Should Susan Atkins die at home or in prison?

posted at 11:50 am on July 3, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Few if any murders carry the horrifying cachet of the Manson murders in 1969.  The deaths of seven people on two nights at the end of a tumultuous decade combined all of the political and cultural baggage of the era — drugs, counterculture, celebrity, cults, and pure evil in the form of the perpetrators, especially Charles Manson himself.  Combining mass murder and serial murder, the Manson Family has played on the imaginations of Americans for almost 40 years, while its members routinely apply for parole and get rejected.

Now one of them faces death, although much different in nature than the deaths she herself inflicted on her victims.  Susan Atkins, probably the most committed of all the Tate/LaBianca murderers to Manson himself, has terminal brain cancer and is not expected to live out the year.  She wants to be released so that she can die at home, presumably with family and friends.  Matthew Schmalz asks in Newsweek whether mercy or retribution should take precedence (via Shaun Mullen):

Justice or mercy? That is the pressing question in what seems to be a coda in the story of the 1969 Manson family murders. At issue is the request by Susan Atkins, now 60, for compassionate release from prison on the grounds of terminal illness.

Apart from Charles Manson himself, Atkins was the public face of the Manson family during the Tate-LaBianca murder trial. She had bragged about mercilessly stabbing the pregnant Sharon Tate and laughed when details of the murders were presented in court. When she received a death sentence, the verdict seemed particularly appropriate. When her punishment was later changed to life imprisonment with possibility parole, it seemed to be a gross distortion of the justice process. If there was an example of unmerited mercy in the criminal justice system, surely this was it.

I have to admit to an-almost lifelong fascination with the Manson case.  I grew up in Southern California and read Helter Skelter at 13, just seven years after the murders, and it was the only book that ever scared me — and I used to read everything Stephen King wrote.  The bloodthirsty nature of the defendants, especially Atkins, was brought to life by Vincent Bugliosi.  Now I oppose the death penalty, but these defendants certainly were the poster children for its imposition, and Atkins only slightly less than Manson himself.

It was Atkins who killed the pregnant actress Sharon Tate, telling her first that she had no mercy for Tate or her unborn child, which makes her plea for mercy now more than a little ghastly.  Most people feel that she got more than her allotted measure of mercy from the Supreme Court decision that threw out their death-penalty sentences.

In view of her illness, though, the issue is worth discussing.  Prisons have three purposes in modern times: rehabilitation, justice, and public safety in keeping dangerous criminals from harming any more innocents.  Are any of these purposes served by keeping Atkins in prison until she draws her last breath?

To hear Schmalz tell it, Atkins has already been rehabilitated.  She has served her sentence as a model prisoner since the mid-1970s, and has posed no danger to herself or others.  Schmalz tends to over-credit the Christian conversion of Atkins — it’s an oft-used ruse by prisoners looking for parole — but let’s assume he’s right and she’s rehabilitated.  That would also indicate that we no longer need to worry that Atkins will resume murdering people in their homes to start race wars on behalf of Manson.

That still leaves justice, however, and it’s pretty hard to argue that Atkins has paid that measure yet.  Atkins was convicted of eight murders, which means she’s served just over 4.5 years for every life she took.  Atkins is both a serial and mass murderer, having committed the eight murders in three separate incidents.  Is 37 years really enough to provide justice for these acts?

And while I oppose the death penalty, I fully support life without parole, although Atkins is eligible for parole thanks to the way the death sentences got dismissed.   Life without parole pretty clearly means that we expect the worst offenders to die in prison, not in the comfort of their homes.  Atkins qualifies as the worst of offenders, and she should not see the light of a free day.

Addendum: I want to make one more point about Christian forgiveness, in line with Schmalz’ essay.  We believe in redemption, of course, but redemption does not exempt people from the temporal consequences of their actions.  Merely going to the confessional, for instance, does not mean a murderer should not receive their just punishment.  Christians hope and pray for the redemption of all souls, including that of Atkins (and Manson, for that matter) — but that essentially remains between Atkins and God and has little to do with the question of release.


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Voidseeker on July 3, 2008 at 9:19 PM

I think e agree more than we disagree.

