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Childhood Trauma and Adult Deviant Behavior: Charles Manson

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Charles Manson and the “family” killed several innocent people in the late 1960s to attempt the counterrevolution in the United States. The lead prosecutors on the trial were Vincient Bugliosi and Curt Gentry. They captured worldwide attention from the public and educated society of the brutal murders. The violent period shortly began on 10050 Cielo Drive. Cielo Drive was a secluded house which makes it very vulnerable. The previous owners of the house go by the names Candice Bergen and Terry Melcher. Now the owners of the house are now Sharon Tate and Polanski LaBianca. According to Bugliosi and Gentry the distance from the front of the house to the front gate was nearly 100 feet and the nearest neighbor to 10050 Cielo Drive was 10070 Cielo drive, which was almost 100 meters away. The owners at 10070 Cielo Drive, Mr. and Mrs. Seymour Katt, were already asleep. Mrs. Katt said to have heard “…in close sequence three or four gunshots… between the hours of 12:30 a.m. and 1:00 a.m.” According to Bugliosi, Robert Bullington was on patrol in his vehicle that night and made the call to the police headquarters. The headquarters logged the call at 4:11 a.m. Winford Chapman, the housekeeper for Tate – LaBianca, arrived at the residence around 8:00 a.m. Chapman noticed “…a white rambler parked at an odd angle” and that someone left the outside light on all night. Bugliosi and Gentry state that Chapman found several blood splashes on the walls and pools of blood where the flag pond was. She discovered a body on the lawn and one in the vehicle parked in the driveway. The first body found was a white male, Polanski LaBianca. LaBiance had several puncture wounds to his extremities and torso while his head was beaten in. Bugliosi says, “it is so inconceivable that someone can inflict so much savagery to one human being.” The second body found was a white female, Sharon Tate. Sharon Tate had been stabbed to death. Tate was eight and a half months pregnant and the Manson Family had carved an “x” over the baby. This is a total of three murders, including the unborn child. Atchison and Heide state that “…the Manson murders brought to the end of an era of free love, peace, and happiness”.

Charles Manson spent most of his childhood in neglect and maltreatment. Charles Manson’s mother’s name was Kathleen Maddox. Kathleen Maddox was a 16-year old girl at the time she gave birth to Charles. Manson’s father, whom he never met, was never in the picture (Britannica). His mother, Kathleen, never named him at first. He went by the name “No Name Maddox”. It was not until Kathleen married a gentleman by the name of William Manson that “No Name Maddox” got his full name, Charles Manson. Kathleen was sentenced to prison on a theft charge for robbing a guy who “looked wealthy”. She was in prison for several years until Manson was eight years old. Kathleen was released in 1942. When she was realesed critics say Charles and Kathleen spent many nights with “unreliable men in steamy locales”. His mother was then arrested for the second time under larceny. Manson began to steal from local shops and ended up a ward of the state and sent off to “Gibault School for boys”. Manson was not happy in the reform school and broke out to seek out his mother. His mother took him in, again. O’Neill wrote that during an interview Manson said he had a special hate for women as mothers. Manson ran away from the school and started to rob stores for money. This led to his arrest and was sent to a correctional facility center. Was not long until Manson broke out of the center and continued his string of robberies. He was eventually caught for the third time and sent to “Indiana Boys’ School” at the age of thirteen. Manson claimed that the school sexually assaulted him, raped him, and beat him for all 3 years he spent there. At the age of sixteen, Manson broke out the school with two other boys and stole a vehicle and traveled across state lines. Manson was caught and sent to yet another “Training School for Boys” then to “National Bridge Honor Camp” where he was caught raping a young boy at knife point. After leaving there Manson was sent to several more reform schools and caught on similar offences. In 1954, Manson was declared as someone who had “psychic trauma” and deemed “anti-social”.

It is clear to readers that Manson did not have the most ideal childhood. Research studies show that childhood trauma and childhood neglect can lead to adult deviant behavior. This “idea” shows through Charles Manson’s adulthood life decisions. According to Cudra, Jaffe, Thomas, and Dillo in the article “Child maltreatment and adult criminal behavior”, although there is not an inevitable outcome of child maltreatment, in a recent review of child maltreatment and delinquency highlight a social learning perspective to explain the frequent occurrence of criminal outcomes in adult victims of child maltreatment. The article explains the two different thinking styles that contribute to criminal behavior. The first one style mentioned in proactive thinking. A proactive criminal uses “mollification” this simply means that the human being will use a pattern of justifying and rationalizing criminal behavior by blaming society or others, denying or minimizing the seriousness of the act. One who is engaged in proactive thinking styles will also have a feeling of entitlement or see themselves as special or privileged. Charles Manson was praised, specific followers named: believd he was God and Manson played into the belief believing he was above all others. This shows Manson exhibited traits of a criminal who thought they were entitled. Second dimension of criminal behavior thinking styles is a reactive aggression model. This style was very distinct in the sense a criminal who displayed reactive thinking was one who engaged in antisocial behaviors, eliminate self, or cutoff due to fear and anxiety that deter them from criminal behavior. Stated above by Tom O’Neill Manson was deemed “antisocial” by a psychologist. This proves that Manson also follows the reactive thinking styles of a criminal.

