Chapter 6…“The Victims”...
The extent of the permanent damage of this case doesn’t quite hit home until you go to “collect” pictures of the grave stones and line them all up, one by one.
Then for a split second, you, if you are a person of conscience, can almost feel the burning gunshots, the piercing bayonet and buck knife stabs and the utter breath-taking physical and mental torture these men and women felt moments before they lost consciousness. People, that were once very alive, thriving, knowing only happiness and complete hope for the future, are now long since dead in their graves, basically due to the vile nature of Charles “Tex” Watson.
Pity Tex was so darn gooood with a bayonet.
Pity he couldn’t have found God before he maimed, tortured and killed.
Pity he only has found “his version” of the BIG GUY.
Pity NOT for Tex when it’s his turn to die and meet his real Maker.
Just because Jesus washes away your sins doesn’t mean God won’t punish you for them in the “cleaning-up” process.
This interview chapter really gets my goat because Tex approaches what he did to the victims with such detachment and academic reserve, as if to say, I can intellectually assess the damage but it doesn’t have to affect me personally…no, not really. It’s enough to make me want to take up the bayonet on Tex.
“It takes the Spirit of God to produce empathy – a capacity for experiencing the feelings and thoughts of others.”
Quite the quote there, Tex. It’s just grand that you can recite from rote memory what a person of conscience is born with versus how you have always seen “others” in this world.
I can buy that upon his first reading Vincent Bugliosi’s “Helter Skelter” - on how Parent’s family suffered at the loss of the Steve - Tex did break down, but NOT from empathy for the victim or his family but because he was now comparing himself to Steve, that they were both, in his eyes, “victims”. He was hurting from his own loss of freedom and the shame his actions had brought to him and his family name, not from the fact that - four point-blank .22 calibre shots later - Steve Parent was blown to Kingdom Come. Tex was visualizing his own crying jags, his own need to curl up into the fetal position for the loss he felt to his own existence, an unbearable pain, I’m sure, once the drugs had worn off and the realization that he was a caged animal until his own death finally sunk in. The only awareness of the unbearable pain of his victims and their families has been strictly academic, for as Tex stated, only the Spirit of God makes for a humane human. That is something you are given at birth and cannot be bought like a
just because you now say you “get” the pain of others.
Tex admits that he saw no value in other people and therefore had no empathy for said (a lynchpin in the psyche of all sociopaths whether they end up killing or not), well before August 9th, 1969. I gather his parents, with a decent, loving, religious upbringing, tried to instil a sense of empathy into Charles but all to no avail. Being spoiled and given everything you ever wanted on a silver platter by his parents didn’t help matters much either but a sociopath Tex was, I’m sure, from birth, and the materialistic brat he later became just refined and heightened his desire to step over others on his way to his own happiness.
While in prison, Tex states that he became aware of the existence of the Spirit of God, and through that awareness his view of his victims changed. He doesn’t elaborate on this POV transformation basically, I feel, because how can one elaborate on something one doesn’t actually feel but only knows of in the academic sense? He now is aware of the existence of empathy but still can’t live it, feel it, like the rest of us. The rest of us, when seeing someone accidentally cut their finger, wince at the sight, for we can empathize, feel the pain and anguish of our fellow human. For Tex, he can see the cut, see the hurt and pain on the face of the sufferer but that pain never actually enters his being. The blood would flow, the wincing expression would be seen, Tex would state he felt sorry for that person (as he well knows how to mimic feeling empathy) but then just as quick could walk away and feel none of that pain himself, having never actually internalized what he espoused.
Tex claims that before and during the murders, because of a “false belief system, cult mentality, drugs and even the music”, he suffered from an “us and them” syndrome - the victims were the enemy and needed to be got rid of at any cost. Sure, many impressionable young people can fall pray to the above list offered by Tex but only the sociopathic can take a belief system and make it actionable in the deadly sense because people with a conscience cannot take the life of another, outside of self-defence, however “us vs. them” their beliefs become. They might fantasize of an act of revenge but to actually carry it out takes a person without a conscience and we know that not all the kids who stumbled into Manson’s world were capable of killing, evidenced by whom Manson chose for those two nights and by the many who escaped The Family after it was learned their raison d’etre was to destroy all who got in their way.
