Category Archives: True Crime Authors

Charles Manson’s Infectious Evil

A pop-cultural fixture—in life, in prison, and now in death—mass murderer and master manipulator Charles Manson embodied the evil underbelly of the free-loving 1960s. And from his conviction in 1971 for seven counts of murder, to his death Sunday at age 83, California kept him alive.

In her 1979 collection of essays The White Album, Joan Didion recalls late-’60s Los Angeles, “when the dogs barked every night and the moon was always full”—and, of the day after the gruesome Manson murders, “I remembered all of the day’s misinformation very clearly, and I also remember this, and wish I did not: I remember that no one was surprised.”

Born in Cincinnati to a hard-drinking teenage mother, a prostitute who went to prison for robbing a gas station when he was 5, he spent a rocky youth shifting among relatives’ homes, reform schools, and juvenile detention centers. He honed a

Read more at:

Afternoon Links: Pro Se Litigants for the Win, Louise Linton Raked Over the Coals

Occupational Licensing Stinks. At the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf laments the declining right to earn a living. While criticism of occupational licensing is not a new or novel concept (we’ve covered it extensively), I did learn something sort of horrifying: Tree trimmers and cosmetologists in some locales are required to undergo more training than do EMTs.

Pro Se can you see? Pro se litigants are often crazy, and they often waste many a judge’s time with novel legal theories. Sometimes, though, they hit on something big. In South Carolina, they’re dealing with #Sealmageddon: a scandal resulting from the secretary of state’s failure to stamp papers:

For nearly a decade-and-a-half, [Mark] Hammond been failing to perform one of his most basic constitutional duties – affixing the “Great Seal of the State” onto acts and resolutions passed by the S.C. General Assembly.

His failure to perform this ministerial task – which

Read more at:

2013 review: A dive into the psyche of Charles Manson

This review of true-crime author and former Star-Telegram writer Jeff Guinn was originally published on Aug. 6, 2013.

On Aug. 9 and 10, in 1969, the decade that was supposed to be all about peace and love came to a violent end in Los Angeles with the murders of seven people, including actress Sharon Tate, that would go down as one of the most bizarre and fascinating events in the recorded history of American crime.

A band of young, all-American, hippielike followers of a lifelong convict named Charles Manson committed the brutal slayings on his say-so, and details about the crimes and the subsequent trial captured the nation’s attention then and continue to be the source of countless books and TV documentaries as the 44th anniversary of the murders is marked just days from now (August 2013).

In fact, one might think there is absolutely nothing new that could be learned about

Read more at:

The Senate’s Taxing Job

Today on the Daily Standard Podcast, senior writer Tony Mecia talks with host Eric Felten about where tax reform goes now, and the senators who might be hurdles to its passage in the Senate.

The Daily Standard is sponsored by Did you know that the average family visits 5 websites before booking a vacation rental? With, one search lets you filter, compare and sort over 10 million available properties on trusted sites like VRBO, TripAdvisor, and more. Don’t wonder if you’re getting the best deal – you’ll save an average of 18 percent per night by booking your vacation with

This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD’s iTunes podcast feed here.

Read more at:

Prufrock: The Politics of CS Lewis, a Short History of Flash Photography, and Roger Scruton on the Farm

Reviews and News:

Max Deutsch is an amateur chess player with a knack for learning quickly. He wondered if he could beat the world’s best with only a month of training, so he challenged Magnus Carlsen to a match. Carlsen accepted.

“In Carl Schmitt’s masterful but underappreciated essay of 1923, Roman Catholicism and Political Form—written well before his apostasy to Nazism in the early 1930s—Schmitt twice uses precisely the same phrase: ‘the machine has no tradition.’ The repetition seems entirely deliberate and suggests that the idea is near the center of Schmitt’s argument. What does Schmitt mean by this, and what significance does it have for us?”

Roger Scruton on the farm: “A crisp, autumnal morning in the Vale of Malmesbury, 80 miles west of London. Watery skies, clay soil, and gentle hills quilted with the ancient pattern of cows and sheep, hedges and coppices, stone farmhouses

Read more at:

Fact Check: Did the Tehama County Shooter Exploit a Loophole to Obtain His Weapons?

