"The End of the Beginning"...

I hate dust storms, don’t you?
Especially those awful, momentary dust devils (pictured left) which come out of nowhere, stir everything in their wake, and then vanish as quickly as they came...

Dust devils, if you’re in the midst of one...aren’t fun...and you just get sand in your teeth as thanks for the experience...

Yep, I hate dust devils, so...I waited for two weeks before ruminating about Barker, Barker Ranch to be more specific...’cause I hate having sand in my teeth.

The dusty hub-bub over the Ranch burning has seemed to die down, and all those awful photos of the dead and dying burned-out Ranch buildings, are now slowly fading from view.

I figured it was time to say my piece on a place that the Sands of Time surely are swallowing, if not by Mother Nature, then by Father Time.

There won’t be any replays of those hideous pics by MsBurb on TLB2; ‘cause the kind of negative karma that emanates from them is surely the very kind that Charlie and his gang of Slippies were always trying to eradicate from this world, wasn’t it?

So, instead, I offer you this LIFE Magazine pic – one of my favourites – which speaks volumes to me without actually saying a word. This is how I shall remember Barker, just like I have a fondness for the 60s but didn’t throw the entire decade out, like the baby with the bath water, just because of two horrible days in August...

This pic to you...and the lingering questions which still seem to be hanging in mid-air, even after the media dust devil has disappeared...

Are the questions of the Who, or the Why, or for that matter, the Why Now, that important anyways?

It just is what it is...isn't it?

When the news broke, I heard the Webland groans from the thousands of Mansonites, who had wanted to trek up to Barker, but who, for whatever reasons, put it off, until it was too late.

There were unseen Posters on Manson NGs all over the Net cussing and swearing and saying things like, "Say it ain’t so!", knowing full well, it was.

Yet, no one had answers for the questions, still hanging in the air after the smoke had cleared...and the din had subsided...
My cop's daughters mind looped straight back to the retort, "Why the Hell hadn't it happened a long time ago!"

Why hadn't it been burned to the ground all those decades ago, when hatred for The Family and their frightful deeds were so fresh in American minds?

Why didn't any respectable citizen of Los Angeles, say a neighbour or a close family friend of the victims, not hike up to Barker and do away with the black karma that I'm sure infested the place after Charlie "touched" it, despite his desire to achieve the opposite?

Why not during the trial?
Why not after the convictions?
Why not after the sentences of Death?
Why not after the commutation of those sentences to Life?
Why not on the anniversary of the murders?
Why not at Halloween?

Why not? Why not?

And if not, why didn't a wildfire, that California is so famous for, take the life of those seedy buildings a long time ago?

Or why not a cooking mishap, that fire investigators believe was the cause of this fire, happen before now?

And in the 40th year but not on the dates of those murders, we have an accidental fire popping up out of no where...

And the questions still remain...

Even if the fire-starter never intentionally started this blaze, you have to ask yourself the question, why an “accident” in the 40th year of Helter Skelter?

Was this blaze planned by a higher Being who knows how this horrific play will end? Are we all just players in this drama, and it’s the Third Act, and we still haven’t been given the script and are forced to view the outcome without any control?

4o years ago, I was just a wee girl but nothing of those murders, nor of the Family, nor of the trials, nor of those now famous locales ever escaped my attention, as I sat glued in front of my Aunt’s TV and absorbed all those newscasts on the “outcasts” which made my Uncle double-check the locks on the windows every night after August 9th.

No decent, hard-working American, with short hair and freshly pressed button-down shirts ever knew the existence of Barker Ranch before this criminal ride from Hell. And, afterwards, we all became connoisseurs of ranches, the counter-culture and the effects of drugs, societal issues that once were ignored, swept under the carpet, by Middle America.

The average followers of these murders never really knew the difference between Spahn and Barker and whether the qualities of both deserved a mention after the hideous stain left by this “Family”.

But miners and hikers and the best kind of people in Hippie movement knew better.

Barker, like Myers Ranch, had a long and proud history and deserved better from their Final Act.

And maybe, therein lies the answer to the question, “Why not before now?

Maybe there was a collective consciousness of people who kept a mental firewall around Barker, especially after Spahn went up in flames in 1970.
Or maybe the gods knew Barker shouldn’t be stained by the blood of these Slippies who once made Barker their home. That Barker was made up of better stuff than could be tarnished from Charlie’s “Family” alone.

At least, I think we all hoped that were true...

And the Who? and the Why? are just window dressing...

God, Mother Nature, Father Time, cooking oil, tinder-dry surrounds, none of it matters.

Maybe all that matters is that it finally happened, as it was supposed to happen, in a year when all of us know the victims from Heaven are watching and waiting...and so are we.

As Churchill once said...

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”


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