Charles Denton “Tex” Watson…The Man Behind The Monster Part Four – The Interviews, Part F
Yes, THE Crime.
It’s very interesting how Tex manages to sanitize the most gory, messy and fear-burgeoning set of murders 20th Century North America ever endured.
Tex claims in Chapter 5 (click the book pic to read the chapter) that he can now find it easier to talk on the Tate-Labianca murders because he has “learned to deal properly with the pain”, that he can now have compassion for the pain of others, inferring he had no previous ability.
People with a moral compass never have to decide if or when empathy builds for another human being, it is automatic, instinctual, passion-driven for the love of all mankind, for an empathetic person sees himself in all others.
I have observed the other killers, from time to time, consciously construct this mental process in their minds as well, a crafted behaviour trait they KNOW they should have in order to be thought of as “human” and rehabilitated, to feign and mimic remorse and pain for the suffering they have caused others…and internalizing this mimicked trait long enough, for as many years as they’ve had to, even they, in the end, believe they have mastered the “human touch”.
They have not.
It is simply a learned behaviour trait they know must be shown to society if society is to even consider unlocking their cell doors. To state such a behaviour is now present, where it simply was not before, and to excuse that absence solely on drug abuse washes NOT with me, and quite obviously, with the people in the know and authority to open those cell doors or likewise, to throw away the keys.
FYI: Layman’s Hint: If you hear a killer now claiming humanity where none was evident before, stamp “SOCIOPATH” on his forehead, wash your tree-hugger-inclined hands of him and walk away.
~~~Tex claims that he “didn’t have a lot of feelings” during, in between nor after the murders and felt “pressure to go along the next night”, that Manson had taught all the Family to think and act as One as the only path to success, individual thought the path to ruin.
Maybe, just maybe, with a truck-load of Speed in the week preceding the murders and months and months of LSD abuse, I can half-heartedly buy those kinds of non-emotions and automaton instincts during one frenzied, impulsive act of murder. But, when you have over 24 hours in between premeditated killing en masse, that’s when this excuse starts to wane for me.
Yes, I’ve seen for myself, just in the many mug-shots taken of the killers, Tex in particular, from before the killings, to arrest and conviction to incarceration, that it indeed took many months to bring these young adults down from their warped mental state. You could see their eyes begin to bug-out less, the aura of the stone-cold robotic face ebb as those months of sobriety increased, but to my mind, no amount of drug abuse could over-power one’s instinctual need to abort the second night after such a time delay between the Tate and Labianca kills, to then be able to go out and kill en masse once more, without even questioning such a decision. The ability to mindlessly repeat such an act would be impossible without blood-lust alive and breathing in Tex, a lethal desire possessed deep within his psyche most probably from birth.
The killers remind me of my two Rottweiler dogs…great dogs, loving, with an easy-going nature, UNTIL you put a bone with blood-tainted meat in front of them…then, the blood-lust took over and it was all you could do as their owner to pry that bone away from their jaws without getting bitten yourself.
Tex, Katie, for sure had this blood-lust…beyond just obeying their Master Charlie, they just plain ENJOYED the kill. Simple as that.
It’s debatable whether or not Sadie, Bobby, Clem or Bruce possessed such blood-lust but to my mind, one who DID, but just was not chosen for both nights was Leslie…she was the ONLY one we know of who had a definite desire to volunteer, knowing full well what it was she was volunteering for. Linda, in my opinion, was only into a power-trip, into doing and saying anything to get closer to being Charlie’s main squeeze and to become the de facto Head of the Girls in that respect.
People feel sorry for Leslie, think that she, next to Linda, is the most “innocent” of the bunch, when if you dissect her behaviour and look at her actions, before, during and after Manson, they make her, for me, one of the most dangerous.
Beware a killer wolf in pretty sheep’s clothing.
~~~When asked if he had any second thoughts on killing, Tex states he indeed did have, and I quote, “Yes, I did. From the moment Manson gave us the orders, I began to have second thoughts. How would I carry this out?”.
Notice how his second thoughts are not the more naturally inclined, “Holy crapola! I don’t wanna kill! Killing is wrong! I have nothing against these people! Are you kidding me?!” Nope. It’s merely, “Geez, this is a biggie project, how can I go about it in juuust the right way to achieve Charlie’s goal and gain favour with The Soul?”
