Tuesday, June 2, 2015

TLB Murders Motive

I've given this motive thing quite a bit of thought, and here's where I'm at:

1) Helter Skelter
2) Copycat... i.e., spring a "brother" out of jail
3) Manson's mental state and bitterness towards society
4) Drugs
5) Leno's gambling debts (at the LaBianca site)

I really believe, all of the "family members" were "mentally compromised" by the time of the murders, and each had a slightly different mindset.

I'm sure there were several "stories" circulating at the ranch. Some of the kids believed the "HS" story (motive #1). Some of the kids believed the real goal, was to spring Bobby out of jail (motive #2). And Manson himself, was mentally disturbed and bitter towards society (contributing factor or motive #3).

That covers motives #1, 2,and 3.

I believe those three motives, may have been coupled with a drug motive (i.e., motive #4)... which only Manson and some of the men were privy to. 
(This would be the elusive "real motive", which everyone has been seeking for 4 decades).

There's also an outside possibility, that Leno had his ass in a sling over gambling debts (motive #5). And again, this is something that only Manson and the guys, would have been privy to.

So, we have a minimum of 3 "motives" (contributing factors)... and possibly 5.

The girls believed whatever they were told... and I really believe, they were told conflicting stories. (i.e., "Helter Skelter" and "Free Bobby").

As for Charlie, he was crackers. That was a contributing factor. 
No matter how you slice the pie, he was (as John Lennon said) "cracked".

I'm starting to agree with Leary. Beyond sheer curiosity, seeking a motive at this point is probably an exercise in futility.

In the words of Harold True: "You can't ascribe reason to crazy people."


LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Through the years, I've had several opinions on "motive".

Currently, this synopsis makes the most sense to me.

katie8753 said...

Good stuff Lynyrd!

katie8753 said...

It's late but I'll comment more tomorrow! :)

MrPoirot said...

There certainly was a drug motive. Bobby killed Gary over bad mescaline.

grimtraveller said...

George Stimson in "Goodbye Helter Skelter" and the infamous Nuel Emmons in "Without remorse" {this is the first title I bought his book under 27 years ago. I lent it to a great friend who lent it to a friend and I never saw it again. Then 13 years later I bought it again under it's current ~ and rather misleading~ title} both put all the events that culminate in Zero's death into context.
While I don't believe that 'getting a brother out of jail' was the real motive, I do believe it was one of them or certainly a contributing factor.
One should never underestimate a contributing factor.
I also believe that while there were a number of people quite prepared to kill, I think that events spiraled out of control. The shots fired on Lotsapoppa unleashed a series of previously unintended events which forced up to the surface and beyond, all that madness that they had been moving towards. It kind of reminds me of something I learned about a number of German soldiers during WWII. Many of them had real qualms about killing defenceless people in cold blood ~ until they had done it. Then many found that they actually enjoyed rounding prisoners up and shooting them. In Vietnam, some American soldiers that had passed through the first two phases actually began to look forward to committing mayhem.
When Charlie said "Helter skelter means confusion, really" he wasn't wrong.
I don't believe there was a drug dealer angle to the TLB killings but drugs played a most significant role on virtually all sides of the scope.

Kimchi said...

Greetings grimtraveller! I like your blogger name and I like what you said above! My dad told me the same thing about WWII - "they actually enjoyed rounding prisoners up and shooting them" however, of all the Viet Nam vets I know, not one has ever expressed a moment of euphoria...quite the opposite in fact... especially a friend whose duty it was to put the dead bodies in bags and ship them home...

Good to see you post Lynyrd, you were missed!

grimtraveller said...

Kimchi said...

"however, of all the Viet Nam vets I know, not one has ever expressed a moment of euphoria...quite the opposite in fact... especially a friend whose duty it was to put the dead bodies in bags and ship them home..."

I think it's one of the less savoury sides to human nature....if someone or some group is earmarked as 'the enemy' or expendable, they kind of become depersonalized and a legit target. With that in mind, there will be those that will look forward to doing all kinds of nastiness to them; we've seen that even in recent years with British forces in Iraq with things done to prisoners of war. Making devout Muslim men strip naked and lie on top of each other having shown them pornographic pictures doesn't strike me as something done without a certain desire to humiliate and there are those that eventually get to enjoy debasing those that can't hit back. I don't think it's the majority but it doesn't have to be.
The really chilling part is that in the "right" {for want of a better word} or in different circumstances, it could be me or any of us perpetrating horrors. Many of us that look into crime cases with the kind of depth shown on most of the blogs I've seen are of above average curiosity as to the path taken/set of circumstances that bring certain individuals to that point where they do the things that they are infamous for doing.