When you first get out of the academy you want to throw on the wall ever inmate who looks at you crossways. BUt you quickly find that that will get you no where fast.

if you treat aman like a man, he will cooperate with you.

If you treat him like an animal, he will jump on you.

Many times the guards and inmates are looking for the same thing, understanding a respect. But again, you have some guards who are really no better than inmates. They are the ones who got the snot kicked out of them in gym class by the jocks in high school, now its their turn.

When I was inside I could get any inmate to do anything I wanted, all I had to do was ask them, not tell them.

All of this too say that I was a heavy booted thug when I first got out of the academy, but I quickly learned that people are people. I never knew of any inmate who liked being inside, but many of them just could simply not function in society. They suffered from mental illness and arrested development….it was like being in JR high with a bunch of men who bodies kept maturing after 13 years of age, but their minds stopped. It truly is a living hell at times for the staff as well as the inmates.

That is why I am now in EMS, the prison system was just depressing. I know I helped to inspire some guards and inmates, but you get to the point that its just not worth the paycheck. Some would take the mentality of straight eight and hit the gate, but you cannot be around that much misery and not get pulled in on some level.

RobertInAustin on July 3, 2008 at 11:15 PM

For its horrifying effect on the psyche, the thought of “life in prison” seems to depend largely on its involving life in prison.

Kralizec on July 3, 2008 at 11:30 PM

Ed,

Let us for the moment assume her conversion is true and that she has accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Then she has freely given to God what is God’s.

She has not yet given to the State of California what it demands, life in prison and the end of her life in prison. She needs to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.
Her family can be with her in prison; the care will be the same and justice will be served.

Remember, God judges us all with a single yardstick.

By the way, does anyone know if she has ever asked forgiveness from the Tate family or has publicly acknowledged her role in these crimes and asked for forgiveness or shown any sign of remorse?

Bubba Redneck on July 3, 2008 at 11:44 PM

JellyToast on July 3, 2008 at 10:03 PM

I know what happened. What’s your point?

Esthier on July 4, 2008 at 12:02 AM

Cap’n Ed, I’m a SoCal native and was 12 when the horrific murders occurred. I still remember watching the Channel 7 Eyewitness News wall-to-wall coverage. I had seen political assassinations and mass murderers and snipers aplenty in my young life. But I think the gruesome Tate-LaBianca massacres were unique because of the home invasion aspect, the freakish occult cultishness and the celebrity element — not just Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski, but Doris Day’s son Terry Melcher and Beach Boy Dennis Wilson were involved tangentially.

I understand that there is a Biblically-based argument for the death penalty, but I am personally opposed to it. As long as there is earthly life, even someone as vile as Jeffrey Dahmer or Susan Atkins can be forgiven by God. Only He knows if she has truly repented and will judge her accordingly. But human justice demands that she remain incarcerated until death.

P.S. I had forgotten how much the youthful Atkins looked like Rick Derringer.

Terrie on July 4, 2008 at 12:20 AM

Her and every Manson family member had a ‘brain disease’ when they comitted the murders.

If the Supreme Court had not overturned Death Penalty in the ’70′s they would have died in the ‘Gas Chamber’.

I believe that would have been dying in prison.

Let her rotted brain kill her while she sits in her cell.

Helloyawl on July 4, 2008 at 12:21 AM

By the way, does anyone know if she has ever asked forgiveness from the Tate family or has publicly acknowledged her role in these crimes and asked for forgiveness or shown any sign of remorse?

Bubba Redneck on July 3, 2008 at 11:44 PM

Here’s a real tear jerker — or you can spit at her if you wish.

MrC_5150 on July 4, 2008 at 12:35 AM

right2bright on July 3, 2008 at 3:07 PM

Saying I heard once from an old marine. ‘Forgiveness is up to God. All we have to do is arrange the meeting.’

Works for me in this case. Her sickness doesn’t negate the evil she did. Let her serve her sentence until she’s gone.

austinnelly on July 4, 2008 at 12:36 AM

Here’s a real tear jerker — or you can spit at her if you wish.

