In the 1950’s and 1960’s Charles Manson and his gang of drugged out hippies preyed on society as few criminals ever have. After eventually being sentenced to death, then having that sentence commuted to life in prison (California repealed the death penalty) the Manson “family’s” reign of terror came to an end.
The name Charles Manson now strikes fear in people, but most of us don’t really know much about the man behind the myth. For example, the fact that he was 5′ 2″ tall and under 140 pounds lets you know right off the bat that he was not a physically intimidating human.
He is also not known to have actually committed murders. Instead, he used his charisma to control a bunch of drugged out people who were desperately seeking someone to follow.
In 1981 Tom Snyder interviewed Charles Manson. This interview provides a rare look into the mind of a crazy person who simply has no remorse or comprehension of morality.
Tom Snyder’s interview occurred at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville in 1981. The reason given for airing the interview was:
To not run the Charles Manson interview now would be to ignore his perversity and that of others which now and again disrupts our lives. To ignore it, to pass the interview by would mean accepting wickedness and insanity in place of dealing with it’s problems.
In this next session watch how long Tom Snyder takes trying to get Manson to answer a very simple question. Snyder keeps pressing Manson as if he understands the question but is dodging it. I don’t think that’s the problem. I think Manson’s drug damaged brain can’t remember, can’t concentrate, and genuinely doesn’t know the answer.
In the next segment Snyder asks, “Were you a heavy user of dope?” Manson’s reply:
I’ve smoked a little grass, I’ve taken some acid, mescaline, suicidin (?), peyote, mushroom… but actually take dope, no. I wouldn’t take anything that I feel would hurt me.
Nuel Emmons shared a cell with Manson and possibly knows him better than anyone. He is the author of Manson’s biography, Manson in his Own Words, and discusses whether or not Manson was acting or lying for the camera.
I’ve been an outlaw ever since I was born. I went to reform school when I was 10 and I learned to box and cry and all the other things you learn in reform school… I escaped there a bunch of times andI went to prison… and I learned everything that you do in prison
In 1987 Geraldo Rivera also did a one hour interview with Manson, but it’s quite a bit different. Geraldo’s macho interview style gets Manson much more animated, and interestingly he seems much more incoherent when he’s animated. You can find the series of 7 short clips here on YouTube.
Manson’s life, in my opinion, is a complete waste. I believe that he should have been forcibly removed from the face of the planet long ago. However, if there is anything to be learned from his example, here are two key takeaways:
- Children of criminals who have no discipline, will be bad.
- Drugs can irreversibly destroy a human brain.
I have a close friend whose husband got addicted to Methamphetamine. The guy now acts just like Manson. If you try to talk to him he can’t hold a conversation because his brain lacks the ability to focus. He is prone to mood swings, paranoia, and stupid rambling tirades during which he is completely convinced that what he is saying makes sense.
Attempting to reason with or even hold a cogent conversation with a whacked out druggie is like trying to communicate with a proto-human such as Cro-Magnon man. You just can’t do it.