Maybe to put things in some sort of perspective Leslie Van Houten, a member of the Manson clan recently came up for parole – her 21st appearance before the parole board to be exact.
After four plus decades the parole board made a favorable recommendation.
Manson, who wasn’t personally physically involved in the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca or Sharon Tate was likewise convicted.
No one can legitimately deny Peltier’s, a member of the Bank$/AIM clan, presence or involvement in the murder of federal agents Williams and Coler either by the preponderance of evidence or statements made by him over time.
Yet much is made of the amount of time Peltier has served as though it is groundbreaking – that it is inhumane.
Seems to me murder can’t be said to be humane, nothing humane about shooting a wounded person in the face at point blank range.
Should Peltier be granted some form of release or clemency that’s the way it will be much the same if any of the Manson clan members or Manson himself were to be released – but neither parole or clemency alters the reality that lives were taken and in the end people will come down on the side of what they perceive to be justice.
As part of this personalization a person should be asking themselves what would their position be if it were a family member or loved one whose life was taken? Some may be more forgiving than others.
Forgiveness and or clemency I believe are predicated on acknowledging a wrong committed and some attempt to make amendments.
Making a amends is more difficult when it comes to murder, I’m not sure it’s even possible – but remorse isn’t, nor accepting responsibility, none of which Peltier has displayed or attempted.
So if the argument for releasing Peltier is to be taken seriously what is the criteria?
Are the survivors of victims advocating for his release?
Is it the amount of time served?
Has he acknowledged wrong doing, sought forgiveness, or so much as offered an apology?
Van Houten did and has for a number of years.
On the contrary he has embraced the myth generated for him, laid claims to being a political prisoner, been caught in lie after lie, and when caught in a lie admitted he was in fact present and involved in the shootout though for some obscure reason as a “warrior” he claims to have only shot in the generally direction of the agents and not at anyone specifically.
Well, here’s the reality, Manson didn’t specifically kill anyone, yet the law says as the “leader” who urged others to he is equally responsible and he is where he legally and morally belongs – behind bars.
Manson wasn’t present at the scene of the crimes, by his own admission Peltier was, and in fact again by his own words was shooting.
The “leader”, think about that for a moment – isn’t it part and parcel of Peltier’s resume? Hasn’t he always cast himself as sort of an AIM leader even to the point of being upper echelon and a “hero” for his involvement at Jumping Bull?
Peltier can advance whatever claims he likes about his “innocence”, but it isn’t only his “leadership” and proximity to actual events but his participation that landed him behind bars with two consecutive life sentences and an additional seven years for escape in which another life was lost.
I don’t know about Van Houten, forty plus years is a long time, but it’s also a long time for the LaBianca’s to be in the grave, just as forty years is a long time for Williams and Coler to be in the grave and their families to be without them.
Would the release of Van Houten or Manson right the scales, promote “healing”?
Guess you’d have to ask the survivors of their victims that question, and the same would be true of the survivors of Peltier’s victims.
Would the release of Peltier promote healing among the nations as some claim?
I don’t believe so as more than one wound inflicted upon the nations came from Peltier and AIM.
But I don’t image they would be willing to begin the process by addressing those wounds.
On the political landscape the issue of behind closed door paid for speeches has been raised, and rightfully so to my way of thinking.
Yet the context of these speeches have not been released, the question is if they contain nothing incriminating then why not?
The same can be said of Peltier’s parole boarding hearing transcripts and disciplinary records – why won’t they be made public if there is nothing to hide when all it requires is Peltier’s signature to release them?