MrC_5150 on July 4, 2008 at 12:35 AM

Ok.

Sawyer: There are people that say, in order to do monstrous things, you have to be a monster.

Adkins: That’s simply not true.

See? She wasn’t a monster then. We should let her go free.

Sawyer: “She said it was the brainwashing and the drugs that led her to join in the killing.”

See, it isn’t her fault.

Her husband: “It’s ridiculous to continue paying millions of dollars to keep her incarcerated when she can’t even sit up in bed.”

See, we’re just being foolish to require the full measure of the law.

That video clip is a litany of excuses and non sequiturs. It’s not her fault, she’s such a good person, we’re wasting money keeping her there, etc. ad nauseam.

That isn’t a cry for mercy. It’s a cleverly-veiled expression of bitterness at being forced to bear the consequences of her actions. She believes she deserves to be set free.

No thanks.

spmat on July 4, 2008 at 1:21 AM

“Should Susan Atkins die at home or in prison”?

She should die at home.

Prison is her home now.

She should die at home in prison.

Bob Mc on July 4, 2008 at 2:24 AM

pabarge, that was a very good good link to witness recalling adkins’ description of her murders

Did Miss Atkins ask you if you had ever had that type of experience with blood?”

“Yes, she did. She asked me in was interested in blood, and I said that I had seen it, and she said that it was really beautiful; that it was warm and sticky.”

“Did she say anything about the eyes of the people there at the Tate residence?”

“Yes, she did. She told me that she wanted to take their eyes out and squash them against the wall, and cut their fingers off, but that she didn’t have time.”

“Did Miss Atkins tell you anything about who was the last to die at the Tate residence?”

“Yes, she did.”

“What did she say?”

“She told me Sharon was the last to die.”

“Did she say anything about a knife of hers?”

“Yes, she did. She told me that she lost her knife up there; that she looked for it for a few minutes but could not find it, and then she said she thought the dog had taken it outside and buried it.”

“As Miss Atkins was discussing these murders with you, did she say anything about how it felt to stab a human being with a knife?”

“Yes, she did.”

“What did she say?”

“She said that when the knife went in, it felt soft and that it was quite a thrill.”

Puts it all in perspective. Throw away the key.

entagor on July 4, 2008 at 2:31 AM

She should remain in prison. It is the only justice possible after robed quacks tossed the death penalty. Because of leftist domination of the legal system, the families endure sentences of their own. Having to come to parole hearings year after year, for decades, is enough to make the remaining sane want to vomit. That the monsters still live is another injustice inflicted on the innocent.

We’re not too mature for the death penalty; the death penalty is too mature for us.

Feedie on July 4, 2008 at 2:45 AM

She was originally sentenced to die in prison. She should, indeed, die in prison. Imagine the horror if she was released and then went into remission for some reason or other. What justice would be served by that? What justice is served by letting her live in the society she so violently rejected and violated?

Besides, she’s not to ill to murder again, yet. She should not be released until she is on her deathbed, literally, if she is to be released this side of death.

{^_^}

herself on July 4, 2008 at 3:20 AM

Merely going to the confessional, for instance, does not mean a murderer should not receive his just punishment.

Fixed it for ya.

B26354 on July 4, 2008 at 3:53 AM

Letting this scum bag out of jail would be a travesty of justice. The fact that she got to live the last 37 years while her victims lay in cold graves is already an injustice. That she got to live, breath, eat, taste, read, write, dream, walk, talk, see, smell, and masturbate in prison while her victims rot in a hole is not my idea of justice. I hope they don’t compound this injustice by letting her out of her deserved sentence. Time does not erase her heartless murders. The mother who didn’t get a chance to experience being a mom, the unborn child who never got a chance to even take 1 breath, the married couple who never got a chance to live out their golden years, all because Susan Atkins decided she had the right to snuff their lives out for her own evil selfish reasons. This bitch gets no sympathy from me and should have already decomposed. I’m happy she got brain cancer. I hope it hurts, I hope it slowly eats away at her sick filthy mind in the most painful way possible. I hope she is scared, I hope she cries, I hope the pain is unbearable. Die in prison? you bet your ass!!

