when I was young once asked me, "wherever did you get the idea that life was fair?"

As I stated above, I am of two minds on this one. That is a cop-out in a way, but I truly cannot make up my mind on this one. On the one hand, I agree with those who say "I wish them all the best, may they live the most robust and fulfilling lives that they can - within the confines of these walls." Those crimes were among the most horrific we have ever seen in the U.S. and they must be answered for. On the other hand, I equally feel like these are old ladies now who have long ago moved beyond the entire Manson & murder bullshit - they've paid for these crimes with the best years of their lives, let 'em go free. Were LVH to be released tomorrow, I'd expect that she would live a very quiet final few years - and the good citizens of California would probably be off the hook for end-of-life care in her case.

Congratulations if you have read this far, but I have to ask this final question because I cannot for the life of me arrive at an answer to it. This goes back to the original sentence:

If you were Leslie Van Houten or Patricia Krenwinkel or any of the other incarcerated ones still living, which would you have chosen: to die in the gas chamber at 28 or 29, or to remain alive today under the current circumstances?

That is the true situation right now if you are, say, LVH - because we all live under the same government bodies. So which is the better answer?

shoegazer said...
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shoegazer said...
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shoegazer said...
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shoegazer said...

A typical Manson Family parole hearing:

Typical Hearing

David said...

TB said: " Leslie was sentenced to death. The same was true of all the others. Had the CA Supreme Court not done their temporary thing back in 1972, all of these people would be dead right now. "

Well, no, that is not accurate as to Van Houten.

Her conviction in Tate-LaBianca was overturned on appeal. That initial conviction ceased to exist when that happened. She was tried two more times. Finally she was convicted of felony murder, not Helter Skelter murder.

Maxwell Keith was a very good lawyer. In my opinion the only competent lawyer who appeared in TLB, and immediately moved for a mistrial, based on ineffective assistance fo counsel (his ineffective assistance). When he was drafted to step in for Ronald Hughs he argued I can't possibly step in here and read 18,00 pages. I never saw a witness (that matters by the way) and oh, I have a defense that should have been raised and wasn't. I also think my client should be tried separately.

The court should have granted his motion and the appellate court agreed with him.

"Maxwell Keith then told the Court that though he now felt himself familiar with the evidence, from having read the transcripts and other documents, he was not at all sure he could effectively represent his client, since he had not been present when the witnesses testified and therefore could not judge their demeanor or credibility. On this basis, he requested a mistrial. Though Keith argued persuasively, Judge Older denied the motion, observing that every day attorneys argue cases in appellate courts without having been present during the actual trials."

Bugliosi, Vincent; Curt Gentry. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders (25th Anniversary Edition) (p. 470). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

She was tried two more times. The first time the DA again used HS as the motive, again, and that ended in a hung jury-mistrial- due to the defense of diminished capacity. In her second trial the DA largely abandoned HS and relied upon felony murder, not HS. The defense did not apply to that as 'criminal intent to murder' is not relevant. She was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole.

I believe that is when the sentencing judge mentioned something like she should do X more years, which I believe back then was seven.

Ironically, in the intervening years both her defense I trial #2 and the conviction charge in #3 no longer exist, legally, in California.

If you want to read some very good lawyering read the bits when Keith was drafted to step in. He set up her appeal very effectively.

tobiasragg said...

"Her conviction in Tate-LaBianca was overturned on appeal. That initial conviction ceased to exist when that happened."

You raise a very good point, David - and one I'd forgotten about when I typed my initial response.

I am about 2/3rds of the way through the "In A Summer Swelter" book, in which a lawyer posits that the three original-trial Manson girls failed to get a fair trial. I agree with his POV in most ways and especially in the LVH case. Had her trial been separated from Manson's and the other defendants, she may well have gotten off with a much lighter sentence. And yet she fought mightily - including physically fighting in court - against this notion in the original-trial courtroom, so one could accurately state that she experienced the trial she wished for back then, the Hughes matter aside.

That second trial was a complete joke. The prosecution severely overstepped by introducing evidence & crime scene photos from Tate into LVH's retrial on LaBianca. This was in addition to adding the entirely laughable theft/murder connection in order to obtain the conviction they so desired. Massive prosecutorial overreach in that case, and it was allowed. Unbelievable.

The judge in that second retrial sentenced her to 7-to-life, with time already served allotted. LVH had already served something like six years up to that point, and I believe the judge stated from the bench that his expectation was that she'd soon be paroled.

Honestly? If the hand of god suddenly pointed to me and said "YOU decide", I would let the woman go free. And then I would think of the terror the LaBianca couple suffered during their final minutes on earth, and I would think of Rosemary's son and the grief-stricken, troubled life that he then led, and I would regret that decision. But I'd still do it.

Probably.

I don't think there are many people alive who can listen to that Ear Hustle podcast featuring LVH and not be utterly impressed with Leslie's humanity and (dare I say it?) goodness. The woman has found grace in the most challenging of circumstances. But then those same people could read that scant and really sad Frank Struthers, Jr. obit and think "welp - that was a result of Leslie's decisions in 1969, too."

I dunno, man. As someone who has empathy with everyone in this matter, I guess I can say I'd let her walk but I wouldn't feel particularly great about it.

Would you do the same for Charles Watson?

G. Greene-Whyte said...

"Honestly? If the hand of god suddenly pointed to me and said "YOU decide", I would let the woman go free. And then I would think of the terror the LaBianca couple suffered during their final minutes on earth, and I would think of Rosemary's son and the grief-stricken, troubled life that he then led, and I would regret that decision. But I'd still do it."

*Paging Diego Rivera

"Would you do the same for Charles Watson?"

Nope.

Dan S said...

Let the nice old lady out. Ridiculous.

shoegazer said...

Dan:

Let the nice old lady out. Ridiculous.

Consider what I said about the gibbet.

She has been duly gibbeted within the sensibilities of this enlightened era. 'nuff said.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

He's April Fools'ing you.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

I just noticed it's 2:21 pm in the EST. No Vera this week at 1:30 pm this week? What gives?

G. Greene-Whyte said...

*this week #3

gina said...

While I agree that this has become politicized, that does not change what she did. Yes, some killers are paroled. But how many of those participated in a scene like Waverly? A scene she begged to participate in. Nope, she cannot be paroled. Anyone who can do what she did should not be free in society.

grimtraveller said...

GG-W said:

It's easy to say from my comfy desk chair in Ohio but if I were Pat, I'd stop going to hearings

I bet you wouldn't.
Sometimes, we wonder why, at their age, with their limited prospects if they were to get out, they still keep trying to join a world they checked out of at such a young age, over half a century ago, when the world was still pretty young, especially when, on the surface, it seems they are provided for; free healthcare, free meals, TV etc. Most of their parents are dead, their siblings are old/deceased, any kids they have are grown up and even with the time they've had together, what realistic part have Bobby, Bruce and Tex played in their lives ? What relevance or authority can they really have ? What if Tex or Bobby didn't really think that the person one of their kids was going to marry or live with was the right one ? Can we imagine Bruce advising his daughter against a tax scam that she was engaging in ?
But they do keep going. They hold out an ever so faint hope that they can one day get out of prison. Because, and I'm going to make an uncomfortable God point here, that is the way we are created. That's how we are made. Like the animals we are happy to have in our zoos, we are not made to be banged up. Freedom, joy, expansion, progression and co~operation are really what we are about. In a variety of different settings. Prison is actually alien to the very core of our being and so even though people can become institutionalized, or have a really hard time in real life, freedom of movement and expression, nevertheless remains what we need to properly flourish. And I think that is instinctive to us. Maybe I'll find different when I'm properly old. But being locked up, as Peter alluded to, is rarely going to get anyone dancing for joy.
So even though, on one level there's seemingly not much living to be done at the stage Pat, Charles, Leslie, Bobby and Bruce are at, it's almost in their DNA to reach for parole because even 7 years of freedom is better than 30 years of incarceration.

shoegazer said...

GT:

"Hope springs eternal."

For any relatively normal human this is as close to an absolute as you can get.

Speaking to being "properly old", it's still the same. You *hope* to find a silver bullet to cure stuff, and this is what pharma companies exploit in TV drug commercials. You simply hope for something positive, and thus keeps you going.

For me, it's going to the same gym I've gone to for 30 years. I like to imagine that as long as I go I'll be OK, but... :^)

Now that said, Manson generated hope in ways mysterious to me. But I feel sure he did find a way to hope--perhaps he simply hoped to die still poking his finger in The Man's eye...which he did do.

Hoping to make it to the very end with your head still up.

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said:

In a way, I think Charlie was the smartest of the Manson prisoners. He just said "fuck it, I know I'm never going anywhere!" and he just lived his life

I feel the opposite. Quite some time before he died, he was saying that he wanted to get out of prison. His fiancΓ©e said so, and he is quoted in George's book as saying so. But he rarely showed the humility or the balls to admit he was wrong or the willingness to adjust aspects of his attitude.

If you were Leslie Van Houten or Patricia Krenwinkel or any of the other incarcerated ones still living, which would you have chosen: to die in the gas chamber at 28 or 29, or to remain alive today under the current circumstances?

