Sharon Tate's Sister: Charles Manson Is Dead, but We Shouldn't Breathe a Sigh of Relief Yet

Debra Tate, Sharon Tate's sister, on Charles Manson death
Charles Manson talks during an interview. Reuters

In the wake of the death of notorious murderous cult leader Charles Manson, I would like the public to pause and think a bit about the beautiful lives that were taken from families and friends as a direct result of these massacres that we have come to know as the Tate-LaBianca murders, even though there were others killed between July and September of 1969.

There were 10 victims that we know of—likely more—and their names were Gary Hinman; Sharon Tate Polanski; her baby, Paul Polanski; Jay Sebring; Voytek Frykowski; Abigail Folger; Steven Parent; Leno LaBianca; Rosemary LaBianca; and Donald "Shorty" Shea.

Consider the magnificent possibilities that were robbed from not only myself and my family but all of the victims' families, as well as humanity as a whole. Society seems to be breathing a sigh of relief that this man is gone from this earthly realm. Not me. I am still gravely concerned.

It's important to remember Manson only uttered the words "do something witchy" to his minions, most of whom came from middle-class homes and who had all the opportunities of the "all-American dream" in front of them. But instead of choosing to "do the right thing," they chose to align themselves with this self-proclaimed Christ figure and threw away their own promise, and the promise of many other innocents.

I know this sounds as ridiculous today as it did 47 years ago. It is absolutely baffling that reasonably intelligent individuals (many of whom were college educated) could throw away their futures and buy into the half-baked pipe dream of "Helter Skelter." Is it at all reasonable to believe a group of two-bit criminals could start a race war and then retreat into a hole in the Death Valley desert where they would stay until it was time for them to emerge to rule over the surviving population (people of color, namely), whom they assumed would not be capable of ruling themselves?

So consider: Is this a group of people that should be revered as renegades, urban legends or even dissident unwashed rebels? They were not pioneers of new ideas, or even decent representatives of the anti-establishment. They were simply punks who enjoyed robbing our families of our loved ones, robbing society of its innocence and placing fear in the hearts of people across the globe.

Charles Manson himself was a career criminal living in the streets of California. Nothing romantic or impressive there. As a matter of fact, during his early incarceration we gave him early release—if not for that, he would've been safely tucked away in his cell and unable to rob us all of our innocence. We need to ask ourselves why we don't learn from our mistakes.

However, Manson himself didn't take the lives of our loved ones in those weeks of horror in August 1969. That was done at the hands of Patricia Krenwinkel, Bruce Davis, Bobby Beausoleil, Leslie Van Houten and Charles "Tex" Watson, all of whom are still asking us to forgive them for their lapse in judgment, as if they don't have to be held accountable. I think not.

I believe that each and every one of us needs to be held accountable for our actions. And as far as serial killers are concerned, we must never let these people see the light of day in the free world. They have proven themselves many times to be untrustworthy. We can forgive without forgetting. Please help me help you. If you would like to help keep the Manson Family killers in prison, you can do so by clicking on and signing the petitions.

Debra Tate is a victim's advocate and the sister of actor Sharon Tate, who was murdered by the Manson Family in August 1969. Follow her on Twitter: @debra_tate9.