A post really meant for the “What If” Department Store of Life [another store, no doubt, Charlie would have had Mary and Sandy skulk into, to buy stuff on a stolen credit card while the rest of the principal Family members sliced, diced and julienned their way into the criminal history books].
But my imagination has always fed thoughts in me that in the wee hours of many a night, when mere outsiders like us are sound asleep in our oh so safe beds, the really affected, surviving family members of this Cielo slaughter - Paul, Doris, Patti & Debra Tate - would have laid awake, utterly haunted, wondering all sorts of “Whys”.
Now, I’m sure they had more detailed inside information than we do even today, as to why Sharon didn’t at least attempt an escape from that Living Room that night, and maybe, hopefully, for them, there never was any need for this particular questioning torment.
I really DO hope that’s the case and that I’m wrong even in pondering this question.
So, maybe to allay just the outsider thoughts in me, I will play Sherlock for a while and attempt to analyse why it was that we see no evidence of Sharon attempting to escape as Gibby and Voytek had.
The Main or Front Porch exit to the East, the one Voytek used to flee;
The Servants or Kitchen exit to the NNW, the one Mrs Chapman used to enter and exit that house, that day, fleeing in complete hysterics;
The Master Bedroom/French Doors-to-Pool exit, on the South side, the one Gibby stumbled through in abject pain, with Broken-Buck knife-wielding Katie hot in pursuit;
And the lesser known Living Room exit, noted here by a LIME GREEN CIRCLE, on the West side of the house, that faced the hillside surrounding the back side of 10050 Cielo Drive.
We know Sharon, like Gibby and Jay, had a noose around her neck, and although Jay was gunned down too fast to even contemplate a get-a-way, Gibby managed to break free of her confines and head for the nearest exit, which in her mind, was the French Doors in the Master Bedroom, strange as though it may seem to Us because I believe she may have been closer to the Front door in terms of footage but I do think an out-of-control-Bayonet-wielding Tex, a WWF wrestling match between Voytek and Sadie on the floor and those two blue steamer trunks lay in her way on that exit, so the due-South escape route was to her the only semi-“safe” next best thing. Somehow or for some as yet publicly unknown reason, Gibby like Sharon, mysteriously forgot about or chose not to use the Living Room Exit.
One wonders if there was a valid reason no one used this exit. Was this exit at one point destroyed, the blueprints of the house not accurate by the time the Tate-Polanski's resided there? Was there furniture up against this door that made its use impossible? Or in the scuffle, confusion and shock, was that exit just plain forgotten about, the inhabitants just not accustomed to using this exit on an everyday basis?
Regardless, Gibby broke free and at least had options where it seems Sharon did not. Sadly though, Gibby only managed to get as far as the Queen Anne chair to the entrance of the bedroom hallway before Katie slashed at her, yelling at Tex to help her in her attack, enabling him to get in one very good, very deep and very deadly stab into her lower abdomen, that began the profuse internal bleeding, that had Gibby clutching desperately at her stomach as she stumbled towards the Master Bedroom , ripping through those French doors that led her to her final resting place under that Lodge Pole pine.
So, why, if Gibby could break free, couldn’t Sharon?
Was the rope, by the time it reached Gibby’s neck, just too short to properly tie enough times around her neck? Had Tex been lax in the tautness of Gibby’s noose compared to that of Sharon’s? Did the Speed Tex was on affect his ability to tie both women in the same manner somehow?
Or, all things considered even, did Sharon go into such a deep shock from what she had seen and heard that her brain had her basically paralyzed with fear?
All of us react differently to the same severely stressful situation – the Fight or Flight Syndrome as it’s known. Some of us will also become precision decision makers in times of crisis; whereas others, in the same situation, will freeze with fear, almost to the point of becoming catatonic. And being pregnant, having one’s focus not on yourself but on your unborn child, would that create a kind of third behavioural instinct where the normal choice of Flight in Sharon was replaced with a need to Fight for the life of her baby through negotiation with these intruders because physically she knew running would get her dead?
Voytek, in my opinion, basically did what was pretty much, by then, his instinct. Surviving the horrors of Nazi Germany in Poland, I’m sure the need to immediately react to the dangers of Life was engrained in the man decades earlier. The only question I have ever had in that regard is why Voytek did not try and free the others, why did he instead choose to try and escape on his own instead of taking the women with him? That, by the way, is NOT an indictment on the man, for God knows what exactly he experienced mentally and bodily, as we well know his wound numbers were in the over-kill number. It may have been that in order to survive at all, in order to help anyone there in any real way, his mind decided that to flee and find help on his own was the only recourse, that to stay in that room one minute longer in an attempt to free Gibby and Sharon would surely end up in death, for everyone.
No one, of course, can know for sure and I see Voytek only as a victim who tried to do his best.
Nevertheless, it does sadden my heart that neither he nor Jay were able to become a tag team to down these kids, to at least subdue Tex, for if they had managed to overpower “The Devil”, the Girls’ impetus to “kill for Charlie” would have fallen like a house of cards in my learned opinion and they would have easily chickened out, dropping their knives as fast as you can squeal the word “PIG” and running back to the car like the “scaredy-cats” they were without a manly maniac to lead them. All the residents inside the Main House at 10050 Cielo Drive then would have surely survived.
Jay obviously underestimated Tex. But then again, what is the right move when a armed man enters your house, high as a kite on Speed, wielding a bayonet and Buntline, and you see the love of your life, heavy with child, being thrown stomach-first onto the floor? Maybe it wasn’t so much that Jay underestimated Tex but that Jay paid no real mind to Tex in his rush to protect Sharon. As I have mentioned in a previous piece on the movements of Jay [“Wouldas, Couldas, Shouldas…The Blow-By-Blow Movements of Jay at Tate…”], in that house, on that night, my heart lies heavy in the knowledge that in that Master Bedroom Jay did not choose to a) over-power Sadie when she first confronted the pair with her flimsy Buck knife #110; nor b) push Sharon and himself out those French doors instead of assuming this was a friendly prank and proceed as ordered to the Living Room and to their deaths.
He could have taken Sadie down easily, in my opinion, high on Speed or not. Slightly built, with an utterly unfocused mind and rife with fear, Jay’s marshal arts experience, just being a larger build, and not stoned out of his mind like the Sexy Sadie, it would have been done and Sharon and Jay would have been gone before that dumb broad ever knew what was what.
That singular, decisive move, well before meeting up with Tex in the Living Room, could have saved both their lives.
Monday night quarterbacking…on murder…*sigh*…I know. Like that helps anyone now, right? But it’s difficult not to want to re-hash, to desperately find a solution, a good outcome, if you ever have spent even a moment so wishing this blood-bath had never occurred.
Gibby, well, it’s just amazing to me she had the fortitude to react at all. Maybe her time working in Watts/West L.A., etc. helped her to reason and react to what she saw as an unwinnable situation if she stayed put and that to flee at all costs was seen by her as the only recourse. I’m no Coroner but I believe it was that lower abdomen stab, wound#8, done by Tex’s bayonet near the Queen Anne chair, that caused her to initially bleed internally, and fatally, making certain failure in her attempt to escape. By the time she ran to the front lawn, and with her heart undoubtedly pumping viciously, she would have lost an incredible amount of blood and with it the strength to continue down the slope to the neighbours below, dizziness, momentary blacking-out and excruciating pain over-taking her, allowing Katie, then eventually Tex, to catch up with her and finish the Gibby “Project” once and for all.
I can see the ends for both Jay – shot, kicked and stabbed well before any thought of tactical offence could enter that poor man’s head – and Voytek - just too stoned to be much help to anyone and too beaten about the head to run fast and with any purpose to escape. And poor Gibby – just too petite and stabbed too deep, right from the start, to have any real chance to successfully flee. Steve Parent – known not to a soul in that Main House, dead as dead can be, well before this Manson Massacre ever got to full speed. But I cannot complete the scene on Sharon, the last to be attacked, with minutes totally alone at one point in that Living Room and then with only the ever-so-slight-and-ever-so-stoned Sadie, and seemingly, according to that killer-chick, not an aggressive move was made during this entire time by this soon-to-be-a-Mother and very healthy starlet. She had no booze nor drugs in her system, yet we do know she hadn’t been feeling up to snuff that day, most likely because of the heat and the late-month pregnancy exhaustion. But she obviously had the fortitude to attend dinner down in the valley earlier in the evening and seemed by the witnesses at the el Coyote to be alert and physically well right up to the time of departure. Sadie states that Sharon was sitting up in bed talking with Jay just before they were encountered by her so there is no indication that Sharon was not well enough to act if action was needed.
By what we know of Sharon, her personality was not that of a wall-flower, and coming from an Army family, that makes perfect sense. “Army brats” are rarely a weak bunch, emotionally or physically, so the question of why Sharon reacted not one iota to everything that was going on around her, including witnessing deadly attacks on her friends, leaves such a gaping hole as per our understanding of her train of thought in the last moments of her life. We do know she tried to negotiate with Tex (once he returned to the Living Room, having just finished off Voytek and Gibby), to keep her alive, as their hostage, at least and until she gave birth to Paul Richard. Was there something in her that said these killers could be made to see a compromise concerning her and her baby? Had Sadie said something to Sharon, privately, that was never revealed by that raven-haired vixen, to make Sharon think such a thing? Had Sadie ranted on about how valued babies were at the Ranch and in The Family, had she given Sharon hope that she, because she was with child, could very well be kept alive? Had Sadie lied to Sharon, saying the “real” reason they were there was to take possession of Sharon’s baby for The Family?
