By Ronald L. Kirkish
On June 5, 2013, Manson Family Member Leslie Van Houten went before the parole board for the 20th time. She is now 63 years old, spending the majority of her life (since 1969) behind prison bars for the murder of Leno and Rosemary La Bianca. Now, She is begging the parole board to set her free, claiming she is no longer the same person who committed those horrible atrocities, and deserves a chance to prove herself and make amends. Mr. and Mrs. La Bianca were tortured by multiple stab wounds as they lay dying, suffering until their last breaths.
One has to wonder what Leslie Van Houten's life would have been like had she not succumbed to the lure of the drug culture like so many other kids of that day and whose lives were completely wasted. Before hooking up with the Manson Family she was a former honor student, high school cheerleader, and home coming princess. She was prepared for a wonderful, successful life but instead she chose to travel down the road of drug abuse leading to the tragedy of addiction, murder, and a wasted life in prison.
This horrible tragedy had occurred only a day after the same Manson Family members brutally tortured and killed the pregnant Actress Sharon Tate, Coffee Heiress Abigail Folger and her lover Vojciech Fryowski, Jay Sebring a hair dresser and former lover of Sharon Tate, and Steven Parent a friend of the Tate estate’s caretaker.
Going back to that horrible 1969 moment frozen in time, Leslie Van Houten and the other members of the Manson Drug Cult spent their time at the Spahn Ranch where Manson was plying his disciples with marijuana and other drugs in the effort to control their minds while preaching his crazy philosophy of “Helter Skelter” (after a Beatles song) in his insane hope that he could create a race war after which he would be proclaimed the leader of America. He relied heavily on marijuana and other illegal drugs to breakdown the inborn barriers and inhibitions of his followers to cheerfully kill innocent human beings on his behalf to fulfill his insane goal.
Years later (1976) while in prison, marijuana addiction still had a strong grip on Van Houten and she was caught with marijuana. Since then, she has gone through rehab, group therapy, and has helped lead drug and alcohol programs for other women, including a relapse prevention program. "She lives her life by the 12 steps because she knows how important that is", reported by her attorney.
This terrible episode happened over 44 years ago and today we have learned that once again, Ms. Van Houten has lost another appeal for freedom.
The Manson Family Murders (and other shocking and murderous events due to drug abuse; including marijuana) brutally shocked the consciousness of America and shortly after came the precipitous drop in marijuana abuse that the country had been experiencing. This was my generation, the generation of the 1960’s.
Today the memory of the Manson Family Drug Cult and their crimes has faded with time and new generations of young men and women have no memory of those long ago atrocities brought about by the 1960’s love affair with marijuana along with cocaine, heroin, and LSD.
However, with the current increase of marijuana abuse we are now seeing the resurrection of these atrocities replaced with names like John Patrick Bedell of the Pentagon shooting and the Arizona killer Jared Lee Loughner reminding us of the saying, "Déjà vu all over again.
To the elected leaders of our communities and country, "This is not the state of existence that the Citizens of America or the World deserve or want for themselves or their children."