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The death of Charles Manson, one of the most notorious mass murderers of all time, in prison at the age of 83, is significant in one sense: His life and crimes remind us that there is evil in this world.
Objective evil exists and sometimes walks among us as a person or even a movement — Hitler, Stalin, ISIS, Jim Jones, Charlie Manson.
And sometimes we must answer evil — with force, with good, with the desire to protect that which is good and people who are good.
But first we must recognize the existence, and the allure, of people like Manson.
Manson led a cult of nihilism and violence whose members literally worshiped him and gave him total obedience. His “Manson Family” executed two mass murders in August,1969, that Manson planned. Seven people were killed in their homes.
The killings began on Aug. 9, 1969, at the home of actress Sharon Tate and her husband, film director Roman Polanski, who was not at home. The first set of victims were Tate, who was eight months’ pregnant and four others. The next evening, two more murders took place. In two nights the killers inflicted 169 stab wounds and seven .22-caliber gunshot wounds. The word “pig” was written in the victims’ blood on the walls of one home and the front door of the other. The words Helter Skelter (misspelled as Healter) were also scrawled in the victims’ blood. The prosecutor said Manson wanted the Black Panthers to be blamed for the killings, which he hoped would start a race war.
A hidden video from 2014 has recently come to light that shows two nurses in a Georgia nursing home laughing as a World War II veteran, James Dempsey, gasped for breath, called for help, and died while in their care.
That’s not evil on a par with Manson, who was a pure manifestation of evil. But it is evil.
Real, objective evil exists, and if we are to fight it, we must first acknowledge it and its power.
We must also hope there is a hell.
Just as we fervently hope there is a place in heaven for the good who do good and whom we love, we must hope that there has long been a special place in hell reserved for Charles Manson — a man who bred psychopaths in his own image; people who would kill just for the sake of the suffering they inflicted and the bloodshed they caused.
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