Without a doubt, the latter. I like living ! I don't believe any of them would have chosen the gas chamber because for the most part, no matter how bad our lives get, suicide notwithstanding, our instinct is to live.
"As breathing is my life
To stop I dare not dare."

Would you do the same for Charles Watson?#

No, I wouldn't. Although legally, he and Pat are in the same murderous boat, in reality they are not and never were and in my opinion, it's naive to portray them as being the same.
I do believe that Watson has gone through some deep seated changes. Perhaps controversially, I stand with him as a brother in Christ. I'd even go so far as to say that he wouldn't pose a problem to society if he were released tomorrow.
But he ended the lives of 7 people. Actually, not conceptually like Manson or legally like Pat and Susan. I wholeheartedly buy the domination concept of the prosecution. I am fairly conversant of the part that psychedelic drugs played and I think to dismiss their role is largely ignorant and being in denial. But one of the enduring paradoxes of the entire case is how all this is true, yet a perp like Charles Watson cannot walk away from choices he made, actions he engaged in and the resulting responsibility he must take. He makes it worse all these years later when he talks about arguments in the car on the way to Cielo about whether to do what Charlie ordered or driving around praying that Manson wouldn't find a house in which to kill people.
Rather than Leslie, he is the one that I think serves as a good example of what retribution must sometimes mean. And while he has not been perfect, he also demonstrates that despite a lengthy incarceration, it is possible to alter the hugely negative direction one was moving in and do a volte-face. I don't think serving more than half a century for 7 murders is actually unreasonable, even with a possibility of parole thrown into the sentence. In a way, those amended sentences are what have made the lives and hopes of the perps such a rollercoaster of freedom to grasp at and liberty to be snatched away.

leary7 said...

Ah, the old "what she did' versus 'who she is".
Play live version of Bruce's Jungleland while contemplating Schroder's feline along with Lulu.

grimtraveller said...

shoegazer said:

So between serving as a reformed spokesman for the follies of youth, and the tragic figure of a transgressor being held up as a public example of how much society hates the act she's associated with, I think the latter probably has more overall value

The only reason I'd disagree with that is this; the action is not uniformly applied across the board.
She can be the former while still being incarcerated. While other murderers, by being paroled, in a way demonstrate that society is kind of illogical about its notion of hating the acts the perp is associated with.
In England, we have a different problem with life sentences, namely, parole is almost automatically built into them and there are very few people that would be in jail for 50 years ~ even though arguably, some of them should be.

Gorodish said...

grimtraveller typed:

But he ended the lives of 7 people.

8...9 if you include the baby....

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Off topic, but the 1950 US Census was released today. Unfortunately, it's not indexed yet. I was hoping to find Charlie on the Boys Town census.

Dan S said...

Lady justice is supposed to be blind, not looking forward to Gavin's political ambitions.
To be fair to the dapper ex alcoholic philanderer, even jerry brown vetoed

Dan S said...

Gina, i bet there are WAY more precedents for parole than denial in similar (and worse) cases. Now to show you some examples:

shoegazer said...

Well, it's good they weren't executed, else what would we have to talk about?

grimtraveller said...

shoegazer said:

Well, it's good they weren't executed, else what would we have to talk about?

Ironically, given that her original sentence was quoshed, had they been executed, we'd be endlessly discussing Leslie as a victim of a miscarriage of justice and why the death penalty shouldn't be.

Gorodish said:

8...9 if you include the baby....

Well, yeah....except that because of Bruce and Clem, it's 8.

shoegazer said...

Dan S.:

To be fair to the dapper ex alcoholic philanderer, even jerry brown vetoed

This is interesting.

Given that Brown also rejected parole in 2016 and 2018, when he knew that he would not have to face re-election, and that for most purposes his political career was over (he's older than me, even) we could use this as a counter-argument that politics is the sole, or perhaps even the main, rationale for keeping her in prison.

To be sure you understand where I'm coming from, I don't actually care that much, but feel that she serves a slight societal purpose as an example of possible merciless punishment. This is admittedly a very abstruse and near-theoretical philosophic stance. In my opinion she poses near nil danger to others--I probably pose more by insisting on driving home after a dinner out, with wine.

But back to my question: what might it mean if she has been denied parole twice by someone with no practical political aspirations?

There's a lot to unpack, starting with the fact that he was ~30 when the crimes happened, was in CA, was in LA most likely, and he was affected by it in a way that most forum denizens here were not.

grimtraveller said...

gina said:

Yes, some killers are paroled. But how many of those participated in a scene like Waverly? A scene she begged to participate in. Nope, she cannot be paroled. Anyone who can do what she did should not be free in society

I find your viewpoint sort of shoots itself in the foot.
On the one hand, you say that some killers are paroled and then you begin your very next sentence with "But" and a question. That "But" implies that because, in your view, they didn't take part in scenes as "bad" as Waverly, that their parole is somehow justified and therefore OK.
Now, I could be totally wrong on this and it wouldn't be the first or last time, but I think that, like many people, you have a kind of league table of "awfulness of murder" in your mind. I'm not criticizing you, because I struggle with it too. I think many human beings do. But at the end of the day, if a killer shot and killed a bystander during a robbery, the net outcome of their actions is exactly the same as what Leslie did. Life is taken. People are left having to pick up the pieces, whose lives may go in a direction they might not have, if the person killed hadn't been. What Leslie did wasn't right or cool and she has spent most of her life paying for it. But if we're going to go with the league table mentality, can you compare it to the murders committed by people that have been paroled ? For example, the 2 women that were on the specially constructed death row wing when Leslie was first sentenced. One of them brutally murdered her lover's wife. She was out on the streets within 10 years of when Leslie joined her in jail. What she did was as bad as what happened at Waverly. To be honest, all murders are.

shoegazer said...

In a sense it's kinda interesting to consider what "justice" is.

Let's take the killing of one individual by another, and for now disregard the circumstances.

If both are a part of a larger social group, like a family or clan, it is in the interests of that group to settle accounts. At this level it's done mainly as a sort of emotional release--the catharsis of evening things up; eye for an eye sort of mentality, which is deeply rooted in human nature, and very likely in parts of the animal kingdom. It has evolutionary aspects to it, as well: it can both deter promiscuous threats, and serve to strengthen the social bond within the group.

If neither is affiliated with a group then it falls upon undifferentiated society: how does the society feel about the deaths of strangers? If it offends or threatens the broader society, it will take action, and this again serves as a deterrence to promiscuous threats.

It also plays upon the very human trait of empathy, by inviting an emotional connect with the victim, even if they are unknown and unrelated.

This is to say that in the absence of a larger society, the death of a stranger requires no justice.

Up to a certain point, this serves. Beyond that point the flaws of the system, in that lasting and escalating blood feuds are likely, which are socially destabilizing (and this is basically what the US currently faces with "he dissed me!" killings on a grand scale), and so society gradually accepts both a codification of offenses that are punishable (written laws), and here's the most important: society from that point forward claims a monopoly on justice.

Justice is no longer what the offended group seeks as satisfactory recompense, but what society as a whole has deemed proper: it's a fuckin' popularity contest, nothing more--count up the "likes". It moves the administration of justice to an objective, disinterested third-party, which, if consistently administered, is no doubt for the best. But it's not consistent because the acceptable punishments evolve according to popular sentiment ("likes"), while the intrinsic human need the offended group feels to balance the books does not. They still--and always will--want an eye for an eye. The idea of rehabilitation is 'way the fuck down their list, I can assure you.

This is why we have an increasing mismatch between what's needed by the offended group, and what's allowed by society. It undermines respect for the justice system.

grimtraveller said...

shoegazer said:

Given that Brown also rejected parole in 2016 and 2018, when he knew that he would not have to face re-election, and that for most purposes his political career was over, we could use this as a counter-argument that politics is the sole, or perhaps even the main, rationale for keeping her in prison

Never underestimate the power of legacy. Few people honestly want to be spoken ill of after they've left a situation, even if they're never going to hear it.
We're strange, we humans.
There's a biblical proverb that says "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold." That's talking essentially from a positive perspective. But there's also a cynical way of looking at that and we humans, being what we are sometimes, tend to apply that a bit too often.

what might it mean if she has been denied parole twice by someone with no practical political aspirations?

He did have aspirations the first time. He had a couple of years to go. The fact that term limits may apply doesn't mean that an incumbent is somehow magically shielded from acting "politically."
I do not have a problem with the guv'nor being the one to provide checks and balances to parole board recommendations. Such a situation should have, in my opinion, applied with Clem. It certainly should have applied back in the 60s with Ed Kemper. It should have applied to "Jean and Linda" {or Claire and Jennifer, as Susan Atkins called them}, the women that brutally murdered and were sentenced to death and paroled in less than 10 years. No, my problem with Jerry and Gav the guv has always been the reasons they cite for kicking back the decisions. I think they are demonstrably untrue at worst and weaker than weak at best. The crazy aspect is that both had/have a ready made reason for rejection {the heinousness of the crime}, yet both don't wield it. They go to reasons that are simply not the case.

but feel that she serves a slight societal purpose as an example of possible merciless punishment

I think being in prison for 40 years would have done that ! Or 50.

grimtraveller said...

shoegazer said:

They still--and always will--want an eye for an eye

I don't believe that.
I think that what people want is revenge, pure and simple, self-directed, with no limits and with no comebacks.
An eye for an eye {at least in its biblical application} actually limits vengeance. It basically says whatever was done to you, you do to them. But that's not how human beings really are, if left to our own devices.

