That is what makes Tex such an enigmatic figure…
If you endeavour to read between the lines, you WILL uncover the real monster behind the man eventually BUT it is not an easy task, and patience above all else becomes your watch-word in this task.
My move interrupted my take on ol’ Tex but it’s not like his persona has been far away from my conscious mind. Maybe the time I’ve taken to let him romp between the folds of my unconsciousness was what was needed to peel back the layers of this “good ol’ boy” from Texas, to reveal to me the real horror behind the horror which was TLB.
One wonders just what would have happened IF Tex had not met up with Charlie on that fateful night at Dennis’ “log cabin” mansion…
Would Tex have continued to slide downhill mentally and just been jailed for his continual drug abuse?
Would he have escalated on his own, into larger and larger acts of criminal behaviour, in an effort to feed that growing drug dependence?
Would those initial criminal acts, at first maybe larceny/petty theft, morph into an accidental shooting of a victim while he did his B & E’s for drug money, or worse yet, a planned killing of his victims in a home invasion robbery for big bucks?
Are ya getting my drift here people?
Are ya seeing that Charlie may NOT have had to materialize into Tex’s life for him to end up exactly where he is right now?
Well, that brings me to Tex’s “religious slant” interview he did in 2003, “Manson’s Right-Hand Man Speaks Out!”.
I believe, after reading it countless times more than I ever wanted to, that Tex’s only purpose for that effort was to project a certain persona, that, after decades of repression, he had finally accepted as his own, one he felt sure Mr. & Mrs. America, or at least the Bible-thumping citizens thereof, would buy.
That with countless years of shrink/lawyer buzz-word knowledge, religious sermons and Bible passages memorized up the wazoo, that he’d have no problem painting a picture of a totally remorseful, totally rehabilitated man, far removed from that monster of old…
Blah, blah, blah…swampland…Florida…anyone got any $$$ out there they wanna throw MsBurb’s way???
Will these sociopathic killers EVER come to grips with themselves, or not?!
It’s been FORTY years and Susan is dead and STILL not one iota of SINCERE, conscious understanding/acceptance of their actions beyond what has been drilled into them by psychoanalysts, behavioural counsellors, and let’s not forget those all-present lawyers!
So this interview is basically a predictable reflection of the above, but let’s, shall we, examine it, line-by-line, to uncover The Monster this Man is so desperate to disown…
Chapter entitled “Manson”:
Q. Would you rather be called Tex or Charlie?
“…When people call me that [Tex], it’s like they’re talking to someone else. Not me!…so the nickname is only used as a testimony.”
Right off the bat, Tex is disowning the persona he spent two years of his life making, as easy as if I myself decided to just “omit” the negative part of my past as easy as clicking my fingers and POOF! it would be extracted just like that.
It’s just NOT that simple, Tex.
By purposely separating the good Charles from the evil Tex, he is saying to us, “See here, I’m not what you think I am. I am not the me of old. I am the new and improved Tex and judge me not from the old but from the new.”
We, each one of us, are a compilation of the best and the worst that we have ever been and to simply “cut out” or disown who and what you really are as a full composite of yourself is to blatantly deny all that you have done to deserve the best and worst in yourself. Right from Tex’s first response, you KNOW how this interview is going to be conducted, and if you’re brighter than ol’ MsBurb, you’ll do yourself a huge favour and stop reading this interview right then and there.
Q. How did you meet Manson?
“…There was a big chunk of hashish on the coffee table. As we smoked it and listened to Manson’s love song’s, I began to see why people looked up to Charlie. As he smiled at me, it seemed like he could see right through me. It was like love filled the air. I left that night on cloud nine. I’m sure that the hash had a great deal to do with it, but I couldn’t believe what had just happened and couldn’t wait to come back….I don’t know if I was more impressed with Charlie or Dennis.”
As with all the others who would eventually, blindly follow Manson to their doomed fates, Tex’s experience was no different.
It seems as if each of The Family members saw in Charlie the ACCEPTANCE they craved in an authority figure, of the lazy, irresponsible, anti-social life-style they had chosen for themselves. That Charlie was unconsciously saying to each of them, “Follow me because I will NOT judge you nor disagree with your social drop-out desires. I WILL encourage the path you have already chosen for yourself, and what’s more, I’ll allow you to celebrate that path instead of hiding it like you’ve had to do from your past family and friends. I will give you the permission you crave to continue to be the eff-up that you have chosen to be!”