Most people, when faced with that kind of order, ignore, run, don’t even give it a moment’s thought of ANY kind beyond it being humanly impossible to even comprehend much less commit.
Nope, not Tex. Tex is an achiever without a conscience. Great characteristics if you plan on being one of North America’s most feared mass murderer monsters, not so great if, say, you want to look at yourself in the mirror without going catatonic with disgust, know you can answer to your God come Judgement Day, and say, stay outta prison for the next umpteen decades until you croak yourself.
He mentions how he and the Girls, on heading up to Cielo “got lost for an hour”, yet, still, after all that delay, Tex NEVER utters one thought to cancel, to abort, to quit the plan from sheer fear alone, if not guilt. No, not one.
If I plan on doing something I shouldn’t and I have an hour beyond travel time to get to my proposed bad behaviour site, me thinks I have more than enough time to come to my senses and realize the folly of my plan and high-tail it outta there before I do harm to myself or others. The killers…not one thought to quit.
Oh, and in case you missed that wee juicy kernel, “From the moment Manson gave us the orders…As I drove to the crime scene, the girls and I were silent and almost frozen. Our thoughts were in turmoil…", Tex is stating unequivocally that the girls KNEW the plan well before arriving to Cielo. Yes, he could be lying, but on this, I highly doubt it. You can bet your bottom Buck knife that Tex and/or Manson informed them well in advance for if just to eliminate any possibility that one or more might outright panic and refuse to do the deed, leaving Tex holding the proverbial killing bag all by himself. Nope, they ALL knew in that Ford on the way up, they ALL had over a half hour’s drive and another hour of being lost to abort, to quit, to say, “No way, Jose!” …none of them did.
You want to excuse that solely on drug abuse and Charlie’s so-called talent at mind-bending, be my guest, but believe me, in real life, when a weapon is thrust into your hands and you are told that within the hour, you WILL massacre all you find, and you will continue to massacre, as many as it takes, down the street, until you glean your cohorts bail in the amount of 600 clams, high on drugs or not, if you have a conscience, you’re “outta there” as fast as bugs at an illegal poker game being busted by RAID!
~~~I can buy that the Speed made Tex’s thoughts race ahead of his actions and gave more physical power in his ability to attack and kill but it was not the horror of the massacre at 10050 that prevented the killing gang to continue, it was that they were plum tuckered out!
Poor, poor, tired killers!
The Speed by then, had run it’s course, and after the victims finally succumbed, the killers’ adrenaline croaked as well, and no amount of desire to continue down the street would have been enough to make executing that plan possible after that kind of physical and mental crash. After 10050, there was just no more energy left.
This is WHY, when people continue to ask me, what did the killers do after they returned to Spahn, I KNOW what they did, hands down, they collapsed onto mattresses, hither and yon, and slept like they were dead themselves. You mix the loss of the effects of the Speed with the loss of adrenaline, the lack of nutrition at Spahn and the late hour, and you have four killers pooped like they’ve never been pooped before…oh, and of course, the lack of remorse wasn’t a sleep-killer either, so assassins are sleeping like babes in Spahn woods!
~~~“In some ways, punishment escaped my mind since Helter Skelter was coming down and society, as we knew it, was coming to an end.”
Well, ain’t that grand!
Yeppers, we, The Manson Family killers, the feeling, empathetic conscience-over-flowing bunch that we are, don’t have to feel bad anymore about killing, cuz none of our fellow human beings are going to live long anyhoo…juuust peachy, that is, for a Get Out Of Being Moral Jail Free Card!
Hmm, correct me if I’m wrong but an empathetic mind does not work that way. On the Titanic, many of the Crew KNEW that ship was doomed, yet they didn’t go around offing the passengers in nifty ways, just for fun, and steal their jewels before The End was near, did they? Nope. Conversely, if Tex & Company knew HS was going to occur, me thinks that killing ahead was just an exercise in futility, even if $600 was needed. “Heck, HS is-a-comin’-down-fast, Man, lets rob a bank, buy lotsa crap, bail out the Girls and be done with it, high-tail it to the depths of the Panamint Range and wait out Armageddon like ol’ Charlie planned!”
A conscience, when one is had, is kept through the life of a person, whether that person’s world is collapsing around them or not. To hold to society’s morays, rules, just because you don’t want to get punished, and not because you don’t internally feel the guilt and remorse such wanton violence would create, is a classic hallmark of a sociopathic personality. The truly ironic thing, the part that amazes me, is that sociopaths NEVER see the dichotomy of what they are saying to what they have done, that it really IS okay to do as one wants, the only stop-gap is that bothersome aspect of being caught and punished. If those factors are eliminated then the sociopath has nothing left to stop him from his hedonistic impulses.
