After it was reported that Charles Manson was in a hospital clinging to life, comments started flowing.
I was surprised at the number of people who were talking about compassion for the man. He had a tough childhood, he never actually killed anyone, etc. One person suggested that there were lots of babies being killed in Vietnam at the time, and Manson only killed one, so … you know … what’s the big deal?
These comments were not made by the usual idiots who just stir up trouble, have difficulty stringing 2 words together or who are only capable of emoji’s and urban language that takes disjointed thoughts, throws it all together and somehow expects everyone to “get it.”. They were from seemingly intelligent people who absolutely believed what they were saying and the more comments that came, the more they were bolstered to express that same sentiment.
It is true, over the years, many horrors have been committed that lessen the impact of what was done by Manson and his followers. Blood and gore, torture, mindless slaughter . . . we now play games where we are the perpetrators of this and far worse. Mid-week TV shows supply that kind of storyline direct into our living rooms on a regular basis. So, we are desensitized to the whole event.
On many of those same shows, we are also treated to the criminals that are excused because of their difficult childhoods. It is easy to forget that in real life difficult childhood defences can contribute to compassion in regards to the sentence handed down, but they seldom excuse a horrible act. Many people grow up today in broken homes where abuse is rampant. In fact, childhood abuse has also escalated to the point where what happened to Manson would hardly raise an eyebrow of interest today. Prisoners, in order to gain parole, have to accept responsibility for their crimes and show remorse. I would imagine, if Manson had remorse, the media would be all over it. The last article I read about the man, he was still quite pleased with the whole event.
Someone suggested that he had done the best he could and I guess that would provide yet another argument in favour of excusing his actions.
What Manson actually did was to manipulate, mainly women, into exacting revenge on anyone who crossed him. It was a practice he had since grade school, according to biographer Jeff Guinn. He pimped women and was himself a career criminal, committing many lesser crimes, but leaving the messy work to be done by his followers. His control over these people appears to continue as some of them have yet to renounce him or their crimes. Manson bragged about his control over his followers and while some of today’s comments suggest that all he was guilty of, was mind control, and not murder, they have missed the point. When someone hires a “hit man,” there is usually a promise of, or an exchange of money that occurs. In this case, the payoff was not money but the favour of the man who controlled their lives. Manson did, in effect, “hire” his followers to commit the crime. You cannot escape the fact none of the followers would have likely ever committed murder were it not for their involvement with Manson. They did it to please him. People may have compassion for Manson in regards to his childhood trauma but he then became the perpetrator of trauma in the lives of his followers. Where is the compassion for them? Many of them also came from troubled homes.
Yes, he was an intelligent man. He could have used that intelligence for a much better outcome. The world is full of people who overcome their childhood and live productive lives. He had options. He was an adult who not only chose a destructive lifestyle, he pulled in broken people that he could manipulate, to carry out his destruction. That destruction was often aimed at people and they were not people who had wronged the world or even any of his followers, they were only people that Manson was unhappy with.
Is his case interesting? It shocked the world when it happened. It woke us up to the savagery that human beings are capable of. It was one of those stories that changed the way we looked at the world and altered how we lived our lives. He introduced fear that made all of us hold onto each other a little tighter and consider that the boogeyman had escaped our childhood closet and actually had a human face. We were never the same.
Is there compassion? I feel a tremendous sense of compassion for his victims, and I do include his followers who were swept along and lost their lives in the process. I feel sorry for their families, who loved their children and who have most likely never recovered from the impact Charles Manson had on their lives. Most of all I feel sorry for the innocent life, the unborn child who had nothing to do with any imagined wrong inflicted on Manson. I don’t have any compassion for a man that still treats it all as if it is a joke and he is proud of it all.
But it stops my heart to consider that intelligent people have reasoned away this man’s madness. They have diluted it and rationalized it and thrown its darkness in with the whites and convinced themselves grey is the new norm. This is the world we are being sold. There is no right, no wrong. Let it go. Each man to his own devices. We all have rights. We have compassion for a man who is evil beyond most of our imaginings, who has shown no remorse and really no rehabilitation despite his decades in prison, and we have none for the victims, but more especially the innocent unborn child. “He just killed one.” Other babies were being killed. It seems if enough people do something, it becomes acceptable. Worse, not a single person called the person on this rationalization. In a world where saying you voted for Trump could result in your being beaten, no-one said a thing about the “everyone else was doing it” defence for the murder of a baby. The world sinks lower and lower into a deepening madness where we are all anaesthetized. We too are now mindlessly following and will become ourselves, victims of madmen, who will seize upon our own tragedies and weaknesses to have us do their biddings. Charles Manson will seem like a Nursery Tale Character compared to these people, except none of them are going to spend a day in jail.