Prison No. B-33920

California St. Prison, Corcoran

There has been much to talk about in the news over the past couple of weeks: Felix Baumgartner’s jump from the edge of space, the Presidential debates, and Lance Armstrong’s worries.  With all of that in mind, and since this is news week, I turned the corner and decided to expound on one other thing that may have been overlooked.  Let me begin by asking – has there been any other person or group of people over the years that raises the hairs on the back of your neck than the one bearing Prison No. B33920.  Who is the person that makes me want to run for cover, and hide behind a protector like a fearful five year old?  Why, none other than the infamous Charles Manson.  I even had some uncertainty in writing this post, because I didn’t want to pay tribute to someone who needs no publicity.

In any event, did you know he has been back in the news?  Funny thing, I don’t remember having the same amount of dread in the beginning. I guess it truly has built up through the years.  Unfortunately, unlike the home at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles that succumbed to demolition, he and some of the others persevere.  I remember an interview a few years back of Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel. They both admitted that they had to live with the horror of what they had done from one day to the next, which you must confess is definitely punishment in itself, don’t you think?  Both Atkins and Krenwinkel had their death sentence commuted to life.  However, since Atkins passed away in 2009, Krenwinkel is the only female incarcerated in the California Prison System for as long as she has been.

What’s funny to me is, every so many years or so, the news people get wind of another person or two that regrettably came in contact with, and in turn, lost their life to this deranged leader and his sect disciples.  This is why he is in the spotlight again.  Now, would it be said of me that I’m judging, if I declared none of this surprised me? I mean the fact that bodies are still being found connected to these wrongdoers?  I want to question how such outlaws can become infamous, and for so long continually be thrust in the lime light?  But, I can’t, with a clear conscious ask that, while I continue to write this piece.  Because, that makes me also guilty of shining a light on their disturbing behavior.  But, what’s even more alarming is that forty-three (43) years have come and gone.  And, regardless,  like Lizzie Borden or Jack the Ripper – “The Family” continues to pique our curiosity.

For me it would have to again be the fear.  I recall a conversation with a friend a while ago who lived in Orange County, California during the time of “The Night Stalker.”  Richard Ramirez’ reign held a city captive longer than imaginable.  She stated, “Those were the most terrifying nights of my life. I lost many a night’s sleep over that.”  I think back and recall the Son of Sam’s rampage.  He also had a city gripped in fear.  But, I must say, it may have been my immaturity that kept the fear at bay during this time of my life.  A friend and myself would innocently take trips back and forth to Forest Hills High School for tennis lessons, oblivious to any potential or impending harm.  Although we were two females – never sitting anywhere in a parked car – maybe one evening Berkowitz would decide to go left of his M.O., and “do” two girls walking along the sidewalk.  Who knows.

What frightens you more than anything?  For me that would definitely fall under the category of reptiles, and more specifically, snakes.  I won’t even watch them on t.v.  But, it’s the same reaction when I hear, catch sight of or think of Manson.  For someone who continues to deny remorse or admission, let’s all take a collective sigh of relief that a recent parole hearing, yet again, denied his release.  Here is the link to the most recent goings on.

Image courtesy of Google Earth

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