You put an electric fence between a predatory animal like a crocodile and a baby on the ground, the croc doesn’t try to eat the baby for fear of being punished in the form of pain when he tries to climb the electrified fence and finds himself well jolted. You take away that electronic fence, baby becomes lunch and croc sleeps like a baby, tummy all full, without any regretful feelings whatsoever.
Sociopaths - predatory animals in human form. That’s the gist of it.
~~~I just LOVE this statement,
“Only by the grace of God have I been able to overcome the guilt.”
Wow, I am speechless………well…almost.
Katie, by all accounts, has never been able to overcome her guilt, yet has never become a born-again Bible Thumper like Tex, Sadie and Bruce either, and so, I gather, Tex is saying that to be free of the wrong you have committed, all you have to do is invite the Lord into your life and POOF, He magically wipes your mental slate clean and gives ya a Do-Over! Must be nice, ‘cause, you know, MY God, I hear Him chortle at this one.
Sorry, Tex, you got some kind of “convenient” Omni-Presence going on in that two-dimensional mind of yours, but I can assure you, when you meet The Real Dude at the Pearly Gates, me thinks the only Pass He’ll be giving you is a one-way ticket, “downstairs”, to the guy with the horns and a pitch-fork in hand…you know, the one you were doing the business for at Tate?
~~~When asked what was going through Tex’s mind the four months after the murders but before he was arrested, he easily spouts,
“…I finally felt accepted into the family.”
Katie had that need, Leslie, Sadie and Linda too, Bruce, Clem and Bobby. ALL the killers, the penultimate achievement – acceptance at any cost. If this isn’t the reason why school kids should choose NOT to walk the halls at recess just because the “popular” kids are doing it, I don’t know what is.
You take a person with no conscience, high on drugs, low on sleep and proper food, possibly physically sick from one or more sexually transmitted diseases, who strives above all else to be one of the “In” crowd and who has easy access to lethal weapons, you have Tate-LaBianca as the result every time.
It is anyone’s guess, that if Charlie did indeed order Tex to shoot the Park Rangers out at Barker when they came looking for any of the Family, why Tex chose not to kill again. Yes, you can say that he was coming down off of the drugs at this point, merely because the drug availability was no more, but my guess is that Tex was the spoilt child he always was, and with no food, no “party favours” and just no more “fun”, the urge to do as Manson ordered was beginning to wane. The Manson Family Psychedelic Party Bus Tour From Hell seemed to be over so Tex did what Tex always did when things didn’t go his way – run to Mommy and Daddy for help, to escape from his dastardly deeds in the hopes that under his Mother’s freshly laundered linens he could hide his head like so much cowardly killing ostrich.
Tex claims he went into a deep depression and ended up lashing out at his parents for his failures as a man, “I blamed them for expectations of me that were too great, which I felt caused me to leave Texas in the first place.”
I can get the, “I did drugs and screwed around like the Hippie Generation reject that I was” and blame it all, in the end, on your parents “strict” home-life, if you’re so inclined to be a narcissistic dolt. What I can’t swallow is that for the umpteen MILLIONS of kids in the 60s that did that very thing - run away from home to “find themselves” in pot, parties and porta-potty rock festivals and Love-Ins - very few ended up ay 10050 with a bayonet in their hands and a desire to do the Devil’s Business, then run back to Mommy and Daddy and Blame It All On Rio, as it were.
~~~The only true words uttered by Tex in this Chapter so far seem to be thus,
“When I hear of crimes committed today and the offenders say they can’t remember it. I know they’re lying. No matter how many drugs they were on, or how many demons had hold of them, they can remember it.”
Yes, Tex, you are right.
Final Score: Tex Telling the Truth 1 – Tex Telling Lies 4, 236 but who’s counting?
~~~Tex claims it didn’t take long to feel remorseful for the killings after the drugs wore off, and experts claim approximately 90 days for the hard effects of LSD to start to dissipate. I know he’s stretching the meaning of the word remorse, but I do agree that the reality of one’s deeds comes home to roost in this amount of time, the gravity and finality of the situation, the threat of looming capture and punishment, yes, all becomes clear by then. Remorse, no. Regret for being caught and punished? Surely. A sociopath can feign remorse but can never actually feel it, live it, and by that I mean true guttural disgust at oneself for the pain and suffering he or she has caused. To have such remorse is counter-intuitive to committing a premeditated act of murder and then multiple premeditated acts only a person without empathy could execute.