Dollayo on July 4, 2008 at 4:49 AM

Letting this scum bag out of jail would be a travesty of justice. The fact that she got to live the last 37 years while her victims lay in cold graves is already an injustice. That she got to live, breath, eat, taste, read, write, dream, walk, talk, see, smell, and masturbate in prison while her victims rot in a hole is not my idea of justice. I hope they don’t compound this injustice by letting her out of her deserved sentence. Time does not erase her heartless murders. The mother who never got a chance to experience being a mom, the unborn child who never got a chance to even take 1 breath, the married couple who never got a chance to live out their golden years, all because Susan Atkins decided to she had the right to snuff their lives out for her own evil selfish reasons. This witch gets no sympathy from me and should have already decomposed. I’m happy she got brain cancer. I hope it hurts, I hope it slowly eats away at her sick filthy mind in the most painful way possible. I hope she is scared, I hope she cries, I hope the pain is unbearable. Die in prison? you bet your ass!!

Dollayo on July 4, 2008 at 4:54 AM

Read Romans chapter 11
shick on July 3, 2008 at 12:32 PM

Well, you can let Bible interpretations paralyze you, or you can actually let it guide you. She showed no mercy, and committed murders that are legendary in their brutality. She’s never asked for forgiveness, that I know of, and so she doesn’t even want it. Nowhere in the Bible does it state that just because you’re a sinner, you’re scott free from punishment, because everybody else has sinned. Even God, Himself, said that we’re to give caesar his due, and her imprisonment for life (or execution) is what caesar demands. Moralizing and hand-wringing is what she should’ve been doing, instead of murdering, and she woulndn’t be in this spot, now.

Virus-X on July 4, 2008 at 5:03 AM

She should die in prison. Terminal illness or not. How about other prisoners who have reached old age? Should they be allowed to go home and die there or in their cells? These scumbags should have received the ultimate judgment a long time ago.

cjs1943 on July 4, 2008 at 6:14 AM

Don’t we all have a terminal illness? I mean we are all going to die…if you send her home then you might as well not have prisons for anyone.
Where mercy failed is not giving her the death penalty in the first place. She needs help, and God is the best one to help her, and we canceled her appointment with God. Shame on those judges. I have more forgiveness for mrs atkins than I do for those judges.

Conservative Voice on July 4, 2008 at 6:46 AM

I go with Sharon Tate’s sister. She says no so it’s no in my book…

sabbott on July 4, 2008 at 7:35 AM

The bitch needs to suffer the rotting of her own brain in her own cell in prison. Letting her out would be a smack in the face to every victim and family member.

Letting her out would be akin to giving the tantrum-throwing child what he wants. It would be capitulation. It would be appeasement.

Life in prison means life in prison. Her lack of remorse sealed her fate.

cannonball on July 4, 2008 at 8:48 AM

This female dog needs to suffer the rotting of her own brain in her own cell in prison. Letting her out would be a smack in the face to every victim and family member.

Letting her out would be akin to giving the tantrum-throwing child what he wants. It would be capitulation. It would be appeasement.

Life in prison means life in prison. Her lack of remorse sealed her fate.

cannonball on July 4, 2008 at 8:50 AM

Letting her out would be akin to giving the tantrum-throwing child what he wants.

Letting her out? She’s been in this hospital room since March and whether her release is denied or not, she will remain in this hospital room until she dies. Granting her release will only relieve the state of the medical costs and the costs of assigning two guards outside her hospital room door 24/7. The only tantrum throwing children are those refusing to address the actual facts.

Blake on July 4, 2008 at 9:00 AM

Blake on July 4, 2008 at 9:00 AM

And only idiots and Obama supporters call names, when people disagree with them, and have the audacity to have opinions that are not for rent. Maybe, when you’ve been the victim of a crime, or had a close relative murdered, and her unborn baby cut out of her, you’ll gain a little more perspective on crime and punishment, and why you don’t let every criminal that gets sick off the hook. If you’re so conserned about abating the massive financial burden incumbent upon the California Department of Corrections, maybe you should suggest they start executing a lot of these life-sentence felons, and give more definite timeframes for appeals, that don’t stretch out into decades. And while you’re at it, to save the state more money, maybe you could suggest they stop catering to illegal aliens by doing things like allowing them free health care and schooling. That‘s how you save money, not by getting soft every time a murdering psychopath says they’re ready for softballs to be thrown their way, just because they got sick, or had some other ‘misfortune’ come their way.

