Today's number 39250. Or 404251. I hate the numbers game. But I play it every year.
The year was 1969. Americans were celebrating the first men on the moon. They were drinking in Richard Nixon as President (Who had narrowly defeated Humphrey the year before. They had gas prices just pennies per gallon. There were rumors of a pending Beatles break-up. And the term "Helter Skelter," although known by Beatles fans, was about to hit the scene with a Vengeance, thanks to a madman.
Forty years ago, this very day...LA was rocked by a death of a talented actress who had been brutally murdered, stabbed over a dozen times. She was only days from being a mother, giving birth to her child. Cryptic messages were written with her blood. Messages like "pig." Messages like "arise." The murders were done by members of a "Cult". A "Family" of a madman. Sharon Tate, only 26, had been brutally murdered, for no apparent reason.
Not long after, Police were called to the home of Leno LaBianca. He and his wife had been murdered. Stabbed. Dozens and dozens of times. On his stomach, the word "WAR." And messages, scrawled in blood. No apparent motive. But a second set of murders, by the same group of people, led by a madman. He would be arrested, sentenced. And he would be blaming the Beatles for writing the music that inspired him, a self-made messiah. This madman, (mad, not insane), nutcase, fruitcake, or whatever people would call him was named Charles Manson. He has spent most of his life in prison. He carved a swastika on his forehead during his trial. And it is likely that he shall never again see the sun shine as a free man.
Although the assassination of Malcolm Little (Malcolm X), JFK, MLK Jr, and RFK were sad footnotes in the age of the 1960s innocence, It was Charles Manson and his "Family" that truly ended the era of "Free Love" with its motto of "Make Love, Not War." The 60s would close in turmoil. The hippies and their psychedelic vans would pass from the scene. The "Flower Child" would vanish from the American tableau, with the exception of the occassional "Throwback." And the divisions that made America in the 60s would become more pronounced. It would lead us to where we are today. That's what the man named Manson did -- As I see it.