Sunday, December 21, 2008

Will You Kill for Me?

It's a Sunday evening in snow bound South Bend. My wife & I are enjoying a quiet night in front of the fireplace. A little before 8:00 p.m., we start flipping through the cable channels to find something to watch. My wife's preference is to watch a movie. One of her favorite channels is Lifetime. I immediately recoil. "If you're going to watch that crap, I will retire to my upstairs cave."

So, we continue flipping around until we happen to notice an MSNBC documentary entitled, "Will You Kill for Me?" It's all about Charlie Manson and The Family.

I know a lot about this topic. When the best seller Helter Skelter came out, I read it from cover to cover (and reread it several years later). I've probably watched most of the documentaries made concerning Manson and I've read a lot more than the aforementioned book. I find the whole topic very disturbing, yet interesting. As a former social worker, I've always been interested in why people commit heinous acts.

However, as I watched this program, I grew a bit uncomfortable. The main thesis seemed to be focused on the cult aspects of the Manson family and the observation that the events that took place were from a bygone era. More importantly, the viewpoint behind the program seemed to say that killing for someone else is a societal anomaly.

People kill for others all the time! It's not an anomaly at all.

Right now the U.S. has over 100,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their underlying mission is to kill for our country -- all of us here stateside. Our opponents are bent on killing our soldiers to defend their own supporters and countrymen.

While Manson used drugs and sex to mold and manipulate his disciples, the governments and insurgent forces alike involved in the current "wars" use religion, nationalism and sentiments like patriotism to mold and manipulate soldiers, freedom fighters and terrorists to commit unthinkable atrocities. How is this so different than Manson?

And it's just not in "war" that we find this tragic circumstance. People are recruited everyday into companies that develop and peddle products that kill people and destroy the environment. Some do it solely for greed, but a lot of these people believe in what they're creating and selling. The capitalist ethos has molded and manipulated them into believing that they are each serving a higher purpose.

Remember DDT? It was supposed to revoltionize agriculture and, thereby, be beneficial to humankind. And what did it really do? It made the planet and people very sick. Yet, the people who manufactured this vile substance defended it as beneficial until there absolutely was no question that it was anything but.

DDT is but one solitary example. I'm certain each reader can think of 100 more.

If truth be known, what scares people so much about the Charlie Mansons of the world, is that these individuals are not outside of the mainstream as much as we might like to believe. Yes, their tools of manipulation tend to be beyond the norm, but the end results aren't altogether different.


  1. Yes, very well said; I couldn't agree with you more.

  2. You sir, are an idiot. Good thing that brave men and women give you the freedom to spout this asshattery. In many places in the world, it would earn you a long stay in a concrete box with bars at one end and a crapper at the other.

    I spent 30 year in the Service of the Republic. I guarantee you that the U.S. military has saved more lives than any "social worker."

  3. You are such a tool! DDT? You mean the substance that, if allowed to be used in Africa, would have SAVED MILLIONS OF AFRICANS FROM DYING OF MALARIA? That DDT? Oh, but I realize for people safe in the US, who have NO earthly idea what life in a third world country is like, saving the environment is soooo much more important than saving those millions of Africans!

  4. You seem very ignorant of the facts. You might want to update your knowledge of DDT. By banning its use we have signed the death warrants of millions of people worldwide who contract malaria which would otherwise be contained by DDT.

  5. Master Chief, nora and Patrick well covered my initial thoughts on your babel. The pure ignorance of that which you spew is a clue as to the sheltered world in which you live.
    I was a police officer in Los Angeles County during that era. It was a cute book that still missed the horror of Charles Manson, Tex Watson and the rest of them.
    The nets we send to protect the lives of people in Africa are nice, but DDT would save many thousands of lives.
    Please consider not being such a moron.

  6. I bet you have a Che shirt, don't you.
    Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay - and claims a halo for his dishonesty.

  7. Have you always been stupid, or is it an acquired art?

  8. Just let me say a big thanks to all the right wingers who happened by TRT today. You're all free to call me names, if you like, but I will not respond in kind. Happy holidays.

