It is hard to believe that five decades have come and gone. It was on August 9, 1969 that Sharon Tate and her guests were brutally killed. These were not the first murders done by Charles Manson’s “Family,” nor would they be the last. In many respects, we are still grappling with these crimes.
In a summer filled with turmoil in our nation, these horrific killings stood out. The hippie culture of love and peace which had brought protests to many college campuses had taken a dark turn. The media, for the first time in the TV era, had a true crime unfold that captivated the world. The excellent book, Helter Skelter, hooked myself and millions of others into this emerging genre. The television coverage of the Manson trial laid the foundation for OJ Simpson, ID Discovery, and Oxygen to follow.
Going over these crimes is pointless – we all know the terrible details. We saw what twisted insanity looks like in the guise of Manson and his girls. Together, they killed the hippie-era. Gone was the thin veneer that we would somehow emerge from the 1960’s with our innocence intact. The killings in Los Angeles made the entire nation fearful.
The surviving murderers are old women now. Every now and then one is up for parole and each time it is pushed back. I fully support this. I don’t care that these women have been model prisoners or have found God, or anything else. Nothing can bring the family members back their loved ones. Their trial put the survivors through a televised living hell and America was shown a true face of evil in Charles Manson and his Family. The brutality of their crimes, whether it was under the influence of a madman or drugs, has no excuse. I realize that comes across as harsh, but when you write true crime you tend to have seen the darker side of humanity and do not wish for evil to be free. Let them die in prison, never again experiencing the freedom their victims had torn from them.