Virus-X on July 4, 2008 at 10:35 AM

I change my mind. She shouldn’t die in bed. She should die in the CHAIR.

Virus-X on July 4, 2008 at 10:36 AM

Let her die in prison, alone and unmourned. If she is let out of prison, the MSM will make her a celebrity.

That’s not very Christian, but it is justice.

Bill_M on July 4, 2008 at 10:40 AM

Prison is fine by me. However, I may have to revisit that and possibly revise my position.

abcurtis on July 4, 2008 at 10:46 AM

She wants to be released so that she can die at home, presumably with family and friends.

Well, Sharon Tate was with family and friends when she died…
Leave this screwball where she is.

abcurtis on July 4, 2008 at 10:49 AM

Virus-X on July 4, 2008 at 10:35 AM

I guess that makes you both an idiot and an obama supporter, eh? It is idiotic and obamatic of you to assume that someone has not been a victim of a violent crime or has not had relatives murdered when you know nothing about them personally. It is also idiotic and obamatic of you to assume that I am not one of the most vocal supporters of the death penalty on this board and elsewhere. It is also idiotic and obamatic of you to assume that I have not been against illegal immigration and amnesty and have been so pre-dating Reagan’s grant of amnesty. It’s also idiotic and obamatic of you to go off on irrelevant tangents instead of addressing the issue of what is the difference between dying in a hospital room paid for the state vs. dying in a hospital room paid for by her family.

Blake on July 4, 2008 at 10:56 AM

Hmmm. I’m not persuaded very much by the ‘she has a terminal condition’ argument as a basis for her release. As much could be said of any one of us enjoying what we call life – it is, by it’s nature, a terminal condition – nobody gets out alive. So to claim special circumstance based on the actual manner, it doesn’t quite wash.

The argument of being thrifty, i.e. save a couple of shekels by sticking someone beside the penal budget with the ancillary care costs her condition will generate is also a red herring. The facility providing for her medical needs will operate with or without her, the staff will still be retained and compensated for their work, and further, the question of costs to incarcerate her, without itemization, was already an accepted dynamic of the decision to keep her locked up for the rest of her natural life.

Her family members want to see her? Certainly, allow them, in the final days or weeks, to spend extended visitation, which is a humanitarian extension of mercy that she and the rest of her murderous companions extended their victims.

However, her punishment for the involvement in these heinous acts was that she never set foot outside of confinement ever again. It was through her own actions that her freedom was permanently revoked.

And it should not be restored simply to assuage her family’s personal desires – for on that basis, almost no one would be in prison simply because their 3d cousin Ruth has trouble falling asleep at night thinking of poor little Jimmy locked in a cell while he has a hangnail.

She was sentenced to die in prison. Let the sentence play itself out. The only choice in the matter I’d consider extending her would be the choice of personal attending physician – but only if she can persuade Dr. Kavorkian to resume his practice, and move to California. . .

Wind Rider on July 4, 2008 at 11:00 AM

The money argument is ridiculous. We cannot put a price tag on justice or we are lost. I have never agreed with the crass argument that executing murderers relieves society of the cost of incarcerating them for decades until they die naturally. Either they deserve execution or they don’t. Susan Atkins did, and unfortunately the law was changed so she got a reprieve. I don’t care it it costs $100,000 a day to keep her confined in that hospital.

rockmom on July 4, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Wind Rider on July 4, 2008 at 11:00 AM

You want to address the fact that she hasn’t been in prison since March 2008 and will not return to prison even if she is not granted release? I know it kills the popular “die in prison!” meme but how about addressing, you know, reality?

Blake on July 4, 2008 at 11:17 AM

rockmom on July 4, 2008 at 11:13 AM

While I agree that the cost of capital punishment does not dissuade me from seeking the death penalty, your argument that cost should not be considered in this case is ridiculous.

