Thursday, June 14, 2018

From the Mail Room...

Travis writes:

I’ve always wondered why Watson thought he had to kill Steve Parent? He could have simply laid low in the bushes with the 3 girls and let him pass. It’s doubtful Parent would have noticed them. The only reason I can surmise is that Parent would have noticed their car, parked down the hill, on his exit. He could have provided a description of the car after the murders, and if he were suspicious enough to note the license plate, that would have been a real liability.

But then why use the revolver instead of the knife? They were going to creepy-crawl the house, relying on a stealth approach — and to initiate the whole thing with 4 gunshots in a canyon that would echoed the sound? Watson had to know that the shots might have alerted the occupants, and possibly other inhabitants of the canyon. Someone might have called the police. (I’ve done this before when I heard distinctive gunshots in my neighborhood). Garretson heard the shots and thought they were Parent’s car backfiring. If Garretson heard them from the Guest House, further away, it’s probable that the occupants heard them, too. Only Frykowski was asleep.

I understand that the team had rolled the car back down the hill silently after approaching the gate. But I don’t know how far down the car was, or how exposed it was. Seems Watson was not thinking too clearly here. He could have ordered Parent out of the car at gunpoint, led him to the bushes, and he and the 3 girls could have dispatched him with the knives without making a racket.

But then Watson was not thinking too clearly when he told the victims they were “all going to die,” setting off panic.



LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Hello Travis,

I won't purport to know the exact answers to your questions (because those answers are impossible to know), but for the sake of discussion, I'll take a stab at answering you with an "educated guess".

Factor #1:
It's pretty widely believed (at this point), that Watson was probably high on speed.

Factor #2:
I think Watson was probably startled when Steve appeared.

Under pressure to eliminate a perceived witness "before he got away"... Watson simply did the first thing, that came to his intoxicated mind.

I agree, in retrospect, that Watson had other options, that probably would have made more sense.

But in the heat of the moment, and under the influence of drugs, he did what he did.

Watson wanted to get inside the house (with his cohorts) to accomplish their "main objective", and Parent was simply an unexpected potential witness who startled him... and the rest unfortunately, is history.

It's hard to make sense of behavior, that at it's core, is nonsensical to begin with.

I mean... murdering ANYONE in general (outside of formal war or self-defense) is nonsensical behavior to begin with, so trying to make sense of Watson's thinking or behavior is an uphill battle at best.

One could easily make a convincing argument, that ALL of the victims at Cielo Drive could have been spared that night, if the criminals were of sound mind, and made better (more humane) choices.

The woman who interviewed Harold True (I forget her name), was trying to make sense of the criminals' and their behavior as well, and as Harold True said it best: "You can't ascribe reason to crazy people".

Having said all that, I enjoyed your questions, and you definitely offered some great food for thought.

Thank You for your participation and contribution.

I look forward to other peoples' perspectives on the matter.

katie8753 said...

Hi Travis! Good question. As to why he killed Parent, you can go back to Tex's lame excuse from the get-go, that Manson told him to go to the house where Melcher used to live and kill everyone there. Which would include a guy driving off the property when they got there.

As to why he shot him instead of stabbing him, I'm guessing what Lynyrd said. That he was so drugged up he didn't think it through.

How people didn't hear or recognize 4 gunshots in rapid succession is a mystery to me, but they say sounds echo in the canyon. Surely Sharon, Jay & Gibby heard those shots. Why they didn't get up and investigate will always be a mystery. I don't know much about that gun, but it's got a long barrel and I would imagine that it's very loud.

That whole escapade is a mystery. Why did Charlie send Tex with 3 inept girls to do this job? I mean the girls were useless. 1 lost her knife, 1 complained her hand hurt and 1 didn't do anything at all. Tex probably could have done all that alone.

It probably has to do with Charlie wanting the girls to get involved. But beyond that, it's anyone's guess.

starship said...

Hi, Travis,

And if you believe in wider conspiracy theories: Perhaps Tex thought he was the caretaker who, if leaving, would certainly be coming back, so to avoid discovery before they were all done and gone?

This assumes Tex had an idea of who would be there on the property...

grimtraveller said...

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

I'll take a stab

Careful !