By the way, I picked the name grimtraveller from a song "Grim travellers" by a Canadian singer I've dug for a long time, called Bruce Cockburn. It's a sort of ironically humourous name because I don't think I'm particularly grim !!

grimtraveller said...

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said....

"Beyond sheer curiosity, seeking a motive at this point is probably an exercise in futility."

True say !
But only because the motives have already been laid out.
To be honest, I'm not even curious about the motive ~ I don't believe there's a singular one. If you think about it, "Helter skelter" actually, in one way or another, lays out all the motives. Even the angle of getting money that Tex comes up with in his 1st book {the second being "Right hand man speaks out" ~ if you can call it a book}, Danny DeCarlo sort of alluded to in his interview at Parker Centre, the one he was late to. He talks about Tex "fucking up his foot fucking someone out of it.....and he got $75" which kind of makes sense if one remembers the number of times Susan Atkins says he kicked Frykowski in the head and Tex's amazement at only getting $70 from Abigail Folger. And the police looked extensively into the drug angle, even to the exclusion of {ironically} checking out the copycat theory that was presented to them 30 hours after Cielo.
It's all laid out there. Bugliosi may have missed the importance of the Crowe shooting and the Hinman murder in the overall scheme of things and how they became the match on the fuse that eventually blew the powder keg {think Gregg Jacobson and his "the electricity was pouring out of him" speech}, but it's all there.
But it's not only "Helter Skelter" that lays out the varying motives and contributory factors. Charles Manson, Charles Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkle and Leslie Van Houten over a 46 year period have all told it as they see it in a huge variety of settings and it's actually their recollections more than anything that demonstrate all the different thoughts that were in different minds back in the summer of 1969. Everyone else connected with establishing motive {my 1977 Penguin version has as it's subtitle "An investigation into motive"}~ folk like Bruce, Bobby, Mary, Linda, Paul W, Brooks P, Gypsy, etc~ at the time were equally important.
Most murders I've ever read up on or watched documentaries about are pretty straightforward in comparison. Even some of the more esoteric ones like Jeffrey Dahmer or Denis Nielsen or the Yorkshire Ripper or the Moors murderers are, well, pretty straight in comparison to TLB. Hence the ongoing fascination with TLB. Rarely have the victims' backgrounds, lives, finances and peccadilloes been the subject of such exhaustive searching, discovery or interest as you'll find in TLB. Rarely are other murder cases so indelibly linked with history and the specific time period in which they occurred. And interestingly, other murders committed in the mid to late 60s haven't been held up as having been particular to that period.
The flim maker Robert Hendrickson throws in at least 2 more possible motives for consideration [1]to warn off the police and a kind of revenge for the regular raids the family were subjected to [2]to draw attention to the horrors of the Vietnam war. I hope I've not misrepresented him and that, even if rather basic, I've understood the gist.
But even they are found in Bugliosi's book.
Multiple motives wrapped up in the multi dimensional fog that was Helter skelter.

Mrstormsurge said...
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Mrstormsurge said...

I wonder if in the next few years that a lot more light will be shed on motives from deathbed confessions as the main players begin to die off more...seemingly while still in prison. I don't expect Charlie to say more than he has but maybe Leslie and Pat and Bobby and maybe even Tex and Bruce might. I wonder if a reason they haven't talked more is for fear of implicating themselves further and destroying any hope for a parole. Once that's beyond all hope - I mean deathbed gone beyond all hope - maybe stuff will come out.

johnnyseattle said...
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johnnyseattle said...

You and I are thinking along the same lines. A number of different motives depending upon the parties with the central motives being spun and tied straight back to "Charles in Charge' Manson.


katie8753 said...

Hi Stormy! I wish these killers would talk on their deathbeds, but I don't really know if they know anything to talk about, except what they've already said. Susan didn't know anything evidently...

Johnny, I agree, different motives for different murders.

Hi Grim! You remind me of someone. Someone very intelligent and articulate....I like your ideas!

I think the motive for Hinman and Shorty is different from TLB. Mary, Susan & Danny DeCarlo all said that Bobby went there to get some money from Gary because they thought he had some. Nobody mentioned anything about drugs. When Bobby killed Gary, he wrote "Political Piggy" on the wall and put a handprint to blame the murder on the Black Panthers. Also, when the cops found him in Gary's car, I believe he said he got the car from a black guy, indicating that a "black guy" killed Gary. Wasn't Helter Skelter a plan to kill white people and blame it on black people to start a race war??

