Manson. Charlie Manson. Back yet again in the news as two of his Tate-LaBianca murdering girls ask to be released from prison after 40 yrs, and a third, Squeaky Fromme, may very well be released after 37 yrs for her attempt to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975. My opinion? Never. I wouldn’t let any of them out. The first set of murders was so gruesome, so horrific, that it’s still in the news. And I don’t think any assassination attempt on a US President should ever get a pass out of jail. But that’s not really what prompted this.
I’m fascinated by the way everyone’s getting on the bandwagon. I can’t believe the number of blogs (yeah, I know, here’s another one) retelling the story. But the one which got me is fantastic writer Paul Krassner’s ‘My Acid Trip with Squeaky Fromme.”
Of COURSE I read it, what a provocative title! We old hippies are pavlovian – we see ‘acid trip’ and we have no choice, we have to go read it! Well, true to the advertised title, it was indeed a description of an acid trip. No conclusions, or other insights gleaned. . . simply a blow by blowjob retelling of an ordinary trip with some extraordinarly insane people.
But Paul, darlin, we were ALL insane then. And there’s nothing much here that constituted a wild event in any way. You got high, man, you smoked pot, you stared into each other’s eyes and found ‘truth’… you ran around naked and listened to music and talked to a movie guy. Yeah… and that’s special how, Paul? (Actually– you talked coherently, and that part IS special!)
I would so loved to have also read Paul’s interpretation of the event. His insights into the Manson girls – far more interesting than that they invited him to bathe with them but he was afraid they’d stab him. Probably smart.
WHAT did you LEARN? How do you FEEL now, all these years later? Am I expecting too much — NOT asking that sarcastically, because any encounter with murderers is, in itself, one hell of an experience. Really well out of the range of normalcy… extreme in and of itself. Maybe it’s not possible to put a perspective on it, maybe the only perspective is a retelling of the event.
I too, met killers. Not very many, thank you very much, but more than one or two. When you’re living more or less on the street, floating from crash pad to crash pad, as we all did in the Haight and other towns and cities across America in the late 60s and early 70s, everyone not ‘straight’ was ‘cool’. Every type of outsider was ‘one of us, man’. At least until they did something truly intolerable, like, rape or kill…that is, in the groups I lived with. There were others, like some of the mega-biker gangs, who celebrated those who raped and killed. The Haight died because of the clash between the two.
Often we were way too stoned to do anything about who we were with and so we saw a lot of very anti-peace and love things go down. It was a time like no other. It was at once the most beautiful time and the worst time of our young lives. There WAS so much good… we truly CHANGED society. But we and so many others truly paid a price.
The Manson clan is a perfect example of the very worst of the bad. Paul, what DO you think, now, about it all?