“I’ve come to understand that Christ came to free us of our guilt.” – a truly amazing statement. I’ll just bet you he gave it with that frontal lobotomy angelic “smile” of his he seems to always paste on his lips these days…
Tex further states that when asked if he “beats himself up” over the guilt of what he has done, he admits that he should, but does not, because that would rob HIM of a productive future. Holy crapola! Who the heck ever said he deserved a future? He was sentenced to Death and only because there was no Life Without The Possibility of Parole sentencing option in ‘72, his sentence had to be commuted to Life With. His arrogance assumes he has a right to have a future when legally and morally we all know he should have been dust in some non-descript grave decades ago. Go ahead Tex, beat yourself up, we’ll let ya…no, really.
The expanse of Ego in sociopaths knows no end. It’s truly amazing beyond just utterly emotionally unexplainable how nothing really affects a sociopath. I continue to cite a crocodile-like psyche as the origin for behaviour in such unaffected people - the true predators of our species. To be born, live and die, do, say and be ONLY for the benefit of themselves, suffering no angst, no stress, internalizing not the damage they cause others, all the destruction just white noise along the way to their own ends. I wonder where crocodiles go after death and if it’s the same place human sociopaths go?
The ONLY truth spewed by Tex in this chapter (although you just know, again, this is just an academic and not intrinsic admission) is, “In reality, my crime has tentacles that have spread throughout society and affected the lives of hundreds, or thousands, possibly millions of people. What impact has my crime had? It has had a devastating impact. It was an absolute tragedy. And to this day, it is still making an impact.” He, like the rest of the Manson Family killers, seems transfixed on the term “my crime” to describe what he has done. He will not say my murders or my killings, nicely packaging and sanitizing his actions into one neat little word - “crime”. That would be like Hitler saying “my cremations”. Again, unbelievable that a person who has wreaked so much havoc can lump the immeasurable devastation into one neat little word as if collecting eggs in a basket from the hen house, the carrier of said basket being a fox.
“Undeservedly, I have some good days in prison,…I know it doesn’t seem fair that I go on living and their family members don’t.” To me, this is literally wiping the noses of the surviving family members in the mud, almost flaunting the fact that, Hey, yeah, you can physically keep me in prison but my lack of guilt makes me free as a bird. MsBurb should not have the need for a blog, the surviving family members should not have the need to prepare for and attend endless parole hearings and we all should not suffer the smug look on the faces of these killers if the death sentence they were all given had been carried out.
“Cruel and unusual punishment” was the term used by the California State Supreme Court to describe the implementation of Capital Punishment, but lying in wait to attack, savagely killing and mentally torturing their victims was not? Who said a sentence for 1st Degree Murder should be a cake-walk? You kill with heinous premeditation and society gets to kill you with same. I can see the uselessness of Capital Punishment in allot of cases and am basically content that we in Canada do not have such a sentence, but then again, there are cases, even in Canada - Bernardo and Homolka, the “Ken and Barbie Killers” that come to mind - where we Canadians bristle at the thought of using our tax dollars to care for Bernardo’s sorry and sadistic butt for god knows how many decades before that monster dies of natural causes in prison, all because we do not have the option to put predators to death. Cruel and unusual punishment – you bet – the killers actions on their victims, NOT the sentence of Death they so richly deserve. To Tex’s credit he at least admits this, in theory, not sure if he’d say the same just seconds before they dropped the pill on him in San Quentin though, “I don’t know why the death penalty was abolished in 1972. It doesn’t seem too cruel or unusual for what I did.”
“The murders seem to have taken on a life of their own.” Again, “the” murders, not “his” murders and yes, of course, Tex, they have an endless life now, thanks mainly in part to the fact that you never kept your appointment with the “Green Room”. Ask the surviving family members if 2012 is any different from 1978 when they began having to prepare for and defend the existing sentences of all the Manson Family murderers? I dare say they see no difference. The execution of these killers would have put to a justifiable end the horror of these acts but instead we are all treated to a revolving door of fear, frustration and anger every time Tex, Sadie (when she was alive), Katie, Leslie, Bruce or Bobby come up for parole. The lines and stress so evident on the face of Debra Tate is proof enough that the mental torture by the Manson Family continues. In all of American juris prudence has there never been a greater miscarriage of Justice.