Blake on July 4, 2008 at 11:24 AM

your argument that cost should not be considered in this case is ridiculous

I think it unlikely that the stroke of a pen will suddenly relieve the tax payer of this burden. It will just be billed to a different department. I watched some videos on youtube last night of the manson people. In two shows done around the same time van houten and krenwinkle both called charlie a liar for saying he had nothing to do with the murders and did not call the shots. An interview with atkins about the same time asked her basically the same question and her answer was that she couldn’t talk for charlie, an evasive and weird answer. seemed like she still couldn’t bring herself to condemn manson. steve grogan, another little known manson murderer was paroled years ago. He led police to the body of Shorty Shea in 1978, and that likely influenced the parole board. The brutality of the two famous incidents makes me believe these people had already been desensitized to murder. There are other bodies out there and these people have never assisted in recovering those people. They should all die knowing that they were never free again after their actions.

peacenprosperity on July 4, 2008 at 11:38 AM

This may be a bit harsh, but the cost issue is, in my opinion, moot. She will be hospitalized in or out of prison. She has no insurance, thus we pay for her through our public healthcare, or our prison healthcare.

The issue is one of letting her out or not for her death time.

I vote for not. No amount of time halts this dispicable person’s need for incarceration.

DukeofDeLand on July 4, 2008 at 11:38 AM

What would “Life without the possibility of parole” mean if they let her out? Would that not open the door for all kinds of frivolous appeals based on this new interpretation of ‘without’?

Annar on July 4, 2008 at 11:41 AM

“Life without the possibility of parole”

That didn’t exist in california at the time and their sentences were commuted to life.

peacenprosperity on July 4, 2008 at 11:53 AM

It’s funny, a standard distinction between conservative and liberal is one favors justice, the other mercy. It’s also funny the general public is asked to weigh in. Can we really make an informed decision? I too have followed the case. If the Manson cult had a balance, Manson and Atkins pulled the balance towards evil. If not for Atkins, it’s possible it never would have happened, or not to the extent it did. So I know which way I lean.

Paul-Cincy on July 4, 2008 at 12:15 PM

Wind Rider on July 4, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Pretty convincing synopsis. Thanks.

a capella on July 4, 2008 at 12:23 PM

If the Manson cult had a balance, Manson and Atkins pulled the balance towards evil. If not for Atkins, it’s possible it never would have happened, or not to the extent it did.

You’re giving Atkins way too much credit. No females held any significant decision making power in the Family. And certainly not Atkins, who was known as an unstable flake even to them.

If you want to spread the blame and name someone responsible for pulling the cult toward evil it is Tex Watson. I once remember an interview with an FBI profiler who said if he had to pick between releasing Manson or Watson it would be Manson. After all most of the murders and sadistic violence was committed by Watson.

miles on July 4, 2008 at 12:30 PM

The propitiation offered by Christ does not relieve any of us of the earthly consequences of our actions.

The person that is Susan Atkins still has a debt to pay to society, illness or no illness.

BD57 on July 4, 2008 at 12:31 PM

She should die in Sharon Tate’s house. I volunteer to carry out the deed.

mile66 on July 4, 2008 at 12:36 PM

geee, abc cleaned her up real nice. she looks like the pastor’s wife or something.

doing years is like doing reps in the gym, its the last one that matters. let her rot

billypaintbrush on July 4, 2008 at 12:47 PM

Prisons have three purposes in modern times: rehabilitation, justice, and public safety in keeping dangerous criminals from harming any more innocents.

The one you appear not to consider is to deter others from commiting crimes. I know this thought is not politically correct. Those who think that way should read Thomas Sowell on the great value of the death penalty. He argues very persuasively with statistics that every murderer who is put to death reduces the number of murders by others by more than one.

burt on July 4, 2008 at 1:55 PM

I oppose people who oppose the death penalty.

Redhead Infidel on July 4, 2008 at 2:19 PM

Lawdy momma lite my fuse?

