Susan Atkins represents what can happen when people who are not sure where they are going in life, perhaps somewhat lost and need to and is term is used over and over, but to find themselves. Perhaps take a trip to Europe after high school or something. The way Susan Atkins life turned out, probably doesn’t happen that way if she never meets Charlie Manson. Not to excuse Susan’s role in the vicious crimes of Sharon Tate and others, because she’s clearly responsible for her actions in these crimes. But she represents the damage that Manson not only did by ordering all of these murders, but the damage he did to his followers.
Charlie Manson, picked up all of these young adults were somewhat lost and didn’t feel needed and felt unwanted and assembling them into his cult, what I call the Manson Crime Family. That Charlie Manson assembled in the late 1960s, starting in the Bay Area and moving down to the Los Angeles Area. Susan, was one of the Manson Family members that managed to make a life for herself behind bars. And hopefully her criminal career would’ve been over had she ever been released from prison. She was sentenced to life and died in prison in 2009.
And to some extent Susan’s life in prison sparked a debate in whether or not she, Pat Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten, should ever be paroled or not. Me personally I don’t believe that convicted murderers, especially serial murderers, should ever be paroled. That they should be officially held responsible for the crimes they committed. Which is what you get with life sentences, because their victims will never recover from their crimes and it’s that simple.
But these three women do represent the potential of prison rehabilitation not just for lifers, but for inmates who will eventually be released from prison. The lives of some of the Manson Family members, except for their leader and perhaps Tex Watson, is a damn shame. Because some of these people are very intelligent, articulate and had a lot of potential that they could see come to life. Had they not ended up part of the Manson Family and ended up going to college, getting educated and living a productive life instead.
Mike Atkinson: Stan Atkinson Interviews Susan Atkins