The idea of rehabilitation is 'way the fuck down their list, I can assure you

Agreed. If you've been on the receiving end of any criminal activity, the last thing you think of, if you think of it at all, is rehabilitating the offender[s]. Rehabilitation is generally a minority sport, even though not pursuing it, where possible, is short sighted. But lots of purely human things are pretty short sighted !

shoegazer said...

GT:

I agree with you position on legacy--I think that's it, most likely.

I think being in prison for 40 years would have done that ! Or 50.

Yes, it sounds good from this perspective, but humans being what they are, nuance is less convincing than the idea of that: "Oh. She's *still* in..." Then later: "Wow. She died behind bars. It says here for 57 years...".

It's another thing entirely to see her out, maybe even doing social work, and then be reminded that she was imprisoned for 50+ years.

So I stand by my position that she's being gibbeted. It's unpleasant and we can talk about it, but that's her purpose right now: to rot in situ for public warning.

shoegazer said...

I think that what people want is revenge, pure and simple, self-directed, with no limits and with no comebacks.
An eye for an eye {at least in its biblical application} actually limits vengeance. It basically says whatever was done to you, you do to them. But that's not how human beings really are, if left to our own devices.


That's exactly correct; I was imprecise when I said an eye for an eye. They'd settle for that, but they'd like to torture/kill/mutilate/cannibalize them with restraint or restriction.

See? This is what floats around in virtually every human--it's there, but we sit on it, hold it in check. Some don't do this very well, others don't care to. Me, I sit down hard on this stuff because I know it's in there. I can master all this stuff, and it's my duty as a positive human, father and husband and all, to do it. I like my duty! Take pride in accomplishment! :^)

However, very many people are in denial over this simple fact of human nature, and find it comforting to think that Manson (or Hitler, or Saddam, or maybe Putin) are pure evil, and I'm not, so all's well with the world.

Very good discussion, GT. No shit...

tobiasragg said...

Out of curiosity, I did a quick search to try and discover how the CA parole system compares with those found in other states. This link comes from the Prison Policy Initiative, collection of folks who advocate for change in the criminal justice system. In other words, these are folks perhaps most sympathetic to prisoners in Van Houten's situation. As it turns out, California ranks right down there with most of the country in this org's view: https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/grading_parole.html

As is evident in just this small discussion, there are many ways to slice and dice the relative severity of crimes and those committing them. Let us spring Leslie next week. Who's next?

Bruce Davis?
Sirhan Sirhan?
Patty Krenwinkel . . . ?
Bobby Beausolei
Charles Watson
Mark David Chapman

The list could go on. Each of these individuals have been imprisoned for decades and each has a pretty clean prison record. Each is elderly enough that the notion of their restarting their killing career seems remote, at best. Krenwinkel delivered more total stab wounds than did Van Houten, but Chapman and Sirhan delivered less wounds to their victims. As I said, there are lots of ways to slice and dice these things.

“It’s not that we’re giving Charles Manson the death penalty; it’s that he earned it.” -Kay

Yes, Leslie was sentenced to death. As someone points out above, the sentencing in her second retrial negates that first sentence, seven-to-life w/the possibility. The judge's expectation at the time of that second sentencing was that Leslie would be out in another year or three, as she'd already served six or so years by that point.

But just as sentencings can trump each other, so can parole decisions. Public attitudes toward criminal justice, and the political actions taken in response to these attitudes, are much different today than they were in the late 70s. If we are going to accept changes in sentencing, we must also accept the ever-changing societal norms. If we are seeking to be intellectually honest, that is.

In some ways, releasing Leslie Van Houten is almost as cruel as keeping her in confinement. Out here, she is ineligible for Social Security and physically limited in terms of the work she can do. Van Houten could do some sort of social work, but she is already doing that in prison and she has been for years. As a free woman, Van Houten would be forced to collect public assistance and to rely on the monetary kindness of sympathetic family and friends.

And then there are whatever health challenges and their associated costs that lay ahead in her future. Leslie Van Houten would receive a much better level of medical care within the prison system than her situation would allow for out here, in the free world.

In other words, she is pretty much a prisoner, either way.

It would be a great relief if Van Houten were to live a freer life - but to who? To Van Houten herself and to her circle of supporters. And that's rather the point, I think. "You seem ready to reenter society, but I am not sure that society is ready for you to be released into it" one of LVH's recent parole commissioners told her. And I think that's pretty much where we're at, collectively.4

tobiasragg said...

I have watched the film "Charlie Says" this weekend for the first time. It is on Netflix and elsewhere if one has interest. I had always overlooked this one as another schlocky Manson film, but it is actually pretty damned good.

The film covers the early journey of the three Manson girls in prison, from their death sentences being commuted to their very gradual journey away from Manson and all of the HS bullshit they held onto for years after their convictions. A grad student social worker was asked to help work with the girls to try and help them rediscover who they were prior to meeting Manson and also to confront the reality of what they had done. The film is centered on Leslie Van Houten. She is our protagonist and we see the entire Manson story, via flashback, through her eyes.

This film is Hollywood stupid in places, but it is very well acted and rather astonishingly close to the truth. Certain elements (Wilson, the indoctrination) are condensed and a bit silly, but damn - all of these people really did their research and while it's all smooshed together in a typical film script, they get a load more right than they get wrong.

Anyway, the reason I post this for you to read is that they include a LVH-related incident that really did happen. Actually, they portray two versions of this. The incident involved a biker dude who took a shine to Leslie. They'd snuck off to fuck and Manson was not particularly please with this, he kicked the guy off the premises. The dude returned later though, and he invited LVH to go away with him, to escape the whole Manson scene. Leslie declined the invitation and the guy ended up leaving. Years later, Van Houten spoke of that opportunity with regret, stating that she might have avoided her eventual fate if she had just taken that biker dude up on his offer.

And indeed (spoiler alert) this is how "Charlie Says" ends. Van Houten in prison has just made the breakthrough that was years in coming - that it really was all for nothing - and the film ends on a flashback to that moment, this time with Leslie stepping away from that Spahn boardwalk, hoping onto the back of that bike, and riding away from Manson.

Anyway, it's a decent film and worth checking out sometime, if you haven't already.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

I liked this one too. Historical accuracy is less important to me in these films than why someone made a Manson movie. Cash grab? Bury Charlie deeper? Gory entertainment?

I am endlessly fascinated by the way the world reacted and reacts to Charlie. Reading everyone's comments every day is an endless education.

Greenwhite. In them cans behind my favorite store. April 2022.

shoegazer said...

The incident involved a biker dude who took a shine to Leslie. They'd snuck off to fuck and Manson was not particularly please with this, he kicked the guy off the premises. The dude returned later though, and he invited LVH to go away with him, to escape the whole Manson scene.

Krenwinkel's 20016 parole hearing, much of it is a claim that she had a chance to go off with a biker and did for a while.

I wonder what, exactly, to make of these claims made at this late stage: fantasy, co-incidence, or what.

One thing too in Krenwinkel, she describes what can only be seen as Manson pimping the girls on the grand scale.

Krenwinkel and bikers

Once there, do a "Find" on "biker".

shoegazer said...

G. G-W:

Historical accuracy is less important to me in these films than why someone made a Manson movie. Cash grab? Bury Charlie deeper? Gory entertainment?

Probably all of the ones you mention, but you know what would be interesting would be to see how many cluster around the 50th anniversary, so as to capitalize of the free advertising from "Once Upon a Time...".

Most people don't care much about Manson or these crimes. Of course, if you ask them, they'll profess self-righteous horror, so as to earn a "like" from everyone.

It's like asking about Hitler.

tobiasragg said...

"Historical accuracy is less important to me in these films"

To me, this film (released in 2018) stands apart from the others in that it is about the girls more than Manson or the murders themselves. Indeed, while Charlie gets his share of screen time, he is more a supporting player in this story. Director Mary Herron (I Shot Andy Warhol, American Psycho) places Sadie, Patty and most especially Leslie, in the lead, front and center.

What impressed me most about this film is how much they get right in terms of the interpersonal relationships within the family. Krenwinkel sits in a mother earth leadership position within the group and Leslie is correctly portrayed as her new-arrival apprentice and bestie (a friendship that has lasted almost a lifetime and has only recently ended). We see Sadie's defiant, attention-seeking actions and Charlie's method of physically pacifying her - even the salad dressing incident is included. We see Sandy's constant emotional neediness and her emotional meltdowns. We witness Linda's first arrival, baby in tow. Tex is finally depicted as he was within this family, as a kind of confused and searching semi-outsider who often lived at Spahn apart from the family. Gypsy is appropriately sexualized and Squeaky features often as the ever-enthusiastic head Charlie cheerleader.

Even better is the casting and their acting chops. Manson is a bit too Hollywood-handsome, but they actually discovered actors who resemble the family members they are depicting (in a couple of cases, it is almost spooky). Each of the actors has obviously studied their counterparts in some detail and their portrayals are dead-on. Even the film version of Paul Watkins resembles Paul Watkins! The actor playing Leslie does not resemble her physically at all, but her performance is so good one doesn't really care.

