30 October 2017

Helter Skelter Book Club: Week 5

I felt like I learned a lot more about Manson's personality in this section than the last and he is scary. That scene where Bugliosi's watch stops and Manson is grinning at him was too much, I'd have quit the case.

I find the entire legal system fascinating. Namely, how they can't get information without cutting key witnesses deals, but if they cut them deals they have no one to prosecute. I can imagine how hard these decisions must be for the legal team as they battle between public demands and making a solid case... The treatment of Susan Atkins made me think a lot about Karla Homolka. I think it's disgusting that Atkins is getting a deal, but perhaps they never would have convicted Manson otherwise? It's so hard...

I was also having anxiety about Manson forfeiting his rights to a lawyer after having hundreds come meet with him. Them saying it's "like a bar association convention" in his jail would have killed me if I was Bugliosi. Not only do I hate him mass interviewing lawyers, but I'd love to know where he gets the balls to think he doesn't need one entirely. Then that entire description of him manipulating the lawyers of the girls to remain in control of the family... this entire thing is just too spooky for my liking. I also don't like all the descriptions of Manson "grinning". 

The LAPD are pissing me off again too. First of all, Bugliosi GAVE THEM A LIST. Clearly that list is important to convict Manson so frigging do it!!! I hate that they had barely done anything he needed. I was also so frustrated when that poor man tries to turn in the gun his son found and the LAPD patronizes him like "sir we get too many of these calls each day we can't possibly check on them all"... CHECK you lazy losers. It's no wonder these investigations take so long. 

I am nervous about Bugliosi's plot to use reverse psychology by requesting a speedy trial. I finished right at the end of this section and didn't read on so I'm excited to see how that works out for him. 


  1. I was also HORRIFIED at the watch scene ... can you even imagine?? My stomach would drop. I was also very creeped out by the fact that the Manson family was SO confident that they would all walk free or serve very little time ... it would keep me thinking they had some massive end-of-the-world plan cooking and were just biding their time.
    I have also been really interested in how Bugolosi works as a lawyer. I find there are some professions where people just have this natural talent for. Some of the things Bugolosi thinks up would never occur to me. I love when he talks about how cocky Manson is and how he would love to go on stand just to preach to everyone listening ... and so then Bugolosi starts filling notebooks of questions for Mason if this ends up the case.

    1. I agree- the confidence was disgusting. Bugliosi is right though there's no way a dude like that doesn't take the stand.

  2. Ughhh. Contrasting the way Bugliosi describes Susan Atkin’s revelations of the murder and knowing that she’s given a deal (like, as you said, Karla Homolka), makes me feel sick. That’s the problem with the system. You need to build the evidence, but sometimes it’s not as black and white as you need it be. Certainly not as substantive as something like Atkins’ admission. I wish you could offer them a deal and then take it back because fuck that. People like that are obviously deranged and sick. The fact that the jury needed a break following her testimony, and that they were rattled by her nonchalant nature points to how twisted she is.

    Also speaking to the system, how fucked up is it that lawyers are crawling over Manson to have a chance to be his counsel? All - more than likely - for a chance to rise to fame for being close to him.

    Also, I find it interesting that despite having a very matter-of-fact writing style that Bugliosi would write something like this: “...Head slightly cocked to the side, as if sensing voices that no one else could.” I found this particularly interesting because it’s planting seeds of mental illness without any merit/evidence. Granted, I see why he does it; Bugliosi wants to show just how unreliable Atkins appears, and how he’s uncomfortable building his case around someone like this. It just felt out of place in the way it was delivered in comparison to everything else he's written in his typical clinical style. Like... are you F. Scott Fitzgerald? Cool it, Bugliosi.

    I high key wish I was at this trial so bad. It's so interesting and there are so many layers to it.

    1. ok that's so funny kenan I didn't even clue in to him suggesting mental illness... I also wish you could take deals back. we owe these assholes NO respect.