~~~This next statement, well, for me, is a mind-bender…
“One thing became very clear: until I was able to deal with my own pain, I could never understand the pain of my many victims and their families.”
I translate that statement thusly,
Until Tex could find a mental loophole that could house his guilt and shame for being caught and punished, for being “outted" as the monster he always was on the inside, the All-American facade be damned, he daren't even attempt to deal with the victims’ surviving family members or the public at large until he got his society-acceptable excuses and reasoning into place.
Maybe I’m being too harsh on Tex but I saw the same game being played out with Sadie in those early years as well. She had to find a way to translate her actions into a palatable story that she felt would be accepted by all and sundry – her family and pre-Manson friends, her fellow prisoners, the Parole Board, and the outside world that had to include the surviving victim’s family members if she had any hope in hell of ever being freed.
For Tex, the shame and guilt centred around his Image, the one that was created in Texas of that clean-cut all-American boy that he knew he never was on the inside but that he yearned to promote, even after the murders, on the outside. He had to find a socially acceptable way to excuse his behaviour, and basically, all that was left to him was to “find God” and say I am cleansed of my evil past, POOF, allllll gonnnnne, so like me again already!
And sadly, so many have favoured Tex yet again, on the inside of those bars and out. His prison Pastors, various naive inmates, his wife of umpteen years (they are now divorced and the love-loss seemed to coincide with the end of Tex’s prison conjugal gig…awwwwww!), his parents, extended hometown family and friends, and finally but fantastically, the very daughter of his victim Rosemary LaBianca. If you talk the talk long enough, people who need to think you are not a monster, will, and whether right or wrong, you are “cleansed” for a time, on this earthly realm. That’s okay, let Tex be seen as a “Good Boy” in prison…as long as he stays there.
~~~I will agree with Tex that the drugs did not help the situation. You have a group of peers already devoid of normal human emotions, mentally dysfunctional, following an anti-social leader because they themselves had anti-social tendencies, you add to that mal-nutrition, STDs, peer–pressure, the availability of weapons and the final coup-de-gras of mind altering drugs, it’s a recipe for bayonet-meets-Buck-meets-skin-and-bone.
~~~No analysis needed but here’s a nice kernel to add to the mysterious cob of corn know as “The Return”…,
“I also believe Manson and another family member went to the [Tate] house afterward and disturbed the crime scene.”
I’m just sayin’…
~~~I totally agree with Tex that ALL human beings are capable of killing but not all are capable of murder.
Humans are animals and for protection, survival, the instinct to kill to survive can and has reared is bestial head in many an instance. But I draw the line at cold-blooded murder. That falls under the guise of the “Predator”, the human born with only predatory instincts, that to achieve one’s needs and wants, any act is okay, the end-goal, self-satisfaction at any cost. That is the life of a sociopath, not of the average human being.
~~~Tex, all the way through Chapter 5, harps on the use of “meth” – the cocaine mixed with methamphetamine “Speed” he and Sadie snorted for that week or so before the murders - as the possible impetus for the kills . I am no expert, but there is more to making a mass murderer than a week’s worth of snorting can create, and studies have shown that LSD alone has never harmed others but usually, and only in rare cases, harms the user, if his mind warp is so bad during a “hit” that he feels the need to jump off a building or put a gun to his head. LSD is not considered a mentally destructive drug, just a temporary mind-altering one. And because Manson forbid all but LSD and pot at Spahn, chances are that enough heavy long-term use of meth or the cocaine-meth “Speed” was just not a reality for Tex and the other killers, so you know by default other mental influences were at play here to create TLB.
~~~In his final statement, when he is asked by the interviewer, how he feels about his crimes today, Tex admits,
“I feel horrible! If I’d just punched someone, I could have apologized to them, or if I’d stolen something, I could have returned it. But I took a life, many of them – lives I can’t give back. My victims are in their graves. It’s final. I can’t share my feelings with them.”
You could read that and almost feel for the guy…right up until his choice of pronoun – ME - “my feelings” over THEY and their feelings. In the end, for a sociopath, it’s never about anyone else.