The murders are handled appropriately. Their horrific nature is quite evident but the gore is left offscreen. This one is a quality film that was extremely well-reviewed when it first released, I am a little surprised it has received so little attention on this site.

grimtraveller said...

David said:

the contradiction between retribution and rehabilitation...It’s origin, despite what some may wish to believe, is in the essence of the Judeo-Christian philosophy. That means we have a choice between an eye for an eye or forgiveness

I think it's important to recognize that in Judeo-Christian philosophy, retribution and rehabilitation stand alongside each other, not in opposition to each other. Yes, there are definitely times when the retribution side of things meant a person's death. But the entire idea makes no sense at all unless one takes into account the elephant 🐘 in the room ~ God ! πŸ¦‰
And not just some abstract, distant notion of God, but rather, a personal God who actively and personally cares about people, the earth and everything in it. At least biblically, prior to God organizing laws in the Judeo aspect of things, people ran amok when it came to vengeance and retribution. For example, we see the wiping out of every male of the city of Sh'khem by some of Jacob's sons, and the plundering of all their possessions and the enslavement of all their wives and children ~ over the rape of their only sister. And the people of Sh'khem had agreed to their demands and were ready to do whatever Jacob's sons had wanted {although the story is somewhat nuanced}. While it's easy to cast this off as a story or a myth {and I don't. To me it's history and it doesn't show the people of God in a good light at all}, it demonstrates that left to our devices, people aren't even willing to accept an eye for an eye. And God's take was that the punishment should fit the crime. Hence "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." You can’t get more equal than that. It’s not a case of “You scratch my back, I’ll knife yours !”

But built into this, is the notion of restoration and that is often what forgiveness is about. The reason I place God front and centre in the debate about retribution vs rehabilitation is because God would naturally see beyond the physical, earthly, death of a person and ∴ their condition at the point of death would be of immense importance, if life carries on and if one’s final condition in relation to God determines what happens after. So with that in mind, a person can still be punished for a particular crime, yet restored {for the long, eternal term}, should they choose that. And that’s the thing, rehabilitation takes two specific willing parties ~ the lawmaker and the perp. In terms of the murderer in prison, their continuous punishment does not negate their being rehabilitated, restored back to at least some equilibrium.

Most societies, whether supposedly advanced/enlightened or supposedly primitive/backward, have worked out for themselves over the centuries, what they deem to be acceptable and unacceptable, behaviour. It may be seen as an honour to your host, in some places, to belch loudly after a meal, but not in others. Or some societies are against the smacking of kids while others live by it. But I’m not aware of any place where it is acceptable to walk into a person’s house and urinate in their face. So while differences exist in various places, there are some things that are fairly common to most, if not all places. Every society aims to take care of its children. Every society shuns murder and wilful, unnecessary theft.

grimtraveller said...

2/2

From the God perspective, a person’s restoration is important, even if they end up in the gas chamber or hanged or shot by firing squad because physical death is not the end of the story. And from the human perspective, even though we are often a viciously vengeful bunch if we think we, or those that we feel in alignment with, have been wronged {Charles Manson, anyone ?}, there is also something about us as human beings at various times that wants to see someone admit they were wrong, make good on former badness if possible, and act as a cautionary tale, not for the reasons Shoegazer gave {although I do agree with what he said there}, but because we want to know that people can change from what we see as negative, to positive. Those that feel that a criminal murderer is always a lost, criminal murderer, might feel different if it was someone they loved.
I believe Leslie Van Houten has been rehabilitated, that is, restored. I don’t believe that she is of the mind she housed from the mid 60s to mid 70s or that she’s likely to return there. In Bobby’s latest parole denial, it was interesting that one of the reasons given for denial was that he had been showing the old Bobby ‘69 style greed that had fed into the mindset that led him to commit murder. That does not apply to Leslie. She’s come a long way. I think successive state guv’nors have brought out poor reasoning when justifying keeping her in jail.
But here’s the thing; her rehabilitation in prison has done society possibly more good than if she had left jail up to this point. She has been of immense help to many inmates that possibly may not have been reached with the same effectiveness by anyone else, certainly not on the side of the system. She’s helped women cope with prison sentences, she’s helped women get ready for life on the outside when their sentences end. One can sneer and scoff at that, but if one thinks about how easy it is for a perp to re~offend and stay on the endless cycle of the prison~crime yo-yo, then one might see just how valuable anyone that can help in the arresting of that trend, is. She’s lived the majority of her life in the public eye, made her mistakes in public, grown and handled life in public. To me, she actually stands as the embodiment of how retribution and rehabilitation can go hand in hand.
I’ve observed, from time to time, that if she were to never leave prison, deep down, despite her sentence carrying a possibility of parole, she can’t really complain. Parole is always a possibility, not a right or a foregone conclusion. And she did contribute to at least one savage murder. Neither is it a contradiction that she should fight against the decisions of the guv’nors when they countermand a positive decision in her favour. I wouldn’t be surprised if she sometimes felt like saying “You weren’t in disagreement when they weren’t awarding me parole !! There was no overturning of decisions, then !”
I’d fight it. I suspect most people reading this, whether they hate Leslie’s guts or love her cockles, would fight it.

tobiasragg said...

"I’d fight it. I suspect most people reading this, whether they hate Leslie’s guts or love her cockles, would fight it"

What's to fight? There is no fight. The only real way to "fight" something like this is to work to have the law overturned that allows for governmental approval in the first place, and that is not a battle that Leslie is really able to wage from where she sits.

grimtraveller said...

G G-W said:

Historical accuracy is less important to me in these films than why someone made a Manson movie

I'm terrible that way, I'm a stickler for historical accuracy. That's partly why I never watch biopics. I know they're going to drive me nuts for those 2 hours. For example, if I'm watching a Beatle biopic and they run the scene where they are deported from Hamburg and Stuart Sutcliffe doesn't fly home, I'm already starting to boil. Or if they all fly home I'm ready to boil ! I think it's just good manners and demonstrates a penchant to tell the story truthfully and accurately. If you can't get entertainment out of the truth, then you shouldn't be making movies and documentaries. Hard ? Maybe.
It's quite funny actually. When I saw "The 10 Commandments" and saw how Cecil B jiggled that tale regarding Pharoah's daughter and Moses, I wanted to jump back in time and make him eat lemons for a decade ! At least in "Prince of Egypt" they told you at the start that they were taking poetic licence. I appreciated that.
Charles Watson came in for some flak a few years back, because he changed some of the stuff written about him on Wikipedia. I felt then and feel now, good on him. If you are going to write about me, be bleedin' accurate. Don't say I was born in Birmingham, Alabama, when I was born in Birmingham, UK. Don't say I was born in Sorento, Italy, when I was born in Sorrento maternity.
Not that anyone would write about me. ✍🏼
Actually, I've been in trouble at work at times in my past and things that were written about me in the late 80s and particularlt the early 90s, that were untrue and hugely slanted {I can't even say nuanced} affect me to this very day. So I do get a bit touchy about historical accuracy.
In Nuel Emmons' book on Charlie, the "in his own words" one {which, when I bought it back in '88 was called "Without Conscience", a much better title} there is this classic statement from "Charlie":
"In a book I once read part of, the author said I approached this particular girl [Squeaky] and used the words 'I am the God of fuck,' and lured her into my van. I'd like to say that author is a fucking liar." I'd known that statement for many years so it came as an interesting eye opener when Nicholas Shreck used "The God of Fuck" as one of the headings in his mammoth Charlie book.

I daresay, that someone will say to me that I accept all kinds of things about Manson that are false, based on other's opinions etc, but there's a world of difference between, I don't know, recounting and concluding from the words of Paul Watkins or Linda Kasabian or a parole seeking Charles Watson and the kind of changes that film or documentary or article or book writers bring to their productions. And it's not just TLB, I'm like this with everything. My Mum πŸ‘ΈπŸΏ would be spitting feathers, if, say, we were watching biopics on Ray Charles or Frank Sinatra. She couldn't abide the idea of a man treating a woman badly. And during the films, I'd be saying to her, "Mum, it's a film ! Don't take it as die-hard fact."
Never made a difference ! ☃️ ⛄️

grimtraveller said...

shoegazer said:

See? This is what floats around in virtually every human--it's there, but we sit on it, hold it in check. Some don't do this very well, others don't care to. Me, I sit down hard on this stuff because I know it's in there...However, very many people are in denial over this simple fact of human nature

That's Christian philosophy, or at least a major part of it.

and find it comforting to think that Manson (or Hitler, or Saddam, or maybe Putin) are pure evil, and I'm not, so all's well with the world

It's hard to think of oneself as evil. Part of the problem is the very word 'evil'. It sounds so horrible, the concepts usually described are so very horrible and I've felt for decades that we tend to ascribe a Hollywood mentality to it, which makes it even harder to apply to oneself. For me, the definition of 'evil' is simply "that which God doesn't like." It applies to me if I house wrong attitudes towards another person or aspect of living. I struggle with it pretty much most days. We never really know beforehand, exactly what combination of circumstances will bring out negative aspects of us that we either deny, or don't know are there.

tobiasragg said.:

It would be a great relief if Van Houten were to live a freer life - but to who? To Van Houten herself and to her circle of supporters

I agree. I think it would be more important to her supporters than to even Leslie !