I'd add that it was a combination of panic brought on by surprise and steeling himself to cross that ultimate line. The thing with the houses on the road is that they weren't that close together. In her interview with her lawyers just before the Grand Jury, Atkins said of Frykowski's screams "I’m surprised nobody heard anything." I also suspect he shot Steve Parent because he could see that Parent was really scared and he had to do something. And Tex says he did go for Steven with a knife.
Even before that, his mode in telling Steven to stop, was aggressive.
In that same interview already quoted from, Atkins says of the aftermath of the Parent shooting, "It surprised me that nobody heard the gunshots but they weren’t that loud. It was a very quiet gun."

katie8753 said...

A quiet gun? HA HA. Susan was a looney tune. The only quiet gun I know of is one with a silencer, which Tex didn't have.

Susan was supposed to be so tough at Cielo Drive, but actually all she did was struggle with Frykowski, maybe stab his legs (she's not sure) and lose her knife.

Starship, that's a good point. I've heard that said before, that Tex thought it was the caretaker in the car. Some people think that's why he didn't make sure the guest house was empty because he thought he'd already taken care of it.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Grim said:
"In that same interview already quoted from, Atkins says of the aftermath of the Parent shooting, "It surprised me that nobody heard the gunshots but they weren’t that loud. It was a very quiet gun."

Tex's gun probably was very quiet (compared to most firearms).

Tex's pistol was a .22 caliber weapon, and that's basically the smallest caliber pistol mass-produced worldwide.

There's one common rimfire cartridge which is slightly smaller than the .22 round, and that's the .17 HMR... (which stands for .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire)... but that's somewhat of a "specialty round"... and that cartridge wasn't even produced until 2002.

.22 caliber weapons produce low noise, and have very little recoil (almost none), which makes them a prime candidate for novice shooters.

ALSO, Tex's pistol was a long-barreled "cowboy-style" pistol.
Long-barreled pistols generally shoot quieter than their snub-nosed brothers.
(Of course there are exceptions, and someone will probably call me on that, but nevertheless, that's the general rule).
That's why, a .22 caliber rifle is generally "quieter" than a .22 caliber pistol.

The fact is... a .22 caliber pistol with a long barrel IS quieter than most other pistols (all else being equal).
It's a low-noise, low-recoil, weapon.

The lowly .22 cannot be underestimated however, as more people are killed per year with this low-caliber round, than any other bullet.
I think that's for 2 reasons:
#1) People grossly underestimate the lethal capabilities of the .22 "snake and squirrel" gun. Many times these guns are bought for/by novices who are led to believe they're a "starter gun".
#2) Because .22 ammunition is the cheapest bullets sold, more rounds are sold (and fired) per year, than any other caliber size. The fact that more people are killed by them yearly, may simply be, because more .22 bullets are fired per year than all other calibers (maybe combined).

From what I'm told, being shot in the head with a .22 round is VERY deadly.
The "weak" .22 caliber bullet does not exit the other side of your head (like with bigger calibers).
The .22 bullet simply ricochets around inside your skull, until your brain is literally carved into Swiss cheese.
Nice, huh?

Here's an excellent article written by "Sunset", about Tex's pistol.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

I've done a lot of studying on the subject of guns and ammo, since Sunset wrote his article almost 6 years ago.

Tex's pistol had a 9.5 inch barrel, which is extremely long for a pistol... and in a light .22 caliber model, it probably WAS very quiet.

Susan Atkins was crazy, but even a broken clock is correct twice per day...

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

The only thing "quieter" than a .22 caliber pistol with a 9.5 inch barrel, would be a gun equipped with an effective "silencer"... (or as they say overseas "moderator")... or an air-powered pellet gun (which technically, isn't even a "firearm").

katie8753 said...

I've got a 357 Magnum Long Barrel pistol and it's so loud it will make your teeth chatter.

I guess you could argue what the definition of "loud" is but this gun is pretty, pretty, pretty loud!!

katie8753 said...

I can't imagine a gun being quiet. Isn't it gun powder igniting? Doesn't that make a sound?

katie8753 said...

If a gun has the power to expel a bullet, doesn't it have to make a sound? Are you saying it sounds like a mouse sneezing?

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

There's a big difference between a .357 and a .22.

katie8753 said...

But did Tex's gun sound like a BB gun? It sure blew a hole through Jay Sebring.

katie8753 said...

Bill Garretson said he thought the gun fire was firecrackers. It must have made a quick loud sound.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

I didn't say that a .22 caliber weapon does not make a sound, but if you look at this chart, you can get an idea, of how small a .22LR bullet actually is (compared to others). It's literally the smallest bullet on the chart (second from left).