  9. You DID respond in kind; you just called us all Right Wingers! I am decidedly NOT a Right Winger; just someone who happens to be well read and informed.
    Merry Christmas!

  10. Segueing from Charlie Manson to DDT is a huge leap of illogic. Charlie killed people on purpose; the makers and sellers of DDT had no intention of killing anything but mosquitos in order to save lives. Apparently in your world, malaria mosquitos are no doubt as worthy of living as human beings, which makes me think you ought to have another joint to clear your mind there in front of your carbon belching fireplace, which is killing the earth as I write.

    And BTW, being that you're such a deep thinker, why don't you do a study and wander the Khyber pass region for a bit and see how long your infidel head stays on your body? Daniel Pearl went there just to talk to someone and lost his. C'mon Trey, do us all a favor.

  11. Why yes, I will kill for you. Thank you for asking, so many people take it for granted.

    Now, as far as DDT is concerned, Rachel Carson lied. But it was a popular lie so it has been given the seal of approval by the environmentalists. Remember that the falcon populations actually doubled their numbers at the height of DDT use.

    WMD's in Iraq wasn't a popular lie. I guess that it is more important to be popular than it is to be right.

  12. NAME CALLING? You can freely equate our military with Manson's family but your being called names? Get a clue!
    Peddle products that kill people? I bet you are a big fan of Kevorkian.
    Your mainstream and my mainstream are not on the same plantet, space cadet.
    In the spirit of the holidays, Merry Christmas and may God bless you and your family.

  13. You sir have no idea what you are talking about. Have you ever met Susan Atkins or any other of Manson's followers? I have and to compare them to the men and women who serve this country is in and of itself an outrage! Before you start making comparisons to our brave men and women do some research first.

  14. Everybody done venting and name calling now? Do y'all feel better? Think you accomplished anything by coming all unglued at the Rambling Taoist?

    What a waste of time.

  15. MRHappy: You missed the point. The comparison being made is NOT between the "Manson Family" and soldiers in the military, but between Charlie Manson and governments that wage war.

    FW: Couldn't have said it better myself.

  16. Considering that you equate The Charles Manson Family members to US soldiers it comes at no surprise that you'd write such incidentary drivel on a blog with open commenting and be surprised that you'd actually get comments.

    If you're hoping for debate you might want to consider writing something rational to be discussed.

    Perhaps you should stick to eating wallpaper.

  17. Peaceful Sky Happy River Hug: Who says I'm surprised? I didn't. Also, you missed the point too.

  18. If the US government is Charles Manson then the US troops are The Manson Family. I'm rather sharp or you're a crappy writer. It's YOUR job to make sure your audience gets your point, which the majority of us clearly did. Being taken aback by that doesn't automatically make one a right winger unless of course we are to conclude that accepting that analogy makes one a left winger.

    You can't even stand by your own post and are now trying to backpedal.

    I'm not going to have a conversation with a disingenuous schmuck.

    Congrats on today's traffic.

  19. Rambling Taoist,

    Exactly what points are you trying to make that you accuse various commentators of missing? It seems to me you are not answering the posts, but are rather using the tried and true liberal mantra of people not being enlightened enough to intellectualize that what you state is other words, you answer their comments with a haughty non-answer...'you missed the point too.'

    If you wish to post and take authorship of what you have written, then as the owner of your written words, you must support them, and offer concrete proof to your views, rather then offer up a weak and ineffectual retort.

    Your post throws together a conglomeration of untruthfulness, innuendo, and speculation which you attempt to state as logical conclusions to your hypothesis, but alas, it falls short of that, except to be made a mockery of, that of which, Dear Sir, you have succeeded wonderfully.

  20. Killing is not the answer.

    When will we learn to treat each other with respect.

    It's sad to see the hurtful tone with which some of these comments are composed.

    So so sad.

    Trey, when I read The Family, I thought it was in reference to "The Family" of Douglas Coe- the Christian group that sponsors the National Prayer Breakfast. Now there's another scary group of people!

    Francesca Rheannon did a great interview with author Jeff Sharlet on her program, Writer's Voice. Sharlet recently released a book chronicling this family:


Comments are unmoderated, so you can write whatever you want.