And that's rather the point, I think. "You seem ready to re-enter society, but I am not sure that society is ready for you to be released into it"

Society takes whatever society is given from those that have the power to impose what they deem to be the going concern, under the pretext {actually, maybe that's unfair} of having the support of the people. Sure, there'd be fuss initially but like all things, eventually, it would die down. A silly point perhaps, but there's not really ever been any great outcry against Steve Grogan. Even on the blogs, apart from the Col, few people have really made any outraged noises towards his freedom. I'd bet my guitar strings that the great majority aren't aware of him ~ or even care.

What's to fight? There is no fight. The only real way to "fight" something like this is to work to have the law overturned that allows for governmental approval in the first place, and that is not a battle that Leslie is really able to wage from where she sits

There have been a number of recent attempts to take certain matters to the courts by Leslie, when things have not gone her way. She obviously feels it's something to fight for. You may well be right in what you say, but the law of the land gives her the the freedom to take things to the higher Father, to use a good old Charlie line. She actually has more recourse to fight in the courts than those in poverty, which is quite the irony.

grimtraveller said...

shoegazer said:

Krenwinkel's 20016 parole hearing

Probably ! πŸ‘΅πŸΌ πŸ§“πŸΌ πŸ‘΄πŸΌ

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said:

Let us spring Leslie next week. Who's next?...Chapman and Sirhan delivered less wounds to their victims

Yeah, but Sirhan killed JFK's brother and Chapman killed a Beatle. Off their own bat. Like the "Manson murderers" they show the power of association.
There again, MD Chapman showed serious instability beforehand. And Sirhan, though he was granted parole, has the problem that, even if what he says is true, it will always be couched as him not taking responsibility. And if he does then start to take responsibility for the murder, future guv'nors will say, "well, why only now ? Why did it take 53 years ? This makes your release unsafe."
Batman was right to some extent, when he used to tell us children that "crime doesn't pay."
It doesn't pay if you get caught and convicted.πŸ‘©πŸΌ‍⚖️

David said...

tobiasragg said: "This one is a quality film that was extremely well-reviewed when it first released, I am a little surprised it has received so little attention on this site."

It surprised me as well as I think it is the best Manson-related film out there.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Grim, I've only read the thin volume of the Manson File. I believe I ordered the most recent version in 2017 but still no dice.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

David and Tobias, I recently enjoyed The Last of the Manson Girls and even started a review in our post queue, although I must admit I haven't made it beyond the post title yet. Either of you seen it?

shoegazer said...

"In a book I once read part of, the author said I approached this particular girl [Squeaky] and used the words 'I am the God of fuck,' and lured her into my van. I'd like to say that author is a fucking liar."

Sounds like the same situation described in the Heart song:

Magic Man

tobiasragg said...

The Last of the Manson Girls ... I have not seen this. Just watched the trailer - ooh boy. Looks like the kind of film that could go either way. Would you recommend?

P.S. there is another very low budget film I watched last year that was shockingly good, I believe it is called Manson Family Values. Have you seen this? I was about to bail on this thing about 12 different times and then something happens around the midpoint and oh fuck, was I hooked after that! Turned out to be an incredibly good, intelligent script. We should really do/have more coverage on all of these films that have come out!

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Tobias, I liked The Last of the Manson Girls. There's the usual indie film moment where you have to get yourself used to the girls not looking like the Manson girls, but I thought it was a fun telling of the Paul Krassner LSD trip with the girls that you're probably familiar with...

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/my-acid-trip-with-squeaky_b_252681

Manson Family Values is one I liked too.

Jay said...

It looks like the 2022 version of The Manson File is supposed to start shipping in the next couple of weeks.

Jay said...

I think The Last of the Manson Girls was a really good movie for having such a low budget, and a narrow focus. It was nice to see coverage of the women post TLB. They could probably dedicate a whole film to certain ones.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Jay, I was pleasantly surprised for sure. They did some cool stuff. Thanks for the heads up on the Manson File, too.

Jay said...

I think it was an excellent film, despite the sometimes silly Hollywood aspects- but it is a movie, not a documentary. All of the actresses did a great job.
I would love to see a film that concentrates on Sadie sometime. I often find the women more fascinating than Manson.
Leslie, My Name is Evil (retitled Manson, My Name is Evil) is an odd film that concentrates on LVH. It’s really fast and loose with the facts and is played more for laughs and weirdness than anything else. I mention it because the actress that plays Sadie goes full nutjob and is a treat to watch.

tobiasragg said...

"I would love to see a film that concentrates on Sadie sometime. I often find the women more fascinating than Manson."

Fascinating, yes. But the challenge with Atkins is that she is a horrible film subject. One has to be able to relate to or at least have empathy with a central film character and her life, personality & actions were challenging, at best.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Jay, if I can find that film online, I will give it a watch today.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Tobias, I'm not pro-Sadie. And I take your point. And I'm a broken record so here we go. Susan had two alcoholic parents and an older brother who sexually abused her and passed her around to his friends. That's gonna mess you up. And then her mother checks out.

The scene with Susan and the other kids from her choir singing outside her dying mom's hospital room would likely be a filmmaker's one shot at creating empathy.

For badassery, I'd include Susan telling the state trooper she'd have killed him if she had the chance or whatever the correct quote is there.

But yeah. Overall, the feet sores, the stache, holding Sharon hostage, none of it leaves a lot to build on.

Definitely some naked go go dancing in the jail while Japanese female surf rock plays tho now that I think about it.

Susan as a fancy superstar behind bars might work. The Long Island style track suits. Long, painted nails. Nellie breathing heavy into the phone. "What was sex with the other girls like, Sadie my love?"

Typos be damned. I'm proving I'm not a robot and publishing my comment.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

*Add talking in an English accent to the person who called for Gary and the entire weekend at Gary's to my list of why I think she sucks.

shoegazer said...

But the challenge with Atkins is that she is a horrible film subject. One has to be able to relate to or at least have empathy with a central film character and her life, personality & actions were challenging, at best.

An interesting "what if?" is: what if Atkins had been able to keep her mouth shut to the two women inmates who ratted her out? How much longer, if ever, would it have taken the LAPD to connect the crimes to the family?

I've never given this any consideration. In a way, I was completely blown away by the realization that Atkins' need for recognition and status was so great that she'd risk screwing not only herself, but several others from a group she considered family, for life. I never got any farther than that.

shoegazer said...

G. G-W:

For badassery, I'd include Susan telling the state trooper she'd have killed him if she had the chance or whatever the correct quote is there.

It's one thing to say it and another to actually do it. With Atkins, talk was cheap, and if she's the only source for this, any prudent person would question whether it even happened.

You know what? I think she saw "Bonnie and Clyde" and was really, really impressed...

David said...

shoe gazer said: "and if she's the only source for this...."

She's not.

grimtraveller said...

shoegazer said:

what if Atkins had been able to keep her mouth shut to the two women inmates who ratted her out?

The thing is, when she told Howard and Graham, she did not envisage them going to the police. That just wasn't done in jail and if word got out that you'd snitched, your life could be in danger. Ronnie Howard had attempts on her life afterwards because of being known as the one that went to the cops. Virginia Graham jumped parole and disappeared for years because of death threats from Charlie sympathizers. Death threats and attempts of a life threatening kind happened to Paul Watkins, Barbara Hoyt and Juan Flynn. Leslie was worried that if she cooperated with the cops, she'd be found "dead after Russian roulette" like Zero. Paul Crockett and Brooks Poston had threats come their way. Even Atkins was given death threats from Charlie and Tex if she didn't keep her gob closed.
These weren't cute people, once they'd gotten the scent of blood.
So Susan telling her cellmates wasn't unusual, although Virginia told her not to talk so loud. And neither Graham nor Howard initially believed her. And even when they did, like her other cellmate whom she confessed to, Nancy Jordon, they weren't going to tell anyone, as per the prison code. The only reason Graham did was because she couldn't bear the thought of more random killings.

How much longer, if ever, would it have taken the LAPD to connect the crimes to the family?

Before Susan was blabbing to Howard and Graham in November, the LaBianca detectives had already connected the crimes to the Family. In their mid October report, Charlie was on their suspect list and reading the report gives the reasons why. What's also interesting about that report is that the LaBianca detectives were clearly looking to try to sort the Cielo crime ~ clearly they were connecting the two crimes.

I've never given this any consideration. In a way, I was completely blown away by the realization that Atkins' need for recognition and status was so great that she'd risk screwing not only herself, but several others from a group she considered family, for life

If you're talking about blabbing in jail, it wasn't that. People talk, simple as. Later, Susan said {in a letter to her !} that she wanted to cut Ronnie Howard's throat for being the snitch, until she tumbled that she herself was the snitch.
If, however, you're talking about co~operating with LE, she was in a pickle. Kitty Lutesinger had already put her in the Hinman murder and LE eventually told Susan they knew about her involvement in the Tate murders and that she would be convicted because of their witness and what they'd been told that only one of the killers could know and how things could be corroborated . I think that came as something of a surprise to her and outside of the Family enclave, she was kind of on her own. I think what she went on to do from March of 1970 is possibly what she would have done in the first place, if other Family members were in the jail with her at the point she was taken from Inyo to LA.