Correction, Nov. 17, 3:27 p.m.: Fact Check originally wrote that state law prohibited Neal from owning or making a gun. In fact, he was prohibited under the Federal Gun Act. The piece has been updated accordingly.


Did Kevin Janson Neal exploit a “legal loophole” to obtain the weapons he used to kill five people in rural northern California on Tuesday?

That was one claim from a report from NBC that featured several incorrect, misleading, or unclear statements.

“Experts say Neal apparently exploited a legal loophole that enabled him to get around California’s tough gun laws,” the article states, “by ordering the parts for a weapon that is illegal in that state — and putting it together at home.”

NBC quotes a retired ATF employee:

“As long as it’s not restricted in the state of their residence and the person is not prohibited, anyone can manufacture a sporting firearm for person[sic] use,” Rick

Read more at:

Suspect Convictions Episode 4: True-Crime Experts Give Case Fresh Look

GLT is partnering with the true crime podcast Suspect Convictions to explore the 1998 murder of 3-year-old Bloomington girl Christina McNeil.

Her father was convicted of the crime but has long maintained his innocence, claiming an ex-girlfriend was the real killer—the same woman later convicted in a separate murder. New episodes air Fridays on GLT’s Sound Ideas. You can also subscribe to the podcast.

On this week’s episode of Suspect Convictions, our reporters expand their storytelling to include new perspective from two expert true-crime investigators who have their own questions about the case.

Suspect Convictions reporters Scott Reeder and Willis Kern pause their own reporting to discuss the first three episodes with Aphrodite Jones and Bob Ruff. Those first three episodes covered the discovery of Christina McNeil’s body in 1998, the prosecution’s case against her father Barton and an explanation from Barton’s attorneys at the Illinois Innocence Project about why they

Read more at:

The Substandard on Murder on the Orient Express, More Chinese Food, and Dowels

On this week’s episode, the Substandard discusses Murder on the Orient Express. Sonny and Vic are on board but JVL calls it a trainwreck! Sonny visits a Chinese buffet, JVL’s watch talks smack, and Vic gets all out of joint talking about dowels. Plus a “Gene” review, rejected Halloween candies, and getting excited for The Post!

The Substandard is sponsored by DonorsTrust. DonorsTrust is the community foundation for the liberty movement. If you want to support groups committed to limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise with your charitable giving, you should learn how DonorsTrust can simplify your giving. Go to right now to get your free Investing in Liberty guide.

This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to the Substandard on iTunes, Google Play, or on Stitcher. Join the Substandard community on Facebook and follow on Read more at:

Judge in Menendez Trial Sends Jurors Home to ‘Clear Their Heads’

The New Jersey judge in Sen. Bob Menendez’s federal corruption trial sent the jury home to “clear their heads” Monday after jurors informed him they were deadlocked on a verdict.

The move was Judge William Walls’s latest attempt to restore order to a high-profile trial that has grown chaotic since a now-excused juror told reporters last Thursday that she thought prosecutors were “railroading” Menendez.

Menendez faces 12 corruption charges over accusations that he sold political access to Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen in exchange for nearly $1 million in trips and personal gifts. Menendez has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Evelyn Arroyo-Maultsby, formerly Juror No. 8, was excused from the jury on Thursday to take a previously planned vacation in the Bahamas. On her way out, however, she claimed she had been prevented from communicating with the judge and that other jurors had wanted to “wait her out” before issuing a

Read more at:

‘Two Merry Geese’

The notion that the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution should be an occasion for serious reflection is apt. Inasmuch as the past is never past (as Faulkner said), the catastrophic outcome of the revolution appears lost to most of our post-moderns.

But . . . there is fun to be had in commemorating the doings of Lenin and Trotsky. Consider the photo below. Occasionally, this silly depiction of the two old comrades pops up.

You’ll have to trust my translations: According to the printing beneath it, the picture purportedly comes from something called the archive of the “Soviet Peoples’ Committee.” It’s dated 22 December 1917, but I imagine that’s probably the date it was supposedly archived, because Leon Trotsky was busy selling out the new regime to the Germans at Brest-Litovsk that day. At any rate, the photo purports to come from the earliest

Read more at: