Susan Atkins


I’ve never had much compassion when it comes to criminals, but at the same time I do believe in a sense of proportionality. Generally speaking, there isn’t a reason to keep a dying person in prison. Susan Atkins is dying. Her left leg was amputated earlier this year and the tumor inside of her brain will kill her before the year ends. Short of divine intervention or spontaneous remission, Atkins’ life will be over soon.


In August of 1969, Atkins and four other people murdered seven people because Charles Manson told them it would trigger the end of the world where the Mason Family would rule what was left. Atkins stabbed to death a woman who was eight and a half months pregnant, and wrote on the walls and door of the house with the blood of her victim. Dispassionate and without any sense of remorse, Atkins’ recounting of the story during police custody reveals a woman devoid of humanity. “Soulless” is how the police described her then, and it wasn’t until the years of incarceration began to weigh upon her that she began to show even the slightest bit of remorse.


When I turn sixty, the age Atkins is now, I would hate to still be paying for the mistakes I made when I was nineteen. But in some way or another, we all pay for the mistakes we’ve made, and we all take responsibility for those mistakes. Most of us live the lives of minor criminals, small time offenders against ourselves and our families, rarely reaching past the tiny orbits of our lives to damage strangers. Regardless of the influence Manson had over this person, she not only killed for him, but she committed murder in such a manner that defies the senses and defiles the very essence of humanity. Atkins butchered other human beings with such hatred and fury, and without any sense that what she was doing was wrong, that most of us cannot so much as look at the crime scene photos without recoiling in horror.


“Look bitch, I have no sympathy for you.” Susan Atkins told a very pregnant Sharon Tate as the woman begged for her life and the life of her child. Those words would be the last word ever spoken to Tate, and those words were the last words Atkins spoke before repeatedly stabbing Tate.


I do have sympathy for Susan Denise Atkins. I would not wish her disease upon her, and if it were within my power to ease her pain and suffering that I would do. Yet I would under no conditions or circumstance set her free. By her own volition and by her own violation of humanity does she now rot in a prison. Society does not owe this woman freedom, nor do we owe her loved ones this release. Her crimes, her total lack of compassion, her antics at the trial, and her total enjoyment of the entire event the crime became says much more about her than the disease that eats away at her from within. The three and a half decades plus she has spent in prison does not in any way make restitution for her crimes. Her pain and suffering do not in any way make her more human.


I hope she dies quickly. I hope by chance or design, ever it may be, that Susan Atkins does not suffer anymore. Released, she would be harmless, but why bother? Her family, such as it is, will not be able to afford the medication and care needed to keep her alive. For thirty-seven years she has been in jail, and quite frankly, I think that is where she ought to die. I would, truly, I would end her suffering, but I would not grant her one free breath more than she granted a pregnant women pleading for the life of her unborn child.


Not one free breath.


Take Care,


vwhitlock   vwhitlock wrote
on 1/5/2012 8:08:43 PM
I agree. I will not wish disease upon any person but I also believe that there are crimes that one should not expect forgiveness for...

Mike Firesmith
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