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To What Extent Can One Find Obedience, Conformity And Bystander Effect In The Case Of The Manson Family Murders

1015 words - 5 pages

Charles Manson and the Manson family committed gruesome crimes that shocked Los Angeles in 1969. The actress Sharon Tate and four others were ritualistically slaughtered in her Hollywoods Hills home. The murderers had left cryptic messages on the walls in the victims blood, and law enforcement were stumped by the multiple stab wounds found on the victims. The next day a married couple, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, who were successful shop owners, were found in their Las Feliz home murdered in the same way as Sharon Tate and her friends.

The breakthrough came when a young woman confessed to the crime. Susan Atkins was arrested for car theft and admitted to being a part of the group also known as “The Family”. She explained their theory that the murders were to be the first step in a global race war, which the group called HelterSkelter. It would cause the end of the world, with the Manson family emerging as leaders to the survivors. Atkins implicated several others, including, Linda Kasabian, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Tex Watson. They were all white, middle class youths living like hippies in a desert near LA. They came from average American homes, and had no prior history of violence, which made the police conclude that someone else had to be in charge. Atkins told them about their leader, who they followed with unwavering devotion, and that he was the only one who knew the truth, Charles Manson who has now come to represent true evil in most people eyes.

Manson was born in 1934 in Cincinnati, Ohio, an unwanted child to a 16 year old prostitute mother. He had a life filled with rejection and abandonment which begun early on. He never knew his father, and his mother would leave him alone for days, sometimes weeks. Leaving him with whoever would take him, even with complete strangers. It was even claimed that she once traded him to a waitress for a pitcher of beer.

Manson quickly learned that the only way to get attention was to act out, and he continued to develop very destructive and negative behavior. Turning early to a life of crime, he was sent to, kicked out of, and escaped, several different boy homes and military schools. Where he claimed to have been repeatedly raped and beaten. These kind of experiences, especially early on in life, can easily lead to the victim becoming manipulative, narcissistic, needing to feel in control, and wanting to feel accepted and loved.

By his mid twenties he was serving 10 years in prison for a parole violation. He was able to con prison guards into giving him special privileges, and was very good at finding out peoples weaknesses and played on them. When Manson was released at 32 he had spent more than half of his life in different institutions and prisons, and had grown to hate the society that rejected him. This is why Manson created his “family”, a society of his own. For all these teenagers appreciated him, listened to...

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