1987 Charles Manson interview

  • Charlie Manson: I think the public is full of it. They're a bunch of ants that want to eat me up, and they feed on fear, and things they're insecure about they want to blame on someone else, like a bunch of chickens pecking at each other. Well, I fell up underneath the pecking order, and I was convicted for being the father of this country. I was convincted for being Jesus Christ and the devil. Now if that makes any sense to your reality, public, you know there's something missing in your world. You can't blame someone for nine mayhem murders. Unless you want to say that I have laid plot and design to destroy you. And I'm working to save my air, my water, my trees, and my wildlife. And I'm trying to do away with society. I tried to stop Nixon, and I stopped him dead in his tracks. I tried to stop the Vietnam war, and I did it. And all the things I did, I did without breaking the law. Because your law's 1776, you got jet airplanes going 6,000 miles an hour, and you're reading books that was written on the backs of horses. Why don't you tell the public what's really going on? Why don't you tell them the water's so bad that fish can't live in it? Why don't you tell them the polar caps are melting because you're creating so much heat with this machine, you see what I'm saying? [...] You won't face the fact that there's a holy war moving upon the planet earth. You couldn't see the blood splattered all over the walls? Now you say you want to blame one guy for it. I've seen it, I witnessed it go by. I've seen the children, what they were trying to do, and I was sympathetic with them. But you might say I'm the devil in this respect: I never broke anyone's circle with breaking will in any respect whatsoever. I just watched the shit flow downstream.
  • Interviewer: From your words, as Mr. Evans quotes them in this book, it's clear that you were guilty of murder, and yet, he says in all his conversations with you, he never heard you express any remorse. Have you never felt it?
  • Charlie: Remorse for what? You people have done everything in the world to me, doesn't that give me equal right? I can do anything I want to you people at any time I want to, because that's what you've done to me! If you spit in my face and slap me on the mouth and throw me in solitary confinement for nothing, what do you think's going to happen when I get out of here? What do you think's going to happen to you? The things that you create in here...
  • Interviewer: So you don't feel guilty at all?
  • Charlie: There's no need to feel guilty. I haven't done anything I'm ashamed of. Maybe I haven't done enough, I might be ashamed of that, for not doing enough. For not being more perceptive, for not being aware enough. For not understanding, for, uh, being stupid. ...Maybe I should have killed four or five hundred people, then I would have felt better. Then I would have felt like I really offered society something.
  • Interviewer: Have you never felt remorse for the crimes you committed?
  • Charlie: What crimes? I told you, I haven't committed any crimes, I don't break laws. Ther'es no need to break the law. Why should I break the law? I'm in god's will. [...] Do you feel guilty? Do you feel guilty for the thousands and millions of Indians you destroyed? Do you feel guilty for the gas chambers where you've killed the jews? Do you feel guilty for the timeless, endless... how far can you go back, and say feel guilty of what? Guilty of what? There's no need to be guilty. You're going to make me suffer until I say 'okay, I feel guilty?' Do you feel secure now that I feel guilty? Was that going to make you feel better, if I feel guilty? Guilty, hmm... I wouldn't do anything that I'd feel guilty about.
  • Interviewer: The book says you get a lot of mail from people who want to follow you still.
  • Charlie: Follow me? Did you have any choice? You'll all follow me. (laughs) You know, the gate's open, you know, do your thing, man, here, give 'em some coke. All Charlie's friends get free coke. Give 'em cocaine, let them go, man. They want to commit suicide, get some suicide parlors out there and let all them self-destructive idiots go. All the people that want to live, stop cutting down trees and stop polluting the ground. You dig? Let's clean up the world we live in, you know? ...Hey, hey, hey, how you doing? You still in there? Is anybody there? (laughs)
  • Interviewer: And you say you never could have, in the world, as many followers as you have because of the sensationalism—?
  • Charlie: I've never had any followers, I had a lot of friends. They weren't followers, they were friends. They were people that, we would sit down and were honest with. We smoked grass, and we would sit in a circle and look at candles. You know, there were no followers, there were no leaders. It's just a bunch of intelligent people trying to put some order into their existance. They're trying to get out from underneath what their parents left them. They're trying to get unlocked from the second world war. They're trying to get out from the burning monk that's in the street burning himself to death because there's—something's not right, something's off balance. Did you ever take it back upon yourself to say that you're responsible for helter skelter? Did Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman and Dr. Timothy Leary take any responsibility for the children that they say that I influenced? You know, you want to drop the blame on Charlie and say that it's all Charlie's fault.
  • Interviewer: What did you do?
  • Charlie: I do the best thing that I know how. Nothing. I fucked, I played music, and I smoked a little grass now and then, because it helps me, and I like to relax with it. That's about it. ...I don't see anything wrong with drugs, drugs are alright if you don't misuse them. And if you misuse them and you're misinformed about them, then you make a big, bad thing about them. And that's what the public has done. [...] You know, if I wanted to kill somebody, I'd take this book and beat you to death with it, and I wouldn't feel anything. It would be just like walking to the drugstore. [...] But yet you want to come and say 'do you feel to blame? Are you mad? Uh, do you feel like (gibberish)?' Why don't you blame your little babies?
  • Interviewer: This is a— this is a very—
  • Charlie: I've got to take a shit, would you excuse me? Hey, you don't mind if I'm direct and to the point, do you?
  • Interviewer: Not at all...
  • Charlie: It don't take me that for me to tell you that you're about ten pounds overweight.
  • Interviewer: Thanks.
  • Charlie: (laughs) I thought I could be honest with you.