All Charlie had to do was see how they so craved this acceptance and provide that acceptance unconditionally, as a Father figure would provide unconditional love. Charlie’s plan was NOT genius nor diabolical. It was just as easy as offering these failing kids a person with which acceptance would be felt no matter what, that he, Charles Manson, would rejoice in rather than yell or scold them for their anti-social behaviour. Why wouldn’t these dolts feel all warm and fuzzy inside when they have just been given the all-clear sign that their deviant behaviour was A-OK and encouraged to continue down the same destructive path. Unconditional Acceptance from a stranger over unconditional Love from their Family was what seemed “right” to these malformed individuals.
All Charlie would have had to do was offer one negative reaction to their already chosen life-style and all of these would-be killers would have gone down the road in search of yet another approving guru to take Charlie’s place. Charlie as their leader was that precarious and entirely up to THEM and NOT Manson.
Charlie was NOT Love.
Charlie was NOT God, nor Jesus, nor Soul.
He was just the first older guy in their lives who did NOT tell them what failures they KNEW they were from the onset.
Manson just told them what they wanted to hear. It was just that simple.
Q. What was Manson really like back then?
“…We were young, rebellious, and even angry inside. I blamed my parents for everything going wrong instead of taking responsibility for my own choices.”
Could this sentence not be verbatim from the lips of any one of the killers? And does it not underscore what I have just said about Charlie giving them approval for the life-style Tex and the rest had ALREADY chosen? ‘Nuf said.
Q. What drew you to Manson, and what kept you there?
“…the more we invested, the harder it was to leave…”
Turn this statement on its’ head and instead say, the more they liked having someone APPROVE of the their already chosen life-style, the more difficult it was to leave that Approver; because to leave Manson, they would then have to seek another Approver or return to the disapproving reception their past friends and family had already given them. All this “investment” the killers talk of, was really just their falling further down into their own deviant behaviour when no responsible authority figure was present to say, “Enough!”. Evidence to me that ANY authority figure who would have approved of their already burgeoning anti-social behaviour would have had as much clout with these kids as Charlie did.
“…I did try to leave the family once,…We [Charlie & Tex] went to Topanga Canyon Lane to see a friend when we heard the Beatles’ “White Album” for the fist time…”
Interesting to me how in this “version” of events, Tex OMITS Gary Hinman’s name from the recitation. My guess on this whitewash, was for Tex to further separate his actions from that of the murderous acts in which The Family was involved, just as Bobby Beausoleil has so often done in negating his connections with Manson and The Family. IF Tex was being completely transparent and owning up to all the actions of his group, he would have prefaced this story with the admission of Gary’s actual name and that this so-called “friend” was eventually slaughtered by the very same group of which Tex sought such approval.
For whatever reason, these killers keep thinking that to distance themselves from what society already knows of them will somehow ingratiate us to them and we will ultimately absolve them from their past behaviour. When in fact, all it does, is quite simply the opposite, making them seem all the more sociopathic and self-serving in nature and all the more deserving of their punishment in the end.
Why do so many people in this world have an affinity for Oprah Winfrey (for the record, beyond her philanthropy, MsBurb is NOT one of those people!) ? Because she is willing to own up to and publicly display ALL the warts in her Life to the public at large. These killers would go a long way towards the redemption they seek from us if they would just start applying a page from Oprah’s book!
Q. How long were you with Manson?
“I was only with Manson for nine months…I then went back to the family for the six months before the crime, in August.”
Selective choice of a couple words…
At the outset of this interview, Tex states it was “a year”, now it’s “nine months” and “six months before the crime”.
He not only waffles on the amount of time spent with The Family BUT also on the choice of noun he subscribes to his murderous acts.
Tex Watson pre-meditatively committed SEVEN cold-blooded murders and all he uses to describe that heinous behaviour is the word “crime” - singular, vacant of names and therefore emotions.
Tex’s purposeful shortening of the time he admits spending with Manson and The Family does everything BUT ingratiate him to me. If anything, the brevity of his exposure to Manson convinces me that he was innately deviant well before he had his first encounter with Dean and Charlie at Dennis’ house. IF you accept his nine month scenario, it’s quite incredible that a human being who was NOT supposed to be sociopathic before he met up with Manson, is magically transformed into a monstrous mass murderer in about the same time as Sharon Tate was pregnant.
All that says to me is Tex was a monster already in the making. I will NEVER believe that Manson had that much genius or psychobabble where-with-all to mould a wholly innocent human being into a diabolical monster, all by himself, in such a short amount of time.
What Tex tries to do with a) the shortening of The Family time-frame; and b) the white-washing of the multiple acts of murder into a singular non-descript noun, is to affix even more securely the moniker of Monster to his name, similar awareness I’m sure was arrived at by more than one of his Parole Board officers as well!