Compare THAT, to your .357, which is also on the chart.

If you're interested, there's an entire description of the .22LR round, further down on the same page.
(It's probably not the best and most accurate description, but gives you the basic idea)

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

From the same page:


The “twenty-two” long-rifle is the most common caliber in terms of units sold.

It has a bullet weight of around 30-40 grains and is extremely mild shooting in both pistols and rifles. The recoil is almost non-existent which makes it a great starter round for someone who has never shot a gun or is uncomfortable with the noise.

The low price of the bullets is also great for learning sight pictures. It is traditionally the starting caliber for shooters. These things are only a few steps up from a pellet gun round.

They can kill, don’t get me wrong, but they’re mostly for killing rats, snakes, and birds. They’ll kill an attacker for sure but it might take a shot or six.

I have extremely fond memories of earning my Rifle Shooting merit badge with a .22LR. Many popular handguns and rifles have .22 versions or adapters that let you practice on the platform but use the inexpensive .22LR ammo."

katie8753 said...

But does bullet size mean how "loud" it is?

katie8753 said...

Wasn't that the original question? How loud was it?

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

For the most part... yes.

The "head" of a bullet is weighed in terms of "grains".

The average .22 caliber bullet weighs 40 grains.

The average .357 bullet weighs 120-160 grains.

The heavier lead bullets require more gunpowder to push them to optimum speed (velocity).
More gunpowder = more "bang".

If you get hit with a .357 bullet, you're going to get whacked 3-4 times harder than you would with a .22 caliber bullet (because the bullet is 3-4 times heavier)... but in actuality... it's more than 3-4 times the "stopping power", because there's a LOT more gunpowder behind that lead bullet... but now, we're getting into "foot pounds" of "muzzle energy" and that's a whole 'nuther ballgame.

It's like getting hit by a train versus a car... and that "train" is carrying a lot more "energy", because of it's sheer size and weight... and that train needs a much bigger engine to move it (as opposed to the car).

Short of a class in physics:
Suffice it to say, a .22 caliber weapon, although plenty capable of killing a man, is the lightest, quietest, firearm (with the lightest recoil)... barring a few specialty rounds of .17 caliber (which probably didn't even exist in 1969).

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Katie asked:
How loud is it?

I just posted this information in italics, but evidently, you missed it, so here you go again. Read the whole thing:

The .22 caliber bullet has a weight of around 30-40 grains and is extremely mild shooting in both pistols and rifles. The recoil is almost non-existent which makes it a great starter round for someone who has never shot a gun or is uncomfortable with the noise.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...







katie8753 said...

Thanks Lynyrd! My apologies too to those who made comments that were never posted. I hate the comment moderation. It's like the Hillary regime making sure you only say she's purty! ROFLAMO!!

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Honestly, I forgot the comment moderation was even on.
(It doesn't apply to you when you're an administrator, so over time, you just forget about it.)

katie8753 said...

Now back to guns. You never said how loud a .22 is. How loud is it?

What I mean is, compare it to a sound. Is it like a chestnut dropping on the leaf filled ground, or like someone hitting a rock with a bat?

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

If a strong man hit a baseball-sized rock with an aluminum baseball bat, that would (roughly) compare to the sound of a .22 caliber gun being fired.

That's a pretty good analogy, actually.

I mean... it's a pretty good "pop", but it's no startlingly loud.

If you slammed the trunk of a car closed (at hard as you could), that would probably be about the same decibels as a .22 caliber gun.

In that ballpark... LOL

I don't think a .22 caliber gun is quite as loud as a firecracker.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...


This guy is shooting the Ruger "single six".
It's a .22 caliber revolver... cowboy style.
It's basically the same exact pistol that Tex Watson used.

He fires it several times outdoors.
Listen for yourself!

Of course, if he was firing this pistol in a garage, or inside an enclosed "firing range", it would be much louder, but outdoors, a .22 just makes a distinctive "pop".

katie8753 said...

Okay, well, hitting a rock with an aluminum bat isn't the same sound as slamming a car trunk down.

It depends on the car trunk. If you're talking about a 1966 Impala trunk that would make a really loud sound because that was a BIG TRUNK. If you're talking about a 2018 Toyota, that would probably be a sound like a child dropping a dish in a sink in her dollhouse.

You need to be specific.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Watch this video, and judge for yourself...

The man is shooting a Ruger "single six" .22 caliber "cowboy" revolver... the same exact style of gun, that Tex used...