Basically, I just cannot buy that shock alone and that loosely tied noose were what caused Sharon not to move a muscle.
OR…unlike Gibby, maybe Sharon’s noose wasn’t loose at all? We see in the Autopsy photos of Sharon that the rope seemed very tightly wrapped around her neck but that condition could have been caused by the body bloating in the heat prior to discovery. Or as mentioned above, maybe Tex got it right with Jay and Sharon and just plain ran out of rope to tie Gibby securely. In that scenario, I guess we all have to conclude that Sharon had no option; yet, it’s in that possibility that starts anew the shivers in me. I, We, want Sharon to have had a chance, even if, like the others, her chance failed.
To have to sit on that couch, for God knows how many minutes (and minutes in situations like this go on for YEARS) with that smelly and STD-foot-pus-oozing Sadie (it was because of this oozing foot pus that Sadie chose to go without shoes because to wear them caused her such pain…poor, poor diseased dolly), knowing full well what would be your end, judging by what you have just witnessed as the ends of your now dead friends, must have been complete Hell on Earth. And to this day, we are all sadly left clueless, as the killers never accurately filled in the details of those final minutes of Sharon’s life. No Sense definitely Made NO Sense this time, as to why, really, she had to die. It was already known to Tex that the goal of $600 would not be met by the residents of 10050, and yes, he was ordered by Charlie to kill every person along Cielo Drive that night until he came up with six big ones, but Sharon, unlike the others, had not even tried to fight back nor to escape, she was pregnant, slight, not a combatant and easily over-powered. There should have been no reason to kill her and every reason to at least take her hostage until the baby was born. Tex “claimed” they did not realize she was pregnant before they killed her, which I don’t buy, given that Sadie readily admits to knowing, and not caring, whether Sharon or her baby lived or died. I get the “leave no witnesses” excuse but given that Sharon could have been killed after the baby was born makes this a moot point to me. But I will admit that being high, being bloody and being oh, so exhausted from hacking and slashing might have put a damper on normal Family choices.
IF Charlie had been there that night, would Sharon have been killed? Charlie had a weakness for children, would he have felt a twinge of guilt in killing a foetus so close to delivery? Would Sharon and Paul Richard have had a chance if the Little Dude had been there to run the show instead of Tex?
For what it’s worth – my opinion – I think so. [Sadly, this admission will get the ATWA-cheering Charliemites a-quiver with joy, citing another “reason” why Charlie is nothing if not angelic.]
Yet we do have evidence to suggest that Charlie had no balls in destroying kids and the fact that he would have been far less high on drugs (and certainly not on Speed, for he detested the stuff), suggests to me Sharon may have had a chance with The Soul. If you ever want to see what I see, in terms of the level of danger Tex Watson possessed then and still does, one can singularly cite this final scene at Cielo Drive, where to Tex, life of any kind, save for his own, always meant nothing. It is readily known that all the fatal wounds on those two nights of killing were dealt solely and directly by Tex and his trusty bayonet, not by the swipes and superficial slashes, nor the after-death giggly stabs the Girls gave out. When you do the body count in TLB, you need only to look to Charles Denton “Tex” Watson. We can’t even be sure Manson dealt any kind of direct fatal blow on Shorty Shea and we know his shooting Lotsapoppa was only meant as a way to escape for Manson and not meant as premeditated murder. [Noooo, Charliemites, that does NOT get Your Man in the free and clear for NONE of these murders would have ever occurred but for the conspiratorial and creative vengeance of one Charles Milles Manson.]
I just can’t help but wonder…Sharon…
Another Living Room exit, minutes utterly alone, no wounds at all until the end. I just always wanted Sharon to have tried, even if trying still meant failure and I’m sure, embarrassing as it is to admit, I want that more for myself and my peace of mind than even for her. I want her not to have felt what the Medical Coroner described as “Multiple stab wounds of chest and back penetrating heart, lungs and liver causing massive hemorrhage.” I want Paul Richard to have kids of his own, a house on the hill with cars parked out in the searing Los Angeles sunshine, he himself getting on in years, well appreciating the life he was given by Roman and his Mom.
If wishes were horses, the well-kept Bentley is still Sharon’s chariot in London, shopping at Harrods's today, she was, buying baby clothes for her soon-to-be-born first great grandchild.
Sharon, why didn’t you flee?
The Dead, as it turns out, don’t talk to me.