10 October 2017

Helter Skelter Book Club: Week 2

This week was more of the same for me. A lot of detail about the crime scenes and a lot of moronic cops not working together. I'm getting antsy for them to start linking the crimes to Manson and his followers ...

I think what I enjoyed the most about this section was Bugliosi describing the atmosphere of fear in Los Angeles. My favourite passage I've read so far was this one:

Sometimes fear can be measured. Among the barometers: In two days one Beverly hills sporting goods store sold 200 firearms; prior to the murders, they averaged three or four a day. Some of the private security forces doubled, then tripled, their personnel. Guard dogs, once priced at $200, now sold for $1,500; those who supplied them soon ran out. Locksmiths quoted two-week delays on orders. Accidental shootings, suspicious person reports - all suddenly increased."

This just makes so much sense to me... everyone feels like a potential target, so everyone is trying to guard themselves as much as possible.

I mean Bugilosi does touch on a bit of the fear mongering going on in the papers... especially with them constantly suggesting it was because of drugs or that is was a sex orgy. What sucks about this type of reporting is that it leaves EVERYONE paranoid, and we see this in the increase of accidental shootings.


  1. This same effect happened when 50 shades of grey came out, and hardware stores couldn't keep rope and duct tape in stock...

    Other things I can't stop thinking about: 3 MURDERS WITH THE WORD PIG AND THE COPS DON'T THINK THERE'S A CONNECTION. ya ok. I have been sympathetic with the cops especially after Bugliosi's puzzle piece metaphor, but now I'm like come onnnnnn. In Murder City Arntfield describes how sometimes they don't merge cases because each jurisdictional division feels too much pride that they won't 'pass it off' how shitty is that?

    I also enjoyed the scene where the gun was found and the child knew exactly how to pick it up and handle it to not disrupt fingerprints??? Is this something they learn in school??? If I found a gun it would have my fingerprints all over it in 5 seconds as well as every person I know as we'd all take turns pointing it at each other before turning it over to an authority figure, who would likely just be my dad.

    I also liked the quote on pg. 68 about chronic confessors and how even they weren't calling the hotline to confess. I found that super interesting ... 1. that chronic confessors are a thing (is this a mental illness), and 2 that even they wanted nothing to do with this "human slaughterhouse".

  2. I think it's really interesting how even back when Manson is around, hysteria led to the purchasing of weaponry, and there was a great deal of investment in personal security. We're even seeing that now in the aftermath of the Vegas massacre (#topical).

    I also think it's interesting that Sharon Tate's father - a retired Colonel from the army - went on his own investigation quest, but "he did not go on his forays unarmed" (p. 67). Like... Liam Neeson vibes before Liam Neeson even did his thing. And the fact that police were "fearful" that her father's investigation would become something of a war against the police is incredible. It genuinely sounds like a plot to a movie.

    Also, I love Meg's point about the child knowing how to handle a gun properly. I am completely with you. I'd wind up eating the gun before I knew how to handle it without getting footprints on it. Like... has America just always been completely gun crazy? I have no idea, but that is absolutely messed up. The fact that a child would even PICK UP a gun he finds is kind of jarring.

    Anyhow, loved this further venture into this story, and you can really see the ways in which the police are screwing the pooch with the investigation and lack of corroboration!

    1. ok Kenan I am dying at the Liam Neeson vibes that is SO true. you, me and Meg will have to option the rights to the movie or however they say that in Hollywood talk..

      I also really loved the "#topical" .... one thing I have been wondering if any of us are going to discuss is Roman Polanski's rape charges ... especially with all the Harvey Weinstein stuff in the press. So yeah, #topical ... I feel so bad for him because what a horrible / gruesome way to lose your wife. But he also really really creeps me out and it is hard to imagine how Sharon Tate (who seems so kind) was with him.

    2. Yeah, I really don't understand the Tate/Polanski relationship. It's so bizarre. He's so sketchy, and though the rape occurred later on (after Sharon's death, I think), I feel like he's just a dirtbag all around. There must have been some signs that pointed to his dirtbag nature. And apparently there are now NEW rape allegations being brought against him. He's vile. Should've been him and not Sharon (and her BABY). Just sayin'!

    3. Man I hate when pregnant women are killed because I just imagine the baby slowly suffocating inside... I'm not sure if this is how science works but this is how I picture it.

      I know nothing about these rape charges but it's beginning to look like everyone in Hollywood either is a raper or a rape victim eh????

  3. I agree with all of the above. HOW does bloody writing on walls and doors at multiple murder scenes NOT get brought up in discussion?? Quite a detail to overlook.
    I mean, obviously it would have been much harder to solve crimes back then, technology being the main factor there, but come ON. That is an easy connection to make if you're communicating.
    Also, can I just say, thank goodness I don't live in America. Frightening. I can't help but think about all the crime and murder shows I've seen (American Justice, Dateline, and many more) that are based on real people and real crimes. Even the story we are reading; Happened in America. I think its safe to assume there is a high concentration of sickos/psychos running around down there.

    PS sorry I am late to discuss again, pals! I am caught up on the reading though and I'm having trouble putting the book down....MUST. KNOW. MORE.....
    When will the next discussion be? Monday?

    1. yes next discussion Monday! No worries about late replies though. Yeah I have to keep reminding myself that this gruesome crimes actually happened.. Also in a way I guess I'm not surprised they happened in America. Their gun culture / hollywood obsession is still so apparent. I find I've been sailing through the rest of the book too now. The beginning was super dense for me, but now I find I have hit my stride.

  4. Thank you so much for these information on this issue. I wanted to know planning for a baby correctly.There are many good reviews on it and many couples have been using this method to balance their family