What’s wrong with California? Last week the state released an updated mug shot of Charles Manson for the world to ponder and pick on:
Manson, 74, is locked away in protective custody, according to Sabrina Johnson, a spokeswoman at Corcoran State Prison in Corcoran, about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Manson has his own cell. His exposure to prison neighbors that include mass killer Juan Corona and Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, is very limited, Johnson said.
Manson and the four “family” members’ death sentences were overturned during the 1970s, when the death penalty laws were ruled unconstitutional. He is quietly serving out his life sentence. Although he once frequently gave bombastic rants on national television, he hasn’t granted a media interview in years.
Manson receives a lot of mail, and many requests from people who want to visit him, Johnson said. He still occasionally sees a few people.
“Over the years, he’s taken some people off the visitor list and put them back on, ” Johnson said. “He has the same rights as any other prisoner.”
California must make it illegal for prisoners to be made into public spectacles. Update the mug shots, but do not release them to the citizenry unless there is a specific, public, need to know.
What is the purpose of releasing a new Manson mug shot if not to titillate public itching and for tickling private fantasies?
Manson has been admired and honored enough through misaligned intentions — and to remind a whole new generation of his bloody, deadly, deeds — is to unfairly reward the sociopathic mentality with attention and fear instead of punishing it with wholesale ignoring and moral verisimilitude.
His dead deserve better.