Charles Manson lived 48 years too long.
The poster child for the death penalty died Sunday of natural causes after being warehoused at the expense of California taxpayers for 22 years longer than one of the victims lived on earth whose death he orchestrated during a brutal Los Angeles killing spree in 1969. That victim — 26-year-old Sharon Tate — was 8½ months pregnant when she was butchered and her body strung from the rafters of her home.
Manson and his followers received the death penalty including three of his disciples — Susan Atkins, Patrica Krenwinkel, and Leslie Van Houten — who conducted the brutal slaughtering of seven plus an unborn child. They were all spared execution when the California Supreme Court in 1972 overturned the death penalty. Their sentences were commuted to life. And since there was no life without parole sentence at the time, all four of the murderers have come up for parole in recent years.
It has cost California taxpayers close to $3.5 million to keep Manson alive for nearly 50 years and for what?
Manson is no different than a rabid dog. We don’t keep rabid dogs alive at taxpayer’s expense until they die of natural causes. We put them down.
There are 747 people — if that’s what you can call them — on death row in California.
Keep in mind this is California. It takes a lot to get on death row. Among the condemned are a strong sprinkling of serial killers, those that killed once and served time and then got out and killed again, those who killed multiple people, those that tortured their victims before killing them, and even those who raped young boys and young girls before killing them.
The fact Manson and his followers have lived as long as they have is bad enough but we have to be subjected to their parole hearings where they argue they have redeemed themselves, are model prisoners, and have somehow earned the right to be free and walk again among the innocent and unsuspecting. They have the audacity to ask for parole saying they were naive and impressionable young women.
Anyone who can kill in cold blood is far from innocent but to kill a pregnant woman with a nearly full term baby is about as evil as you can get.
We hear nothing from their victims, of course, because they played judge, jury, and executioner. The victims got no appeals. They got no parole hearings. All they got was a coffin and a cold grave six feet under.
If you add up the cost of keeping Manson and his three murderous disciples plus Charles Watson who was also convicted for the grisly murders alive for the better part of 50 years it has cost taxpayers in excess of $10 million.
Think of the number of hungry kids that could have been fed for that kind of money.
We like to think Manson was crazy but maybe we’re the ones who are crazy.
We actually believe that the lives of scum like Manson and his band of willing murderers constitute sacred life and should be saved while we lack the resources to help innocent kids who are being abused and neglected. We like to think sparing the lives of those like Manson somehow makes us morally superior.
But how can that be when we concentrate resources on first-degree murderers to keep them alive by shortchanging funding to help innocent kids?
Somehow because we don’t put them to death we believe it makes us better. In reality, it makes us idiots.
If a dog viciously mauls and bites a child or even an adult to death in an unprovoked attack we put the dog down. When a human does the same thing we try to rationalize why the human killed for no justified reason which is the essence of first-degree murder.
When a dog kills in an unprovoked attack we don’t hire an animal psychologist at the state’s expense. We don’t wonder if it had a hard life as a puppy or whether it was an outcast of the pack. We don’t try to find excuses to excuse the dog for taking a life. If it is clear that is what the dog did, we kill it.
Premeditated acts of violent death are not accidents. They require the person doing the killing or orchestrating it to plan out details. It is cold blooded. It is inhuman.
Arguments in favor of life without parole replacing the death penalty overlook the expense and toll on society that comes with warehousing the human equivalent of rabid dogs.
Every million we spend on warehousing first-degree murderers is a million we can’t spend on schools, police protection, cleaning the air, or housing a homeless kid.
Assuming most killers die in prison and live about as long as Manson after they committed their crimes against mankind and nature, that means we are spending close to $3.5 million on warehousing alone per murderer over the course of their remaining lifetime.
What we need to do is set aside two years max for appeals, fund the defense as well as prosecution and the court with $2.5 million and let them go at it exhausting every possible appeal. Then at the end of two years if there is no justification to overturn the death sentence, then the execution date should be set within seven days.