When asked how Tex personally handles the attacks on his family members because of his actions and the shaming of his family name, he admits with no hesitation, “I just don’t pay it any attention. I’m too busy doing with my life what God would have me do, in a positive direction. I feel if I were to stop, get side tracked and give the enemy place, I’d be out of God’s will.” Speechless, again, I am. All I can say is Holy Crapola! “The enemy”?! People who may be angry with you and your family because you sliced and julienned their Son or Daughter, Mother or Father, Aunt or Cousin, Brother or Sister are seen by you as the enemy?! Wow, just wow. And yes, I know, no Pulitzer Prize for MsBurb if she can’t come up with more prosaic utterances…but, cripes! He has the gall to say “the enemy”?!. Tex doesn’t want “these people” interfering with his serene existence at “Resort San Luis Obispo”, that would just put a bummer on the whole ocean front property and bougainvillea vine existence he has nicely carved out for himself. His own Father goes to his grave an utterly disgraced and ashamed man but old Tex just thinks and lives a “Talk to the Hand” existence. Must be nice to be a predatory animal where nothing ever harms your Pollyanna-More-Pious-Than-Thou point of view.
In talking about remorse and forgiveness from surviving family members, Tex states, “The more I’ve allowed myself to look through the eyes of my victims, the greater my remorse.” That maybe true but who is the remorse for exactly? I think Watson just transposes his view of his own demise into the eyes of his victims. He can only have remorse for what he has done to himself so by seeing the loss in others it drives home deeper still the loss he has suffered in his own life. What Tex could have been, where he could have gone, the successes and benefits of being Tex, he himself lost.
Of course, it doesn’t help that certain relatives of the victims have lost their own minds and in so doing have bolstered Tex’s warped view of himself and God, i.e. Suzan LaBerge, the daughter of Rosemary LaBianca, who was blinded by born-again, self-serving fundamentalist Christianity, finds “comfort” in not only forgiving Tex of his actions but becoming his main supporter for freedom rather than actually facing the bare and horrific facts of what happened to her Mother and Step-Father at the hands of Watson. I am no psychiatrist, but I honestly think that on the night Suzan, her brother, Frank and her boyfriend, Joe Dorgan, found the bodies, she entered into a state of shock so profound that she has been the mentally walking wounded ever since, awash in a kind of emotional catatonic state, where black is white and up is down. Oh Ye of the Born Again Crowd: Jesus was trying to make you SEE, not be blinded by and engulfed in a fantasy world. I’m beginning to think that the phrase “Born Again” means to wash yourself of all reason, a frontal lobotomy procedure to remove all awareness of reality. I must say, though, to Suzan’s credit, if she ever faced up to exactly what Tex did to her and her family, I fear she would start screaming and never stop, a rubber room her ultimate destination. So, if becoming a Tex “fan” allows her to cope, then sobeit, I guess.
Tex “prays” for more family reconciliations like that of he and Suzan and I pray for the exact opposite. NOT because I don’t think people should at least forgive for their own sakes and move on from the hurt, but because Tex deserves no awareness of any such forgiveness. It is not forgiveness for him but for the surviving souls he has hurt so very deeply, that they may heal and be at peace. The more people stray from reality and pal up with the Manson killers, the more resolute these killers will be in thinking they have got a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free-Card for their actions. Oh, to be a celestial fly on a Cloud Nine wall when the BIG GUY meets these rejects up at the Pearly Gates!
What gets me, over and over, time after time, with all murderers, is their pattern of “finding God” after they do harm to others, never before, never ever. IF they ever had a conscience, if they ever had a soul, the act of murder for any reason beyond self-defence would never even have entered their consciousness, which is proof to me that a conscience and a soul they’ve never had. Jesus only forgives those to truly warrant forgiveness. He was never on this earth to hand out Passes or Do-Overs for everything and anything you might have done and never had true remorse for in your life. The serenity and inner contentment Tex feels now is a mere smoke-screen to enable him to hold his head up high while he still breathes air on this planet. There will come a day when that smoke-screen will clear and the true consequence of his actions will take effect. He may have received a legal Pass to live since ‘72 but the moral Pass he shall never obtain despite his ever expounding to the opposite. Tex is old and getting older and the mortal clock is ticking. It’s amazing to me he did not hear the endless screams of Sadie when she met her true Maker, or maybe Tex did hear them and just drowned them out with his own Bible passage recitation rhetoric. I’d like to say I’ll feel sorry for Tex come his Judgement Day but then I’d be lying. And lying, like murder, is a Sin. “Revenge is Mine, sayth the Lord” and that may very well be true, but I’ll eagerly be on the sidelines anyways, with cheering pom-poms at the ready, watching the final deal go down on Tex.