Q. How did Manson manipulate his followers?
“…There was much peer pressure among family members and at the same time, none of us had good identities. Manson simply gave us now ones. That’s when I became ‘Tex’…”
Are any of you TLB2ers out there hearing the phrase PASSIVE AGRESSIVE screaming in your ears as well, when you read Tex’s take on how it was all Manson, all The Family, all the time, and NOT ANY of what happened TO him under Tex’s own control?!!!
I became a monster because he MADE me become one gosh darn it!
Ahhh, come on, the guy was 23 years of age when he committed these murders and Tex is trying to make himself out to be the proverbial “babe-in-the-woods” kind of co-victim in all this? Excuse MsBurb while she leaves her keyboard for a sec to wretch in the bushes! Tex was NOT 13; he was NOT 12, he wasn’t even 17, or 18, or 19, or 20, or 21, or 22! He was a grown 23 year old adult, and as such he had total control over the direction of his Life. “Peer pressure” is what you experience as a pimply-faced, snotty-nosed kid while trying to fit in with the “popular” kids in 9th grade; peer pressure is but a distant memory once you’ve reached the mature age of 23!
Sure, there’ll be some tree-huggers out there that spew the psychological immaturity clause at MsBurb but Tex was anything if NOT fully mature, having had many months to do allot of growing up while trying to survive in the cut-throat city of L.A. If he was immature at all, it was of his OWN CHOOSING, not of any retarded development of his psyche. He had gone to college, held down jobs, paid bills and knew quite well by ‘68 what it took to be a responsible member of society but it was his CHOICE to renege on those responsibilities for an all-too easy life-style with Manson. Joining Manson and The Family was a conscious choice on the part of Tex, not a put-upon type of peer-pressure; NOT at 23!
Q. Should we be afraid of Manson?
“…My mind was very confused, not understanding the spirit of fear, or of the power of God’s love through Christ to free us from the fear of death.”
Just pick a Messiah, any Messiah will do, as long as I have a guy who will let me off the hook from Life’s responsibilities and then I’m good-to-go! Same song, second verse, and Sadie and Bruce why doncha sing along!!!
You know, I, MsBurb, WISH Life could be that easy, but sadly, I was born WITH a conscience and from parents who said work for what you get in Life and treat others as you would like to be treated, oh, and by the way, don’t ignore those ten tiny, weenie Commandments that were drilled into you at Sunday School, right Tex?!
Q. So do you think anyone exposed to Manson’s philosophy could fall under his spell and do the things the he demanded, even murder?
“No, not particularly. It was designed for my deception….”
First bit of honesty Tex has proffered yet, albeit couched in protective verbiage.
At least here Tex is admitting that he ALREADY had the makings of a sociopath BEFORE Manson ever entered his Life.
Would Tex have become a killer with those tendencies? Hard to tell.
But his drug use was ballooning out of control and since he had long given up legitimate full-time employment, it seems inevitable that he would have eventually been forced into a life of crime to support his habit, as we have his own admission of selling pot well before Manson to acquire an income. Your guess is as good as MsBurb’s whether or not that behaviour would have escalated to murder.
Q. Do you think there’s something innately wrong with someone who could commit such a horrible crime?
“…I think you are asking if some of us are born naturally as murderers and some not. I'd say no, we don't inherit it from our parents; it's acquired as we grow up, through the circumstances of our lives and the choices we make…”
Again, to his credit, a grain of truth from Tex. But I can’t be as confident as Tex that a murderous sociopath is not a combination of nature AND nurture. Not knowing enough details of Tex’s childhood makes this assessment close to impossible but regardless of the mixture, a sociopathic killer Tex became, and the fateful end of the victims’ lives unchanged no matter the psychological recipe.
Tex does admit that even in childhood he had sociopathic tendencies;
“…During my childhood, feelings for others and their cares and concerns were not taken into consideration, because of my self-centeredness…”
“...had no idea that I would reap what I was sowing…”
A lack of conscience will do that to a person. This is NOT, not knowing; this is NOT CARING to know, Tex.
Q. What do you think you would be doing today, if you had never met Manson?
“I can't say for certain, because of my instability at the time. I think God originally had a great future planned for me…”
Over-confidence to the point of blind arrogance.
NONE of the killers ever seemed to have a confidence problem, except for possibly Katie, Leslie and Clem. Manson, Sadie, Bobby and Bruce never seemed to be in doubt as to their future “greatness” and even after the murders, with the exception of Manson, some seemed to use God’s presence in their lives as proof of why they were given a “second chance” when their death sentences were commuted to Life. If blind arrogance in the face of their past acts is NOT proof of their innate sociopathic behaviour, what could be?
The Man Behind The Monster Will Continue…