Letter to the Editor: Time is against cult leaders

Dear Editor,

Charlie Manson and Donald Trump have several things in common. Both have initiated violent crimes that neither man was directly involved in, yet these crimes would not have happened except for their planning, brainwashing, and encouragement. This is known as “vicarious conspiracy,” while they share “vicarious liability,” or responsibility.

Part of Manson’s brainwashing efforts involved the name of a Beatles song, “Helter Skelter.” Manson envisioned a coming race war that he called The Helter Skelter. Black people were going to rise up and kill most of the white people. Manson and his “Family,” however, were going to find a hole in the Mojave Desert that leads to an underground city. They were going to hide there for two-hundred years. Their bodies would not age.

After the blacks killed most of the whites, they would not know how to run the world, so they would call on Charlie and his Family to reemerge and run things. Charlie’s policy would be “Love, love, love,” perhaps forgetting the seven Tate and LaBianca murders, plus other murders, rapes, stealing, lying, manipulation and intimidation, fraud, and so forth. The idea was to commit some horrendous and extremely well publicized, gory and bloody murders, and have white people believe that black people had done it, thus initiating The Helter Skelter.

The Helter Skelter was crazy and bizarre, but not so different than Trump’s conspiracies about evil minded voting machines manipulated by liberals and Chinese spies, and bus loads of liberal dead people voting multiple times. Related to this, Covid is a hoax involving the nanotechnology of magnetized bamboo strips in vaccines that can control the way people think, and this is being aided by CRT, Joseph McCarthy was right, and climate change ain’t happening.

Sixty-five courts have thrown out Trump’s suits over the 2020 elections, and over a million fatalities from Covid would seem to prove that the virus really is dangerous.  Though Manson operated on the small scale of a few dozen followers to terrify Los Angeles, and Trump operates in a considerably larger sphere, it’s hard to tell which man is crazier.

Now to Wyoming. August 16, Primary Day, will essentially be, by proxies, a referendum for or against Donald Trump, and all the conspiracies related to him. Liz Cheney will face off against Trump acolyte Harriet Hagman. This is an existential tug of war for the state, and the whole world is watching. As the Congressional hearings have plainly shown, the Insurrection of January 6, 2021, was coordinated with continuous right-wing radio, television, and internet lies and brainwashing, and hate-in rallies. Trump encouraged his followers to come to Washington; “It will be wild!”

Trump was not actually at the Capitol on January 6, deciding instead to watch the insurrection on television; he preferred not to be there. Manson had scouted out the murder sites on Cielo and Waverly Drives, but he was smart enough not to be at either address during the gory killings; he preferred not to be there.

A cult consists of a charismatic leader, some assistants, and a psychologically controlled mass of followers. There must be goals, enemies and fear. There are means of coercion, like knives and guns, starvation, humiliation and torture. There is control, like isolation from opposing points of view, some rewards, constant engagement, and a feeling of togetherness. There must be a collection of powerful myths, more or less provable, but these are ultimately dependent upon faith, creative twists, lies, and ignorance.

Remarkably, in the early part of Manson’s life sentence, he sometimes received two-hundred letters per day, mostly asking advice or praising him and even paying him!  As the years passed, however, the number of letters greatly decreased.

“The Art of the Deal,” published in 1987, was ghost written for Trump. About 1995 I read it, and re-read it one or two times. Trump seemed to be so practical. He sounded as though he had been everywhere, he knew everyone and had important meetings all the time. He related effortlessly with people high and low. He especially praised workers and small business people, while disparaging many people in government (poor Ed Koch) and big entrepreneurs. He was smarter than everyone, yet so relatable to struggling individuals, like me. Eventually I noticed some of the things he was leaving out, like his bankruptcies and divorces, his dodging the draft, not paying contractors and screwing people continually, but it took time.

Tom Gagnon

Rock Springs


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