/sorry bad 4th duble pun

pc on July 4, 2008 at 2:29 PM

May her last days be filled with excruciating pain……in prison, where she belongs.

mustng66 on July 4, 2008 at 2:32 PM

Letting her out? She’s been in this hospital room since March and whether her release is denied or not, she will remain in this hospital room until she dies. Granting her release will only relieve the state of the medical costs and the costs of assigning two guards outside her hospital room door 24/7. The only tantrum throwing children are those refusing to address the actual facts.

Blake on July 4, 2008 at 9:00 AM

It is money well spent to have those guards there 24/7 and her restrained in some fashion to the bed (I am assuming that as a prisoner of the state she is in some way restrained to her bed). Why, because it is a continual reminder to her and her family that she is not free, that she still is prisoner, and that she will die a prisoner for the actions she freely committed. She has only herself to blame for her situation and those guards and any shackles serve as a visible reminder of this fact. She should also ponder the fact that the State of California is giving one of their prisoners medical care that most free people outside of the Western world, and many within it, would have no access to if they came down with a similar condition. Talk about, in the words of St. Paul, heaping hot coals on one’s head.

It is always money well spent to remind inmates that they are in prison as punishment for acts they freely committed, and that they should not do the crime if they cannot do the time. All of the time, screw parole!!

I’ve read a few posts mentioning how most people are in for substance abuse related crimes…..SO WHAT!?!?!?!? A felon is a felon is a felon.

Bubba Redneck on July 4, 2008 at 4:13 PM

No one should die a prisoner, no matter their crimes. Forgiveness is not just a word. It’s an act.

HerrMorgenholz on July 4, 2008 at 6:44 PM

Simple…Prison. Saying much more would be justifying her.

CynicalOptimist on July 4, 2008 at 6:57 PM

No one should die a prisoner, no matter their crimes. Forgiveness is not just a word. It’s an act.

HerrMorgenholz on July 4, 2008 at 6:44 PM

Forgiveness is more of an act for the benefit of the forgiver than the forgiven… except with God’s forgiveness of sin through Christ.

There’s something called consequences… even Jesus said, “Have you not heard, ‘He who kills by the sword shall die by the sword?’” People also forget that He was present with God the Father when He established, “Eye for an eye”.
Forgiveness is different than “mercy”. Mercy is not giving you what you deserve… while forgiveness does not require “letting one off the hook of consequences”.

CynicalOptimist on July 4, 2008 at 7:07 PM

I’m sorry, but I just don’t care whether Susan Atkinson gets humane treatment or not.

Have you ever read a full description of what she did to Sharon Tate during that grissly murder? “She murdered Sharon Tate” is so sanitized. But the non-sanitized version would make most people sick to their stomach.

But I suppose even psychopaths should be treated humanely. Therefore, loosen (but not by much) the cuffs chaining her to the bed and make sure she has sufficient painkillers.

Beyond that, I simply do not care what happens to Susan Atkinson.

May God have mercy on her soul.

PrairieWind on July 4, 2008 at 9:14 PM

No one should die a prisoner, no matter their crimes. Forgiveness is not just a word. It’s an act.

HerrMorgenholz on July 4, 2008 at 6:44 PM

Not even Hitler?

Johan Klaus on July 4, 2008 at 10:19 PM

I’m getting too old to fight the battle of whether or not forgiveness is in order in any given situation. I’m not going to argue the Hitler or Osama question. But I feel safe in saying that your Salvation demands forgiveness.

HerrMorgenholz on July 4, 2008 at 11:22 PM

I’m hoping she rots away in jail, and that it’s as painful as it could possibly be.

It's Vintage, Duh on July 5, 2008 at 3:08 AM

No one should die a prisoner, no matter their crimes. Forgiveness is not just a word. It’s an act.

HerrMorgenholz on July 4, 2008 at 6:44 PM

Her victim isn’t around to forgive her. You can forgive her if you want, but since she didn’t slit you upen it doesn’t really matter.
Your brand of “whatever feels good” law wouldn’t pass muster even on “Judge Wopner’s Animal Court”.

joewm315 on July 5, 2008 at 6:14 AM

Wherever she dies the Susan Atkins story is a cautionary tale in the costs of broken families and emotional abandonment. It is not just a side note to point out that each of the Manson girls who participated in the murders had something traumatic happen in their lives when they were fourteen. Not thirteen or fifteen, fourteen. In Atkins case it was the death of her mother and Krenwinkle & Van Houten’s parents divorced when they were fourteen.