I think the people at Cielo Drive were killed simply because Manson was pissed off, and Cielo Drive represented rejection to him. There were successful people with money living there and that made him mad. A "get even" kind of thing.

I have no idea what the motive for Labianca is. I certainly don't think it was drugs, and I really doubt if Manson cared if Leno was taking money from his company. He was a thief too. I've never really figured out a motive on that one.

Shorty was killed because he hated them and they hated him. Plus I guess Manson thought he snitched to the cops.

I think the killers, i.e. Tex, Pat, Susan & Leslie, have all said at different times that they were doing this because it "had to be done", in order to fulfill the prophecy that Manson kept hawking. The "race war". They've all talked about it at some point. I don't think that any of them really knows the reason for any of this, but were just trying to please Manson. Especially Pat. I think she would have done anything Manson asked, she was that immersed in him.

Kimchi said...

Aquarius didn't catch my attention too much...yawn...I liked the music though...

I'm going to be following this,(not sure why, I guess because it opens with a bio on Dennis Hopper) an audio tale of Manson and Hollywood...only one a week...done in segments..we'll see how accurate this lady is, hard to tell at this point:


katie8753 said...

Thanks Kimchi! Yeah, she's pretty ambiguous. I watched the opener on Aquarius, and I got bored pretty quickly. Let us know how it comes out!

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...


MrPoirot said...


Charlie and the Family get a mention on FOX.

MrPoirot said...

The narrator in Kimchi's link goes into great detail about Hollywood saying it was in a down period in the 60s. Maybe in movies but not TV. The 1960s is the golden era of TV. There were many fabulous shows on every night of the week from cowboys to spys to space adventurers to hip bikers to munsters to detectives to rock bands to family dramas to doctors to super heroes to soldiers to variety shows and music of every genre. It was glorious! It will never be repeated.

She goes on and on about The Graduate which was overrated and Warren Beatty who was very young and just starting. Trust me, there were lots of good movies in the 60s. Far more than now.
Hollywood was roaring in the 60s. I still watch tv shows from the 60s all the time. So often in fact that I dropped my cable and no longer watch tv at all. As far as movies today? You couldn't pay me to go to a theatre. Some say Hollywood is all but dead and gone today. The Kardashians and reality tv shows rule there now.

She also mentions the deteriation in Viet Nam war in the late 60s when in fact the war had been at its peak since 65 and it was the enemies Tet Offensive in 67 which started the protests on college campuses because it became obvious Americans were being lied to about the war being nearly won. Connecting the Hippie rise to the war is not really valid because there were no countries in Europe involved in Viet Nam and Hippiedom had come there too. She mentions the election of Nixon as a cause of the Manson Family dissatisfaction with America when in fact Nixon had only been in office 5 1/2 months when Charlie shoots Crowe and starts the Manson crime spree.

MrPoirot said...

It may have been the fault of the music scene in the 60s meeting up with the introduction of the acid era and the pill that led a very naïve, spoiled and educated generation of young people which led to the revolution of that decade.
There was a massive talent pool of musicians and singers in all English speaking countries during the 60s riding on a wave of excitement. Rock bands no longer sang just love songs. They were now singing about revolution and destruction and all the bratty kids of that era were buying in. The war naturally became a convenient scape goat to blame but we'd had plenty of wars before and our youth did not bail on their country like the 60s generation did. These kids were the children of Americas' victorious WW2 generation and they were simply too advantaged to understand what life was and is about. They were too spoiled to carry their weight when their time arrived. It is then that the shop lifting Hippie bums ran amok in both the US and Europe. Europe and America has been awash in crime, drugs and single parent households ever since still struggling today to hold onto some semblance of a sustainable culture which was all but destroyed in the 1960s.
Somesay Charlie helped end the 60s and demonize the Hippies but they needed no help. They destroyed more than just themselves without Charlie having to help them. They were fully capable of cultural destruction on their own and proud of it.

leary7 said...

Lynyrd, you left of my "Manson's bad case of hemorrhoids" theory.
It is a bit anti-climatic, 45 years later, to have to accept that Vincent had it right from the start - he DID NOT, as many here have pointed out, promote HS as a sole or even primary motive. He believed it was a clusterfuck of idiocy right from the beginning. And nothing. absolutely NOTHING, has washed ashore to trump that perspective.

Bruce Cockburn one of my favorites, grim. Saw him in Portsmouth NH several years ago.

leary7 said...

thank the heavens for google, I would never in a million years got the correct spelling for hemorrhoids.

katie8753 said...