It's one thing to say it and another to actually do it. With Atkins, talk was cheap, and if she's the only source for this, any prudent person would question whether it even happened

It was Thomas Drynan, the cop, that actually told the story in court, during the penalty phase.

grimtraveller said...

in Judeo-Christian philosophy, retribution and rehabilitation stand alongside each other, not in opposition to each other

This is precisely how many of us that have children or are in the care of children, operate. When they’ve done wrong, at some point, we punish them and the punishment is part of teaching them about the reality of consequences of actions. It matters not if it’s a good smacking, grounding, withholding of pleasures or whatever it is. It's an important part of their human development.
And for those with their heads screwed on, it doesn’t stop at punishment. Punishment is not an end in itself. It’s actually part of the restoration. An important part. It is saying this is serious, kid ! Then we go on to encourage the child[ren] to turn from whatever ways led to the wrongdoing in the first place. We show them how, practically and verbally and we do it with love and care. And we enable them to walk the restorative path. And hopefully, they change in increments, if not right away.

Chris B said:

playing the game is getting her nowhere. Perhaps it is time to tell the parole board exactly what she thinks of the absurdity of the process

To what end though ? The only time worthwhile doing that is when and if the perp has accepted that jail is to be where they will die. There’s a big difference between thinking you’ll probably die in jail and thinking that you are in jail until you die. Only one of those views cancels out thoughts of parole entirely.
Leslie, by going to court on some occasions, indirectly shows what she thinks of the process.

tobiasragg said:

The post-mortem on Rosemary revealed that Tex Watson had severed her lower spine during one of those bayonet strikes

Given that Leslie did what she did with the same bayonet that Tex used, and given that it is impossible to say what the administrative sequence of the stabs were, and given that Leslie admitted she stabbed the back area, could have done a couple up around the neck and 7 of Rosemary's 8 fatal wounds were on the back of the body with only one at the front, and given that Leslie said she just went crazy
{”It felt so weird that I blew my mind behind it; if you understand what I mean by blow my mind. I mean, I lost control. I went completely nuts that moment. It was hard to get it through. Like when I thought of stabbing, I didn’t really have any idea in my mind, but it’s a real feeling. It’s not even like cutting a piece of meat. It’s much tougher. I had to use both hands and all my pressure, all my strength behind it to get it in. And so once I started, the feeling was so weird that I just kept doing it.”}
with the stabbing after her initial hesitancy and finding it tough to penetrate, then in reality, no one can say that she never applied any fatal blows or which ones she did apply, if she applied any. If the numbers she has given are accurate {14-16} then of one thing we can be sure ~ Rosemary was alive when Leslie commenced.

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said:

But as a senior person to me when I was young once asked me, "wherever did you get the idea that life was fair?"

Life may not be fair, but does that mean we should go out of our way to ensure that that is the way it must be for others ?

one could accurately state that she experienced the trial she wished for back then

She sure did. And the reality will always be that she had freedom of thought, insisted {then, as now} that she wasn't mentally impaired and got what she desired. That she changed her views a few years after doesn't invalidate the genuineness of what she felt at the time. I think "In a summer swelter" is a brilliant book. But I don't agree with Simon, that the women didn't get a fair trial. Although he is critical of Fitzgerald, Hughes and Shinn in the way they handled things and seemed to be more pro~Charlie than their own clients, all three lawyers refused to present the chosen defence of Manson, which was, in effect, what the penalty phase was. The judge noted how bizarre it was that they put on their defence in the penalty phase when it was already too late. Even more bizarre was that they had pled 'not guilty'. And here they were, trying to absolve Charlie, blame Linda and condemn themselves. As Susan Atkins so succinctly put it, the system is such that if you want to commit suicide on the stand, it’s not going to stop you {although LE sincerely tried in the case of the 3 women}. And prior to the trials, all three of them had the opportunity for LE protection of sorts ~ Leslie with offers of immunity from Mike McGann {even if she had been involved in the murders, he said}, Susan from the DA, Pat through the ‘extradition from Alabama affair’ ~ they all wilfully chose to reject the offers. The outcomes were the direct and unforseen results of those rejections that they made in their right minds.
Be careful what you sign.

shoegazer said:

what would be interesting would be to see how many cluster around the 50th anniversary, so as to capitalize of the free advertising from "Once Upon a Time..."
Most people don't care much about Manson or these crimes


I don't have a problem with various film companies, publishers and journalists pinging their wares onto a 50th or whatever anniversary. Even if you're communistic, it's still a capitalistic world, and trade and commerce are important strands in making the world turn. So any entrepreneur is going to want to maximize their sales or readership or watchability in their chosen endeavour. So it makes sense to latch onto whatever might be around that might make peoples' head raise. There were actually quite a few articles and books that were timed for release to coincide with the 50th anniversary. I personally don't do the anniversary thing in any sphere of life {much to my wife's chagrin πŸ™„} but it's impossible not to notice. Make the most of it, that's what I say. It should also be noted that most of the Manson related books and articles and films don't capitalize on the anniversaries.

tobiasragg said...

"Given that Leslie did what she did with the same bayonet that Tex used"

Leslie says that Tex handed her a knife and said "do something" so I always had the impression that it was a knife other than the bayonet that Tex brought with him. They have also spoken of Tex having to go back to finish Mr. Labianca off - he'd begun making noise as Leslie was doing her thing and Katie had yelled "he's still alive!" The way I picture things as/after having read these descriptions is that Tex left the bedroom as Leslie was delivering her blows and started in again with Leno. They could have simply handed the bayonet back and forth though, I've never really thought about it before.

Jay said...

I’ve been on the fence about picking up a copy of In a Summer Swelter. The reviews are kind of all over the place. What sets it apart in your mind?

tobiasragg said...

"What sets it apart in your mind?"

It's not a "must read" but I am enjoying it so far. I'm about 2/3rds of the way through now, I tend to read several things at once so I am progressing slowly. It is a bit weird that the author (a lawyer himself) is based in Australia, but he definitely has a good grasp on California & U.S. law. He will often place the moves taken by different lawyers into their proper legal context so that the layman can understand the original intent, and very occasionally he will provide comparative examples on case law & legal practices, which can be illuminating.

The value for me is that the volume provides a view on the legal proceedings that is not Bugliosi's. He also demonstrates in some detail how sometimes shockingly inept some of the girls' individual defense actually was. This was especially true of Krenwinkel & her lawyer Fitzgerald, whose motions and objections often serve Manson's interests rather than his own client's. The top-down view on where and how the trial begins to tumble into crazyland is pretty interesting, too. The Kasabian testimony was rather devastating to the defense and it was at this point that the antics, threats and courtroom fights began occurring rather regularly.

I also find his thesis to be rather compelling, that the three original-trial girls did not receive a fair trial. I find myself generally agreeing with the notion, as he is making the case quite well so far, but I also remind myself that the girls received the trial they desired. As I said, I wouldn't call this absolutely necessary reading, but the book does stand alone in the Manson literary cannon and it is a quick & easy read.

Jay said...

Thank you for the very informative reply. I appreciate you taking the time to reply.

Mavric said...

While my opinion sometimes vacillates by degrees on any given day, these are my thoughts today:

Leslie Van Houten in her days as a free person despised and rejected her society to the extent that she separated herself from it's values and institutions.
I think it fair to conjecture that she had an active hatred for it. She not only want society to fall, she wanted it destroyed by violent methods to the point she was not only willing, but desiring, to murder innocent strangers in their homes, and be as gruesome as possible committing those murders.
With the political climate being what it is with the Racial violence, I think it would very easy for her to fall back into the same beliefs that permitted her to become the murderer she was.
She might see Helter Skelter in the streets. Her notoriety is dangerous itself, her spotless prison record is indicative that she is still very much an obedient follower, and subject to manipulation.
Society today is not safe for Leslie Van Houten, and Leslie Van Houten is not safe for society.
Let her live out the remainder of her days separated from the society she detests.

grimtraveller said...


Jay said:

I’ve been on the fence about picking up a copy of In a Summer Swelter. The reviews are kind of all over the place. What sets it apart in your mind?

I actually do think it is a must~read. There again, I think that about "Death to pigs," "The long prison journey of Leslie Van Houten," "Goodbye Helter Skelter" and "Trial by your peers." Someone once said of me that tiny minds were pleased by small things. Yeah, I guess.
What sets it apart for me {even though it was Tobias that was asked} is that in 2016 or 17, Simon Davis, the author, was on this blog. He didn't have a great time with some members but I respected his M.O which was, if you're going to write a book about this subject, where better to come to ask questions and test hypotheses than a site dedicated to the subject, that regularly drew contributions from some stellar minds from all over the world. Stellar minds that actually looked into the case from personal choice, not because they had to.
He caused a shit storm when he utterly downplayed the importance of HS and motive and was of the opinion that Manson wasn't convicted only because of it but through a plethora of other reasons.
He went on to write a hugely readable book, one that is a very easy read. It's crammed full of interesting perspectives and never gets boring. It's not some long legal treatise that will knock you out with boredom and sleep. I read it back in 2017 in 11 days. It's not sensationalist, the info is sound and he makes points that, even if you don't agree with them, will enhance your vision of the case. George Stimson hated it and he never even read it. A great contributor here, St Circumstance, was highly critical of it ~ but he never read it either. Col Scott wouldn't read it. Many didn't, but as far as I'm concerned, they all missed out. As I said at the time, read the book. If you don't like it, consider what you spent as the price of an education ! 🩺 πŸ’Š πŸ’‰

Mavric said:

Leslie Van Houten in her days as a free person despised and rejected her society to the extent that she separated herself from it's values and institutions

That was then but this is now.