Did that make them more susceptible to Manson’s programming? There were a lot more girls in the Family whose self-esteem and will were probably stronger. Why didn’t they become murderers as well?

miles on July 5, 2008 at 11:28 AM

Granting her release will only relieve the state of the medical costs and the costs of assigning two guards outside her hospital room door 24/7.

So keeping her in the hospital is costing to much, so we should let her out. Good argument.

Why not do the same with ALL criminals in prison. If we’re simply speaking about economics here. Just send all the crooks home and let their families pay for them. It might work.

She served her sentence? No, she didn’t. Life in prison is just that. “Well, you see, she’s not ‘in prison’ she’s in a hospital so let’s just let her go…” Absurd.

Frankly, if cost from the state was such an issue FOR the state, they would have gassed these maniacs long ago.

And forgiveness? No one has said she shouldn’t be forgiven or that forgiveness isn’t warranted. Some people do have a hard time with it, but nevertheless. However equating forgiveness with releasing her is idiotic.

catmman on July 5, 2008 at 11:32 AM

Are her victims still dead?

CrazyFool on July 5, 2008 at 11:33 AM

Your brand of “whatever feels good” law wouldn’t pass muster even on “Judge Wopner’s Animal Court”.

joewm315 on July 5, 2008 at 6:14 AM

Huh? I think whatever feels good goes? Thanks for putting words in my mouth. Unfortunately they were your words. Lots of tough talk about “rotting in jail” and “burning in hell”, etc, etc in here. Real men have more sense.

HerrMorgenholz on July 5, 2008 at 12:43 PM

A prison hospital, nothing more.

mram on July 5, 2008 at 1:37 PM

Go ahead – “release” her. Send the guards away. I’ll just bet, if you do, you’ll end up making her stay in this world much shorter. Someone will help her to understand what her victims felt. Maybe they’ll even comment on how the fork in her stomach wiggles.

Squiggy on July 5, 2008 at 1:51 PM

Who gives a flip?

Christine on July 5, 2008 at 2:28 PM

Let her sorry ass rot in prison!!!!

Winebabe on July 5, 2008 at 2:37 PM

I’m getting too old to fight the battle of whether or not

forgiveness is in order in any given situation. I’m not going to argue the Hitler or Osama question. But I feel safe in saying that your Salvation demands forgiveness.

HerrMorgenholz on July 4, 2008 at 11:22 PM
No one should die a prisoner, no matter their crimes. Forgiveness is not just a word. It’s an act.

HerrMorgenholz on July 4, 2008 at 6:44 PM

You made the argument.

Johan Klaus on July 5, 2008 at 4:16 PM

But I feel safe in saying that your Salvation demands forgiveness.

HerrMorgenholz on July 4, 2008 at 11:22 PM

You have got the right to forgive someone for what they do to someone else?

Johan Klaus on July 5, 2008 at 4:28 PM

You have got the right to forgive someone for what they do to someone else?

Johan Klaus on July 5, 2008 at 4:28 PM

The same as you have the right to condemn.

HerrMorgenholz on July 5, 2008 at 5:21 PM

The victim has the right to forgive what is done to them.

Johan Klaus on July 5, 2008 at 10:10 PM

Only on one condition should Ms. Atkins be allowed out of prison to die. If she would agree to die on a certain day at a certain time, for example, not more than 24 hours after being released. If she fails in this regard, then she should be put to death immediately. Preferably by stabbing.

ptg on July 5, 2008 at 10:23 PM

HerrMorgenholz on July 5, 2008 at 12:43 PM

Don’t even pretend your argument is based on sense. Life without parole means what it says, regardless of circumstances. You can’t circumvent the law based on an abstract concept.
I don’t condemn anyone to hell. God alone will judge. And I am quite secure in my status as a real man. Nice try.

joewm315 on July 7, 2008 at 2:47 AM

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