Granted, the music in the video is a little annoying, but you get the picture.
It's definitely NOT a LOUD gun.

.22's make a distinctive "pop"... but it's nothing too alarming.

katie8753 said...

Okay if that gun had such a weak sound like a mouse sneezing, why did the neighbors call in to the police that they heard gunshots?

katie8753 said...

How could they even hear that?

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

It sounds like a gun, but it's not a loud gun (relatively speaking).

I'm not sure what you're looking for at this point, but you've worn me out.
(Maybe that's your goal).

Of course, the "loudness" of anything, also depends on the environment.

A gun of any size, is obviously going to sound much louder inside of an empty garage, than it would outside in an open field.

It's all relative.

A .22 caliber firearm is definitely one of the quietest weapons you'll find (compared to other calibers), all else being equal.

You can take that to the bank...

katie8753 said...

Well okay then. You earned your pay! LOL. But this isn't the end of it!

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

I'm not sure what the "acoustics" were, in and around the area of Steve Parent's car...but I can tell you one thing for sure, a pistol shooting .44 Magnum bullets would have been much fucking louder. LMAO

Garretson would have filed out of that "guest house" faster than Kato Kaelin. Lmao

sunset77 said...

I expect Watson was on drugs that night, in his state of delusional paranoia, he did exactly what Manson told him to do, kill everyone at the main house. As he seen Parents car approach, Watson probably assumed he had just left the main house and Watson didn't want to let him escape. Watson might not have even known there was a guest house on the property.

One of my relatives had a long barreled .22 Colt Buntline, the type Watson's pistol is often mistaken for. I never fired it, but I held it in my hands and examined it several times. A long barreled pistol is unwieldy to carry and use. It takes a special long holster, my relative had one, but I didn't. When Watson shot Steve Parent, he almost certainly stuck that long barrel through the open drivers window, the muzzle of the pistol would have been inside the car when he fired it. If the other windows on the car were rolled up, that would have deadened the sound significantly. .22's are about the "quietest" firearm to start with, there is no comparison to large caliber pistols like .357 and .44 magnum. It seems to me Garettson said he heard firecrackers, although I think he also said something about "Rosie Tate Polanski". It's hard to believe anything he says about anything. Also, I think the other shots were fired inside the house, there probably wasn't a whole lot for anyone to hear that night, no matter the later claims.

When I used to fire my dad's Hi Standard Longhorn in the woods, sometimes it would become very quiet, almost silent, for a few seconds. The birds and insects would stop chirping, I guess they were scared by the sound and looking around to see what it was. I remember distinctly that when I would eject the spent casings on a hard surface like concrete, pavement or boulders along a river, the casings made a clearly audible "tinkling" sound as they landed on a hard surface. Spent .22 casings are made of brass, the same thing bells are made of. I think the driveway at the Tate house was paved, I've never heard of anyone ever mentioning hearing that sound. If Watson would have ejected the spent casings after shooting Parent, and they landed on the pavement, I'm sure Watson and the girls would have heard it. As best I can tell, Watson's pistol was loaded before he ever got to the Tate house, with 9 live rounds or less, and he never reloaded.

grimtraveller said...

It also occurs to me that the .22 was a gun that the people on the ranch used for target practice so Watson may well have been less worried about noise than he would have been if he had used the .45 that Manson had the next night {the one Clem eventually ditched}. After all, he'd have known its relative quietness.
The point made about the proximity of the gun to Parent and some of the sound being soaked up by the internals of the car {with seats etc} is actually a really good point.
Sound is a funny thing. The way one might hear sounds coming from one's left will differ in each ear and vice versa. And sometimes, one might not hear certain sounds at all. I remember once, I was at home listening to music with headphones and I thought I could hear some thumping. Because in the days when I'd record my records onto tape and if you bumped around the room, some of the bumps would come out on the recording, I just thought it was that. But it turned out to be the Police breaking down one of my neighbour's doors because they were worried about her state of mind after a call from one of her friends. But no one else in our house heard it ! And I heard it through loud music on phones !
If a building is in the way of some sound waves, the sound can dissipate in unpredictable ways, which could partially account for why Mrs Kott heard the shots and William Garretson heard the shots {Rosie notwithstanding}. And as was shown in the first Tate Police report, lots of sounds were heard during the wee hours of that night, most of which occurred at times that couldn't have had anything to do with the murders.