Leary said: It is a bit anti-climatic, 45 years later, to have to accept that Vincent had it right from the start - he DID NOT, as many here have pointed out, promote HS as a sole or even primary motive. He believed it was a clusterfuck of idiocy right from the beginning. And nothing. absolutely NOTHING, has washed ashore to trump that perspective.

Leary!!! I agree with you. We've said it so many times. I guess some people can't read!!

HS was not the only theory, just one he used to convict that vagabond animal Charles Manson.

Leary said: 4. Katie, did the floods get ya? Have you ever got together with AustinAnn? Man, I wish I was still in Austin so I could set up something with you two. I missed my chance with Candy this past year when I was in Duluth but still have a rendezvous planned with Seattlejohnny this summer out there. I still think we need a Matt vs Lynyrd softball game and barbque. Or maybe we'll all just meet at Charlie's funeral.

Hey guy, the flooding isn't bad here, never was. I never go to Austin, waste of fucking time. Everybody I talk to that goes there says "I only had to park 20 miles away". Blahhh.

A softball game? Sounds good. I can wear my short shorts I used to wear in 1978, along with my tight shirt, plastic cleats and baseball cap. I always got the umpire to side with me. HA HA.

MrPoirot said...

In Leslie's interview she said the killings were random victims. She said the idea was to shock society. She said she believed in Helter Skelter and killed for helter skelter. I keep wondering if I am on different semantical planets from the crowd that doesn't believe Helter Skelter or that the TLB victims were random. Here we have one of the TLB killers telling us why she killed and some will still disregard what she says. Keep in mind this interview was taped a month after her arrest before she had a chance to wake up out of her programming. This was the real Leslie in that taped interview. You are listening to the murderous Manson programmed mind of Leslie. I don't see how you can disavow the words of a major player in those murders. Yet that is what some TLB followers do: they are in effect telling Leslie that she is wrong. That are saying Leslie knew the victims and that she did not kill for helter skelter. How can that be? How can people say that?

katie8753 said...

Mr. P, I agree with you completely. It's like I've been saying all along. People are coming out of the woodwork writing books and making comments to disavow every thing about this case, including facts. I keep telling you people...you can't re-write history. History stays put no matter how much you don't like it. It's there and it's not going anywhere.

MrPoirot said...

Strange nobody mentions brainwashing as a motive. I personally thought it was a factor in Manson's control over his cult and most cults seem to utilize brainwashing on the part of the leader to maintain control. I think Charlie maintained control over people like Sandra and Squeaky for several decades after he last saw or spoke to them. I am also sure that Patricia Hurst was brainwashed.

I listed 9 motives in a post this week but I listed 12 motives one time after pondering for a while several years ago.

Charlie had the Familt brainwashed for peace up until Dec 68 but he just as easily brainwashed them for violence in 69 because helter skelter was about violence.

MrPoirot said...


grimtraveller said...

MrPoirot said...

"The 1960s is the golden era of TV. There were many fabulous shows on every night of the week from cowboys to spys to space adventurers to hip bikers to munsters to detectives to rock bands to family dramas to doctors to super heroes to soldiers to variety shows and music of every genre. It was glorious! It will never be repeated"

In England, TV, especially kids' TV, was pretty much in it's infancy in the 60s. There were some interesting programmes {we only had 2 channels then a third part time one in '67} and I loved telly as a kid. Loads of programmes came from America although I had no concept of 'America' at the time. It was just telly. But many of my TV memories from the 60s are American; "The Impossibles", "The Monkees", "Shazam", "The Men from U.N.C.L.E.", "Journey to the centre of the earth", "Marine boy", "Batman", "Wacky races", "The Space Kiddettes", "Lost in space", "Bewitched", "Tom & Jerry" {actually, my Dad liked that one. In those days, I could take it or leave it}, "HR Pufnstuf"....there are others I could mention but I seem to remember them from 1970 onwards even though they were made in the 60s.
Even though during the 60s the TV wasn't the common fixture in the home it became in the 70s and beyond, we always had one and it was a portal into another world, along with books. Most kids of my generation got their first glimpse of America through the telly.

grimtraveller said...

grimtraveller said...

While I don't believe that 'getting a brother out of jail' was the real motive, I do believe it was one of them or certainly a contributing factor

Not any more, however. There are too many reasons against it, not least Pat and Leslie completely debunking it and the other 2, Susan & Tex, being in support of it ~ Susan who changed her stories too many times, Tex who picked up too much information from other sources when he was there, demonstrating he can't remember.