With the political climate being what it is with the Racial violence, I think it would very easy for her to fall back into the same beliefs that permitted her to become the murderer she was

Despite 48 years of openly and publicly changing her ways ?
Just out of interest, what could she do to your satisfaction to show that she's as far from the Leslie of those days as you are ? Or would only her death or continued incarceration suffice ?

her spotless prison record is indicative that she is still very much an obedient follower, and subject to manipulation

So, in other words, you think it best that she showed herself not subject to manipulation by....staying manipulated by Charlie Manson ?

her spotless prison record is indicative that she is still very much an obedient follower, and subject to manipulation

So...you think it was better for her to stay angry at society and want to overthrow it, than to change and stop being a dangerous, murderous, pain in the patootie ?

Let her live out the remainder of her days separated from the society she detests

Detests....or detested 50+ years ago at the age of 17~24 ?

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said:

Leslie says that Tex handed her a knife and said "do something" so I always had the impression that it was a knife other than the bayonet that Tex brought with him

Leslie and Pat had famously entered the house without weapons and went to the LaBianca's kitchen to get knives to use. And it kind of showed their ignorant "any knife will do" outlook. Charlie saw to it the night before that the killers had pretty dangerous Buck knives, but they got thrown away. I think he wasn't too bothered because in jail, people improvise weapons {razor blades on a tooth brush !} and they are pretty deadly. So I guess the general idea was that there must be something in the LaBianca kitchen that would suffice. But Pat found that the knife she chose wasn't up to the task. Which is why the Tex bayonet saw more action than intended.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

Grim, what would your prep be right now if you were Pat getting ready for her May hearing?

David said...

Grim said: "I actually do think it is a must~read.'

Not sure I would go quite that far but I do highly recommend it as well. Grim is correct that Simon rubbed some people the wrong way, here, with his questions and his sense of humor (which many did not get). If I recall I wrote a brief review of the book in a comment way back when and many jumped on it. At the time George Stimson was a bit of a cherished contributor to this blog and if you read the book you will see what Simon thought of George Stimson's book.

I had quite a few discussions with Simon off line and personally found him to be very knowledgable on the subject and in possession of some insights into the crime and the trial that myself and others (here) had not considered.

We also had a lengthy debate on the parameters of the legal conspiracy back then, something only two lawyers could actually enjoy.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

I suppose I'd like to add that people not reading this or that book but still trash talking it is endemic in this study. Stimson's GHS is a prime example. Love of brother is an immediate joke because someone on the Internet said so. Grim's mentioned a few times that we're given a look at Charlie in there we don't see in most other places. That's valuable imo.

Btw, I was today year's old when I realized the Goodbye part of the title was from another Beatles song. No one should ever hire me as a private detective.

G. Greene-Whyte said...

I remain paused by Charlie's apparent refusal to believe conspiracy and aiding and abetting are actual real things.

shoegazer said...

G. G-W:

I remain paused by Charlie's apparent refusal to believe conspiracy and aiding and abetting are actual real things.

He did seem to believe this, didn't he?

In a sense you can almost find a way to comprehend this, although I found it difficult for a long time.

I think in his heart of hearts, he's a radical libertarian/anarchist. Ultimately he felt that it was every man for himself, and that all people were masters of their own destiny, no holds bared. If they chose to follow what someone else told them--even if it was an outright falsehood or unintentionally erroneous, this was strictly their responsibility. No responsibility would therefore accrue to the one making the request/suggestion/demand since these could always be refused.

I'm not sure if he'd extend this to actual direct physical coercion--e.g. is a person under torture responsible for committing a criminal act to alleviate it--but it's possible he might--perhaps even probable.

So far as morality, he seems go have been about as close to a real-life Keyser Soze as one could imagine.

David said...

Well stated. The legal question is did VB actually prove they all agreed to specifically commit murder and more importantly did Manson. Of course, night number two renders the point irrelevant, which not even George Stimson could not explain: get in that car you go to jail for life.

David said...

Could explain not could not explain

tobiasragg said...

"Stimson's GHS is a prime example. Love of brother is an immediate joke . . . "

On Simon: I was not around when this fellow was haunting these halls and I have not yet run into him in my re-reads of dozens+ past columns & comments (one must read the comments along with the post, otherwise one is missing the entire point). I will agree that his books is a very informative and rather breezy read. As I said earlier, I like the fact that he provides a high-level view into the trial proceedings that is not the view of Mr. Bugliosi, and that in itself makes this volume worth the read.

One of many points that Simon makes is the utter futility of the whole copy cat/Linda did it defense. Here Simon makes the same point(s) that Bugliosi does, but he does so in what was for me a more digestible fashion. In brief: if Linda Kasabian really did cook up this whole murder plot and if the goal was to free Bobby Beausoleil, who Linda barely knew - why on earth did they wait until the penalty phase to bring this up in court? They had Linda Kasabian on the stand for well over a week during the guilt phase of the trial and not ONCE did a defense attorney question her on this?

The truth is that the whole Copycat/Beausoleil thing was an 11th hour attempt to spare Manson the death penalty.

Which brings me to Stimson and the real reason I am posting this, for I seek advice here.

I like George even while I do not agree with him. Stimson seems to me to be well-reasoned and while I do not agree with his POV, I enjoy listening to his arguments and I respect that he holds this view on things.

I have not (yet) read Stimson's book for two reasons. And this is where I am seeking advice or guidance. The first reason is that life is short and there are only so many books one can read in a lifetime. I have been reading up on this thing since 1978 and I've done a much deeper dive since prior to the 50th, and this is but one of many, many different topics that interest me. If you could see my reading stacks, both virtual and print, you'd understand. I'm not exactly looking to add onto the already-impossible load, though I am always willing to do so if/when compelled.

The primary reason I've neglected to read Stimson is that he seems to be putting forth a rehash of the whole Copycat/Beausoleil thing, and this just seems laughable to me. "Helter Skelter wasn't the motive" - well okay, I am not as worried over motive as others out there are, but that's an interesting idea, perhaps. I do have to wonder though, as Simon does in his book, if Manson had such an objection over being saddled with the whole Helter Skelter thing, why on earth was it not brought up on appeal? This part of the original trial was prime, red meat for objection via appeal, and yet Manson offered not a whiff of objection to this back in the mid-late 70s as the appeal was happening. Bugliosi put no less than ten people on the stand to testify to Helter Skelter, and there are a good number of others who have spoken of this since. Hell, if Bugliosi is to be believed, Manson himself even confessed to HS in their informal rap during the Hinman/Shea trial.

So, finally, I ask - why should I read Stimson's book?

David said...

My response would be to see what Manson apologists say/think/believe.

tobiasragg said...

While we are on the subject . . .

George has released his newest episode of the Goodbye Helter Skelter podcast, and it is most definitely worth a watch. In fact, I'd say it is worth a post here, if anyone feels so inclined.

At this point, Stimson has covered all of the murderous events along with raising some quibbles (timing of the Shea murder, length of Manson's stay in the Labianca house, etc.), but here he finally begins to tackle motive. And as usual, he does so quite well.

Stimson features lengthy quotes from various publications and extended clips from misc parole hearings where many things we have discussed here recently are explored, such as Krenwinkel's trip to the guesthouse. He also, as usual, gives an ample and fair airing of viewpoints that do not align with his own. This is one of the things I admire about Stimson's work. While he continues to take great leaps and bounds over some established fact, he does seem to take pains to rehash the POVs expressed by people who do not agree with him. Admirable.

George does not draw conclusions here - we are told to expect this in a future podcast episode - but one can gain a sense of where he is headed.

As is usually the case, George also does not address some elephants in the room. For example, if HS was so unbelievable an element in these crimes, why on earth were the words swiped onto the LaBianca refrigerator? Krenwinkel claims no knowledge of a connection between this theory and the crimes she committed, and yet hers was the hand that scrawled those bloody words in the first place. Her parole hearing statements decades later are presented as proof that HS was not a "thing" and that is that, the matter isn't even raised in this podcast, much less explored.

But I get ahead of myself. You can view the episode here, if you have not already done so. As I said above, it is worth the half-hour of your time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uTAmsiMHzM

grimtraveller said...

GG-W said:

what would your prep be right now if you were Pat getting ready for her May hearing?