According to the article by Atchison and Heide, a sociological perspective that is highlights in Manson’s case is known as: The General Strain Theory. The General Strain Theory builds on work completed by Emilie Durkheim in his book known as The Rules of Sociological Method. He developed a theory with evidence in a study known as the Durkheim project. According to Durkheim, the objective of the project was to create an elliptical formula that the “social facts” should regarded by the sociological as realities, that is, as having characterizes independent of his conceptual apparatus, which can only be ascertained through empirical investigation and in particularly through external observations by indicators. In Atchison’s and Heide’s research they link General Strain to Durkheim’s Theory on “anomie” which means there is little guidance to individuals. The General Strain is a theory that describes that the failure to achieve positively valued goals is relevant to the disjunction between desire and achievements. The “strain” can be a result through when the positive or negative stimuli is removed from their life. Examples of positive valued stimuli being taken is: lost of a loved one, a friend, parent or a relative whereas negative stimuli is abuse, criminal victimization, physical punishment, negative relationships with friends or partners, verbal threats, noxious odors, negative school experiences, or parental neglect. According to Atchison and Heide, these negative stimuli may result in delinquency behavior. When this happens, the delinquent may attempt to escape the negative factors, take revenge on people who were responsible for the negative stimuli, or terminate the stimuli all together (Atchison and Heide 12). During Charles Manson’s childhood, he has a multitude of negative strain throughout his entire life. As states above by Atchison and Heide, the delinquent may escape negative factors. This shows when Charles Manson was sent to several different boys’ homes or reform schools. Tom O’Neill explained that Charles Manson broke out of the homes more than once escaping the “negative strain” such as assault, rape, and being beat. Atchison and Heide also mentioned the delinquent would get revenge against those who hurt them. Tom O’Neill stated that Charles Manson had a hate especially for women as mothers. This could potentially be a reason he wanted to murder Sharon Tate. Previously stated, Sharon Tate was pregnant at the time of the murders with an “X” carved over the stomach.

Stephan Baron and David Forde in their article, “Childhood Trauma, Criminogenic Social Schemas, and Violent Crime”, state that those who experience various forms of childhood trauma are at increased risk for engaging in criminal behavior in general. This, so far, has been the third article that has supported the idea between trauma and behavior. Baron and Forde propose several criminological perspectives to better understand the link between maltreatment and crime. The following approaches have been utilized to identify important mediating factors that could potentially explain the association between the trauma and behavior: Social Control theory, General Strain Theory, General Theory of Crime, Social Learning Theory, Attachment and Biased Attribution Theories, Situational Action Theory, Rational Choice Theory, and lastly the Social Development Model. Although these theories have proposed significant evidence to support the idea that childhood trauma does lead to criminal behavior, there is issues that come with the proposed approaches. First being, it may be difficult to determine which of the approaches individually help better understand responses to maltreatment (Baron and Forde 1). Secondly, the work may fail to recognize theoretical linkages between mediators meaning the work may fail to represent the understanding in a more complex way of thinking. According to Baron and Forde, the resolution to these key issues lies within the Social Schematic Theory of Crime (SSTC). The Social Schematic Theory of Crime is best defined internalized representations of the pattern’s inherent past social interaction. Baron and Forde explain that offenders (someone who commits an illegal act) often emerge in settings that provide continuous negative contexts and events that involve poor parenting, poverty, crime filled environments and exposure to peers involved in deviant behavior. The article states that these provide “a mutual set of lessons” that foster the idea “social schemas that justify crime” (Baron and Forde 1). Take Kathleen Maddox for an example, she exposed Charles Manson to several places that were considered “unreliable steamy locales”. Branching off on the idea that social crime schemas often stem from poor parenting or bad living situations, that’s all Charles Manson knew. Therefore, his actions from a young age with stealing, even after being caught, raping young boys at the school, and him running away on multiple occasions are all rooted in the idea that “social schemas justify crime” according to the social schematic theory of crime.

Society may know Charles Manson as a notorious psychopath who was a leader in a cult known as “The Family” who murdered several innocent lives over the course of the mid-1900s. The public may not know what an actual psychopath truly means or how their brains are formed physically. According to Schimmenti, Passanisi, Carlo, and Cartti in their article “Abuse in childhood and Psychopathic Traits in a Sample of Violant Offenders” explain the true meaning of what traits it takes to be qualified as a “psychopath”. Psychopathy is labeled as a personality disorder defined by a constellation of interpersonal, affective, and behavioral characteristics. The authors also add that a psychopathic individual may express emotional detachment, deceptiveness, manipulativeness, grandiosity, shallow affects, irresponsibility, impulsivity, parasitic lifestyle, lack of empathy, guilt, or remorse, together they violate social expectations and social norms. Looking into Charles Manson’s cult leadership roles, he was very manipulative in how he got his followers to obey all that he said. Stated before in the movie, The Lost Tapes, Charles Manson’s sense of superiority overpowered individuals giving off the vibe of grandiosity. Manson somehow got his followers to kill for him and do all his dirty work while he never laid a hand on any of the victims. That shows true psychopathic qualities. An individual who is willing to hurt innocent people have physical deficits in their neurology matter. According to Schimmenti, Passanisi, Carlo, and Cartti, neurobioligcal findings are consistent with the hypothesis that child abuse may foster the development of psychopathic traits in vulnerable individuals. To present biologicsl factors Schimmenti, Passanisi, Carlo, and Cartti show that the impact of childhood experiences with abuse have detrimental effects on the corpus callosum and the callosal white volume (apart of the corpus callosum). The corpus callosum connects the left side of the brain to the right side, each side known as a hemisphere; the connection allows information to pass between the two halves. There are studies showing that there is abnormal changes within the corpus callosum that consist of an increase in callosum length and a decrease of callosum thickness. With that said, the authors suggest that these types of abnormalities reflect a different neurodevelopmental process that can derive from early abuse and could be the result of the abnormal transferring of information across the two hemispheres. Resulting in the extreme deficits shown by psychopaths.

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