Friday, August 14, 2009

A Life Thrown Away

40 years ago America was deeply divided, torn asunder by forces the country didn’t even know it was dealing with. War raged in Viet Nam, American Blacks were still fighting for their Civil Rights won earlier in the 1960’s, struggling for an identity in what many of them perceived as a “White man’s world,” and a hippie sub-culture was growing, along with the drug culture and “free love” attitude associated with it.

The country, much like today, was tearing at the seams as everybody decided they had a better way. Revolution was in the air and many were acting out violently against traditional America.

In the midst of all that, pure evil reared its head in Los Angeles as the Manson Family went on a short but gruesome and brutal murder spree, throwing the city into near panic.

Not all followers of the cult took part in the murders and after the convictions and death sentences were handed down, many scattered to all corners, some still mesmerized by Charles Manson and others realizing how mislead they had been by this purely evil person.

How this purely evil persona could poison the minds of young people as he did, convincing such moldable youth that he was some sort of god and convince them to murder people so brutally, including a pregnant Sharon Tate, then use their own blood to write messages of hate inside their homes, is something that I cannot fathom.

I am the same age as many of those young people and looked upon the same world they did, held many of the same worries and maybe even wanted many of the same things. We all did.

They drifted to drugs, mayhem and a false messiah.

I joined the United States Army.

Those directly involved in the murderous spree were tried, convicted and sentenced to death, which was commuted to life imprisonment after the US Supreme Court ruled death penalties were unconstitutional in 1972.

Various other members of the Manson Family drifted away after the trials, some never heard from again, some still carrying on in other crimes less notable, but one relatively unknown at the time, was to become almost as notorious as those who carried out Manson’s order for murder.

That one, Lynette ‘Squeaky’ Fromme, an innocent looking waif of a girl made headlines for the group in 1975 when she approached President Gerald Ford with a 45 Automatic Pistol in her hand, pointed right at him. Only later was it learned she did not have a round chambered, although it had a 4 bullets in the magazine. Secret Service Agents did their jobs and took her down immediately, understandably assuming an assassination attempt.

Hidden behind that youthful appearance of innocence was the heart of a very disturbed young woman who would fall prey to Charles Manson, posing for nude photo’s that Manson used to entice some members of an Aryan Brotherhood to protect him in prison and who would camp outside the court with others during the trials.

She was a girl my age, just a few weeks younger, who grew up in a home with privileges I could only dream of in my own youth.

In High School, she drifted into drugs and booze, but graduated. She left home, but returned when her father paid her way into a Community College, which didn’t last. Moving out again, she and Manson ‘found’ each other and the family began and grew, ultimately leading to the murders.

I recall seeing of her in the news for the first time right after her arrest for the run-in with President Ford and thought even then, why would such an innocent looking young woman go down that road? Such sad eyes and a peculiar cuteness in her physical appearance than many guys I knew would have warmed to.

It all hid a malicious heart, as her biography today shows.

At 27 years of age, Lynette received a life sentence for her acts. She had a couple run-ins while in prison. She escaped once for two days in 1987, adding to her time before parole. She even turned down opportunities to go before the parole board and was denied parole the last time.

Today, August 14, 2009 she walked out of prison, a drawn 60 year-old woman still drawn to Manson as far as any one knows.

No husband. No children and of course, no grandchildren to greet her and take her home. No fond memories of children growing up, giving birth to their own children, building a life and a home together, just memories of a lifetime of prison walls and before that, life on a decrepit ranch in the California desert with the Manson family, both of which are also gone today.

Could she possibly feel it was worth it? Her involvement with a pure evil person like Charles Manson? Spending her early adulthood in crimes, taking advantage of people who mistook her look of innocence for a sweet person, only to cause them hurt?

A human life, thrown away and wasted.

What now for Lynette?

Only time will tell, but the facade of sweet innocence is forever gone, replaced by the look of a drawn old lady with nothing to show for a life and undeserving of sympathy.

She threw it away before it even had a chance to begin.


Angie Lee said...

I think it's great that "life" still means "LIFE."

What are they going to do if she goes out and does something else now? Blame society for putting her in the position she found herself in the first place?

LewWaters said...

No one twisted her arm back in the 60's, she chose her path.

I read where she complained about her Dad being "strict," as if that excuses her actions.

Sorry, many of us raised back then suffered far worse withabusive parents than she did and still neverfelt the need to pull th stuff she and her other mesmerized fools did with Manson.

And what does she have to show for any of it? Nothing! No Nirvana, no world peace, no fond memories.

Then again, for all the want of peace, why did they act so violent?

Canuckguy said...

There are a lot worse people than Squeaky,(who actually did not kill anyonebut perfectly capable of doing so) who are walking free on parole.

Up here in Canada, our worse serial killer, Clifford Olsen actually gets parole hearings. Read about him here, you will be disgusted.

If ever there was a man who deserved the death penalty, it's him and others of his ilk like Manson.

LewWaters said...

Yes, there are worse people out there and they should not be walking free.

Lynette, if you researched her bio, came from a decent background and had talents and privleges many of the rest of never did. She complains about a strict Dad, but I know of many treated much worse than she was who did see the need to follow in her footsteps.

What she does now, no one knows. But, what she could have had in her life was thrown away and I can't see that she gained anything.

Unknown said...

I don't think it is a matter of 'some people got it worse than her and didnt follow her footsteps', but one of how one reacts to such treatment psychologically.

True, she may have come from a privileged background but this was undermined by her father's "perceived inadequacies" which led him to restrict her creatively and academically, e.g by effectively forcing her to drop out of her singing troupe by refusing to let her mother drive her to rehearsals, being the apparantly dominating father he was and after her having enrolled in college in 1966 them having a blazing argument over "the definition of a word"and her seeing this as a "signal to leave".

Add to this the three year silent treatment she recieved from her father for (to her) no apparant reason and reports of him becoming physically abusive too can't have lead to a particularly happy teenage life. I agree that it wasn't the worst of all upbringings but, we being unique human beings and such, react differently to different circumstances..!

Now, don't get me wrong, I do not in any way condone or have want to glamorise what Manson and his "Family" did, but I feel her overbearing (not sure if this is the word I'm thinking of ha) father led her to search for something 'else', which she summarily found in Manson. Sure no one "twisted her arm" but the timing of events, the final straw with her father and her chance meeting with Manson on the beach, I feel, definitely had some influence over the coming events.

But hey, maybe I just can't see past her peculiar cuteness to her malicious heart!

Thrash said...

Well said Alice. Human beings are not linear, they're complicated. While I don't condone any of the actions of the "Mansin Family," it's easy to be judgemental when we haven't the capacity to consider walking in another person's shoes. It's all around tragic.