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Lock him up!
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#245387 1-Feb-2019 12:20
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Leslie Van Houten, one of the Manson family women who committed a string of vicious murders in 1969, is again being put forward for parole. She has applied many times and been previously approved, but her release was blocked by the governor. Now there is a new governor and it is unknown what he will do.

 

I consider myself a political progressive. I believe in forgiveness and humane treatment, and I am opposed to the death penalty regardless of the crime. I also do not believe in punishment for its own sake. But I do not believe Van Houten should be released. She was 19 at the time and she has apparently been a model prisoner for many years, doing everything she can to improve herself and help others. All this is commendable but it can't wipe out the terrible decision she made, as an adult, at that time. Could she have walked away? I don't know. Would the others have attacked her if she had not participated? I don't know that either. But she apparently willingly participated in an extremely vicious and violent act, holding the victim down while others stabbed her, and then repeatedly stabbing her as well. How can something like that be forgiven?

 

I can imagine how appealing it must be after all those years in a grey prison to walk free at the end of your life, to be able to sit on a beach once more and smell the sea air, to wander in a Redwood forest and hear the birds before you die. These are probably things she longs for. Freedom can be intoxicating after a lifetime of incarceration. But I don't think she should have them. What she chose to do is just too terrible. 

 

I do think her old age should be made as comfortable as possible within the confines of the prison. I don't think she should be tortured. She should be able to enjoy whatever prison privileges she has earned as a model prisoner. But she shouldn't be set free. She hasn't earned that and she never will.

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  #2171295 1-Feb-2019 14:12
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She was only kept in prison for so long because she killed someone famous let's be honest.

If been some black poor person killed she would have been paroled years ago.

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  #2171297 1-Feb-2019 14:31
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I'm torn: What is the purpose of her sentence? Is it punitive, remedial, a discouragement to others or a mixture?

 

The only reason to keep her in there now - assuming she really is the model prisoner suggested - would be as a purely punitive measure. If it is then held that debts for a crime can be paid by incarceration and the  likelihood of recidivism is all but non-existent then maybe parole should be considered rather than her continue to be a pointless burden on the prison system.

 

I would imagine also that life outside after this long may also turn out to be a punishment of sorts after the first heady whiff of freedom wears off. Being separated from the realities of life for so long and then being exposed to the modern world at her age and having to fend for herself may prove less appealing that it might seem.

 

Hmm.

 

Dunno.





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  #2171298 1-Feb-2019 14:32
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I don't know many of the details, so correct me if I get anything wrong.

 

She was sentenced to "7 years to life" for two counts of murder. She has thus far served 50 years despite being a model prisoner.

 

She was 19 at the time of the murders, so is now aged 69. Very likely a completely different person to her 19 year old self.

 

On top of that, she was under the influence of cult leader Charles Manson at the time - so arguably brainwashed.

 

Not to take away from the gravity of the crime, but at this point it sounds exactly like "punishment for its own sake". Either that or her continued imprisonment is politically motivated due to the high profile and notoriety of the crime.




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  #2171317 1-Feb-2019 15:31
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This is interesting. I am usually on the other side of these kinds of discussions. I don't know all the details either and am basing my comments on media reports. I do remember the killings from when they happened and it was pretty gruesome. I don't doubt this person has changed, and wouldn't do it again, but she chose to do it once and what does that say? I think some acts should not be forgiven, not to punish forever, but to make a statement that some things simply cannot ever be wiped clean. 

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  #2171319 1-Feb-2019 15:36
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I've just finished reading "A Mother's Reckoning" by Sue Klebold. Dylan Klebold's mother. For those who've been out of touch for 20 years, he was one of the Columbine High shooters. A most thought-provoking and enlightening book. Highly recommended.

 

Her analysis (which may be biased, but seems reasonable to me) is that her son wanted to commit suicide, and that the only way he could see to do that was to join Eric Harris in a murder-suicide pact. So, who knows, maybe the Manson women were in the same depressed, but unable to act, situation. Maybe the only way for them to escape Manson was to kill someone, even if it meant being locked up for 7-life.

 

Secondly, there was a whole lot of information which the media apparently didn't care to publish. Their intent (my interpretation) was to sell as many papers as possible, by rarking up the population as much as possible, and without worrying too much about any facts that would suggest a moment of reflection. And I see strong parallels between the way the media treated Columbine and Manson.

 

So now I reserve my judgement on the Manson women, and certainly don't second-guess the parole board.

 

 


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  #2171325 1-Feb-2019 15:45
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7 years to life is strange. 7 years is 7 years, life might be whatever life is in the US, or it might be periodic detention, inside to protect others.

 

7 years to life, she has saved 50, if she is not a danger to others she has served her sentence in my view.  


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  #2171333 1-Feb-2019 15:54
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frankv:

I've just finished reading "A Mother's Reckoning" by Sue Klebold. Dylan Klebold's mother. For those who've been out of touch for 20 years, he was one of the Columbine High shooters. A most thought-provoking and enlightening book. Highly recommended.


Her analysis (which may be biased, but seems reasonable to me) is that her son wanted to commit suicide, and that the only way he could see to do that was to join Eric Harris in a murder-suicide pact. So, who knows, maybe the Manson women were in the same depressed, but unable to act, situation. Maybe the only way for them to escape Manson was to kill someone, even if it meant being locked up for 7-life.


Secondly, there was a whole lot of information which the media apparently didn't care to publish. Their intent (my interpretation) was to sell as many papers as possible, by rarking up the population as much as possible, and without worrying too much about any facts that would suggest a moment of reflection. And I see strong parallels between the way the media treated Columbine and Manson.


So now I reserve my judgement on the Manson women, and certainly don't second-guess the parole board.


 


Off Topic: I've seen the internal cctv footage from inside Columbine (including the [poor] audio) and the way the shooters laughed as they shot people and taunted others before shooting them is fairly chilling.

It was a very calm discussion the two had once they knew police were outside. After a short time they made their decision, they took their own lives. From what I could understand of what they were saying, it wasn't a murder/suicide pact; they decided it was easier to take their own lives rather than try and shoot it out and possibly live and have to have the consequences.

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