If I were Pat getting ready right now, I'd 'd be as nervous as it is possible for a human being to be. I'd be thinking that I'm, not so much wasting my time, but onto a loser. If Bobby got batted back by the board after having been granted parole, if Bruce got hit back by Gav the guv, making it 3 guv'nors that have ultimately batted back 7 parole recommendations in 11 years, if Leslie, who by almost general consent, would be the best choice for parole, gets batted back 5 times and the courts to whom she appeals don't even pay her no never mind, well, Pat must know that she's seen in pretty much the same light as Tex. She's the only other 7 time murderer {even if it is really just 'legally'} of the Family left and her last rejection in 2017 was possibly that fork in the road that may have told her that she's unlikely to ever walk civvy street again.
She must keep trying, because it's in the DNA of the perps to {even though there have been times when, for example, Tex waived a hearing because he didn't think he was suitable} do so.
But going for that intimate partner battering scene last time around has done her terrible damage, in my opinion. It gave the impression that she'd try just about anything to get parole and I think it set her back. The board weren't having any of it and I have to say, I agreed with them.
Not that there wasn't history, right back from '69, of Pat being scared Charlie would find her and kill her. That was documented by the Mobile psych, Dr Claude Brown. But that was post~Barker arrest, not pre~ murders life.
What it did was shine a searing light on Pat and if there's one person in this saga not built to take that, it's her. As a result, it's almost as if she's having to start over, and at her age, that does not bode well. There sort of comes a point, when you've messed things up so badly that it becomes almost impossible to see a way out and other than being paroled at 98, if she makes it to that age, I can't see, barring some incredible twist that I can't imagine, right now, how she'll get a parole date.

grimtraveller said...

David said:

if you read the book you will see what Simon thought of George Stimson's book

πŸ˜„ 😁 πŸ˜†
George was none too happy with Simon ! But it was less the book than the points contained within the book.

We also had a lengthy debate on the parameters of the legal conspiracy back then, something only two lawyers could actually enjoy

If you're referring to the one you had in one of the posts here, I found it really enjoyable. I think that not being cognizant of the law and certain matters pertaining to it, in this particular case, only leads to ignorance and that can sometimes be reflected in the points people make, conspiracies that get followed etc. Having lawyers in our midst, in the comments sections, has been one of the hugely beneficial aspects of all the TLB sites I've been on. Much of what I've learned about criminal American law has been learned from lawyers on the blogs.

The legal question is did VB actually prove they all agreed to specifically commit murder

In his book, George quotes 3 of the instructions that Judge Older gave the jury prior to their deliberations. He does it to try to demonstrate that basically, the prosecution was up Shit Creek without a paddle. But not long after reading his book, I read William Zamora's "Trial by your peers" and in it, Zamora prints out the entire 78 point document the jury was given. That was an important turning point for me because it showed that, like most of us I guess, George was kind of selective in what he chose to present. By reading those 78 points and understanding them, I could see how and why some of the stuff that went down during the proceedings did so. One of the things that was a real eye-opener for me was understanding that when it came to conspiracy, it didn't need meticulous planning. The conspiracy could have a 6 day, 6 hour, 6 minute or even 6 second timeline, followed by the 'overt act' that furthers the conspiracy. That automatically screwed Pat and Susan.

GG-W said:

Grim's mentioned a few times that we're given a look at Charlie in there we don't see in most other places

While it definitely applies to George's book, I think it really applies to Shreck's book. And on a lesser scale to "The Garbage People."

I was today year's old when I realized the Goodbye part of the title was from another Beatles song

As soon as I saw "Taming the beast", I realized the "the" came from "I am the walrus" ! 😹

grimtraveller said...

tobiasragg said:

one must read the comments along with the post, otherwise one is missing the entire point

The two go hand in hand, though naturally, I prefer the comments section.

The primary reason I've neglected to read Stimson is that he seems to be putting forth a rehash of the whole Copycat/Beausoleil thing, and this just seems laughable to me

As laughable as it may be {and I think it is demonstrably shit that even a bull would reject}, this is the only place I've encountered it where the copycat is presented intelligently, articulately and believably. Tex in one of his books gives it a fleeting mention and then never returns to it, and in his second book, doesn't even mention it and never does so in parole hearings. Susan's 2 books do more damage to the copycat as Susan had a tendency to do with anything she touched. Wherever it's mentioned by the Family {the trial, "Death to pigs" etc}, it comes across as befuddled drug foundational improvising. Aaron Stovitz's thinking on it, in that 1970 Rolling Stone article, is at that point just a hunch and is somewhat incomplete. What I would say is that George handles the infantile rubbish he has to work with, with class and actually manages to spin gold from straw.

if Bugliosi is to be believed, Manson himself even confessed to HS in their informal rap during the Hinman/Shea trial

More or less. But he did so, in a roundabout way, in Rolling Stone, too. He was always careful though, not to link it to himself and murder in a way that made The Man look correct.

I ask - why should I read Stimson's book?

For the same reason I'd recommend Squeaky's one ~ it's a good book. It's full of holes, but then, I would say that. I think it's important to see, grapple with and understand one of the major objections to and arguments against the prosecution case and conclusion. "The Myth of HS" fails woefully at this.
It also chronicles matters from the Lotsapoppa affair in a way that ties that episode to TLB in its chronology.
It may not actually apply to you because you are up to speed with George's podcasts. I'm much more a reader than a watcher/listener, so books tend to be a better route for me fuller understanding of something.
Another reason why I think it's an invaluable read is that it is full of bŏna fΔ«dΔ“ statements, explanations and quotes from Manson himself. Interestingly, while many people {including Squeaky} object to the phrasing of Manson in Nuel Emmons book {and even Charlie said something like "it was more Emmons' words than mine !"} and wonder if Manson ever talked that way, George's quotes show that actually, he was more than capable of being articulate. I've said this for a number of years, in my opinion, the book does far more damage to Manson than anything Bugliosi ever wrote or said. Often in little, seemingly unremarkable statements, but, which when put together, are devastating.

shoegazer said...

...it showed that, like most of us I guess, George was kind of selective in what he chose to present.

And this is what comes of choosing sides, letting oneself become personally involved.

This is not only endemic to humanity, it seems, but what I've found is that it's a major attribute of the TLB forums.

And in truth, this is difficult for me to relate to.

I see it as if we were a bunch of bored, decommissioned gods, like Zeus and Thor and what have you, and these remarkable events, and the characters that took part in them, are a sort of a minor diversion set before us by the benevolent gods that supplanted us.

To me it's more like "Col. Mustard in the conservatory, with the lead pipe." The main enjoyment is working thru the permutations.

Who really gives much of a shit about Col Mustard?

grimtraveller said...

shoegazer said:

And this is what comes of choosing sides, letting oneself become personally involved

While true, it's also a fundamental part of any event {world war 2 !} in which there are nuances and paradoxes and actually reflect a certain balance of facts that tells us that not everything is black and white or straight down the middle.

shoegazer said...

... not everything is black and white or straight down the middle.

I haven't found much that is. In fact, I can think of nothing right now that cannot be better characterized as existing on a continuum each direction of which is the opposite of the other.

This is why long ago I realized that you cannot characterize Hitler as evil--in fact, it's hard to find an example of evil. What you can find is that something is not as you like it, or profoundly against what you hold dear, but then you realize that there are others, perfectly normal in every sense, who don't share those sentiments. If things were black/white, that makes them on the side of evil.

So what resolves all this is the ability and will to enforce a given position. Barring that, it's simply differences of opinion.

Now, I don't myself condone most antisocial acts or attitudes--I'm really pretty much a conventional traditionalist--but unless and until I can enforce my conventional traditions on others, I need to accommodate them--and I do, fairly easily.

In areas that deeply offend me, the same holds true, except where thru social procedure I have joined with others of like mind and crystalized these offenses into laws, and have funded enforcement and judical bodies to act on our behalf.

We have empowered others to enforce our mutually held opinions. There is no higher moral authority than our consensus (which can change--so much for absolutes! πŸ˜‰), or if there is, I've not seen evidence of it yet.

As near as I can tell after considering things for years, this is how it works.

grimtraveller said...

shoegazer said:

This is why long ago I realized that you cannot characterize Hitler as evil--in fact, it's hard to find an example of evil

There's a difference in my mind between a person being 'evil' and people engaging in 'evil' actions.
It's a lot harder to characterize a person as 'evil' because what are you essentially talking about ? If they do good or nice or noble things for their Mum, or neighbour, or the local kids in their area or their city, town or race, yet act as genocidal maniacs towards everyone else, are they 'evil' ?
Is Vlad Putin evil or is he just engaging in evil actions ? The latter, I'd say. His kids may view him as the salt of the earth and we might too, if we were to view him behind closed doors.
The people of Ukraine would not, right at this moment.
But we're all capable of evil or to be more specific, evil acts. That stems, in my view, from the sinful nature of the human being. The thing with the 'sinful nature' is that it is shot through with an inclination towards acts, thoughts and words that might be considered evil, but it by no means means that everything a person does is evil. In fact, part of the complication is that both the 'good' and the 'bad' are fused together, coming out in different ways, at different times and via different circumstances. And while we often recognize and acknowledge what is bad in others, rarely do we genuinely do so for ourselves. We may pay a little lip service here and there.....

grimtraveller said...

it's almost as if she's having to start over, and at her age, that does not bode well. There sort of comes a point, when you've messed things up so badly that it becomes almost impossible to see a way out and other than being paroled at 98, if she makes it to that age, I can't see, barring some incredible twist that I can't imagine, right now, how she'll get a parole date

Which just goes to show how predictions are a minefield, strewn with mines ! That go off unexpectedly.

KA - BLAMMO !!!

I don't think there are many who genuinely saw Pat being granted parole by the board. I certainly didn't.
I imagine Gav the guv will rescind it, but after Pat getting a recommendation {especially after 2016 and 17}, well, I'm not ruling out anything.