Monday, September 28, 2009
Rant #98: Never To Be Forgotten Or Forgiven
On Sept. 24, Susan Atkins, a follower of cult leader Charles Manson whose remorseless witness stand confession to killing pregnant actress Sharon Tate in 1969 shocked the world, has died of brain cancer, making Atkins the first of the convicted killers to die. She was 61.
At the time of her death, she had been in prison longer than any woman currently incarcerated in California, and her passing comes less than a month after a parole board turned down the terminally ill woman's last chance at freedom on Sept. 2.
These murders were among the most vicious assaults ever documented, and cast a pall on the “mellowness” of the late 1960s youth movement embodied by the Woodstock generation.
Tate, the 26-year-old actress who appeared in the movie "Valley of the Dolls" and was the wife of famed director Roman Polanski, was one of seven murdered in two Los Angeles homes during the Manson cult's bloody rampage in August 1969.
Atkins confession from the witness stand rankled the public. Among her quotes while on the stand was that she had no remorse for what she did because (and I paraphrase) “I did it with love.”
Atkins subsequently apologized for her acts numerous times over the years, saying that finding Christianity had given her a new perspective on the acts that she had committed.
Nonetheless, she never won parole, even while on her deathbed. In fact, Tate’s younger sister recently said that Atkins did not deserve parole because she had lost out not only on having her sister, but she had lost a nephew that would have been 40 years old this year due to Atkins senseless rampage.
If memory serves me correctly, Atkins was sent on her mission to not kill Tate, but to rub out music producer Terry Melcher, Doris Day’s son.
Melcher, a big-time producer at Columbia Records who did work with numerous acts including Paul Revere and the Raiders, had had conversations with Brian Wilson about possibly recording the music of a very young Charles Manson. When nothing came of the idea due to a violent confrontation that both Melcher and Wilson saw between Manson and another man, Manson became further outraged, and vowed to get Melcher.
Melcher had lived at the address Atkins was sent to by Manson, but had recently moved out with his then girlfriend, Candice Bergen. Polanski and Tate rented the house, and reportedly were not targeted; they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Anyway, Atkins passing will be a cause for joy of many people. Her callousness on the witness stand is permanently etched in many memories, and although she was not a troublesome prisoner, she and her cohorts belong behind bars as long as they live, as does Manson, who people forget never killed anyone—but his manifestations of being God as well as the ringleader of this band of drugged-out leeches cannot ever be forgiven anytime soon.
Posted by Larry at 6:31 AM