As unnatural as it sounds, I read Helter Skelter when I was in 7th grade!
Yes, most kids in that grade are still reading something like the Narnia series. Not me. A teacher actually took the book away from me - and probably rightfully so. But I also got it back the very same day. Maybe she wasn't a very good teacher.
It really is a fascinating read. If you haven't - you should. Fiction was never this good. Most of it doesn't seem real. You almost have to suspend your disbelief to get through it. That might be easier for a 7th grader. But I have re-read it several times since.
Suffice to say - I wasn't your normal elementary school student. A year earlier I had read the entire Warren Commission Report. What any of this did to me developmentally is anyone's guess. All I think it did was make me grow up much quicker - which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It might help explain my cynicism. I said 'might'!!
In the last few days I've seen a number of news reports that say, Manson Family member and 'Sharon Tate killer', Susan Atkins, wants to be released from prison on a 'compassionate release' - as she has 6 or less months to live.
True, she was a Family member, but more than likely it was one of her counterparts who killed Sharon Tate. But undoubtedly, she helped kill others too.
Neither here or there, but I would say - why not let her out?
She has spent almost 40 years in prison - which is a fuck of a lot longer than most will ever spend and who have done as heinous of crimes - or worse. Oh, and she has terminal brain cancer and has at least one amputated leg. It's not quite like she's going on some massive killing spree (unless someone gives her a car that requires a clutch!).
Even by the California Penal system admission (hehehe - I said 'penal) - she has been a model prisoner for most of the entire time she has been incarcerated. I suppose, except for that burning a swastika into her forehead with a red hot bobby pin. But kids will be kids!
Atkins, was by no means a saint that went astray, but let's face it -acid and an allegedly charismatic man? - well, who would not kill for that? Literally.
In all seriousness - when does a prisoner's debt to society end? I think it is the more gruesome crimes with less press coverage that have an easier chance of getting out of the clink, whether they are model citizens or not. True the Manson girls got life, but not life without parole (technically, they got the death penalty, but reduced to life sentences after they abolished the gas chamber in 1972). Press coverage still comes and goes over this stuff for these. Every two years I see something in the news about their parole being denied. I never see that about the "Hillside Stranger".
So if not released, California would be responsible for her care - and the cost of it - whereas, if she were released, it would be her family's burden. Her biological one - not that crazy weirdo and Squeaky Fromme.
For all intense purposes, it is highly unlikely anyone would have been caught for the crime if it weren't for Atkins (or Sadie - which was her alias, which was indeed taken from this post title). Assuming that is what she was arrested for - instead of grand theft auto - she yakked to a few cellmates in detail about what she/they had done. Only for one of those cellmates talking, did people put 2+2 together. She should get something for being that stupid - no?
Not even six months out of jail before she kicks it?
Song by: the Beatles