AS hatred and violence seem to increase throughout the country now, I couldn’t help but think of the correlation when I read a story in Thursday’s Herald about the Charles Manson killing spree 50 years ago.

Manson was the cult-like figure who led a group of young hippies who killed actress/Playmate model Sharon Tate and many others in 1969 in the Los Angeles area.

It was shocking because so-called hippies at that time generally professed the make-love-not-war attitude and participated in peaceful protests. Wear some flowers in your hair while you drop acid seemed like a rational thing, right?

But Manson was evil incarnate. His group just didn’t kill people, they tortured and terrorized them first. They were the sickest-of-sick murderers.

Manson followers were in the news recently at the 50th anniversary of the killings, and there could be parole hearings again. Manson died in 2017, and some others have also passed away in prison.

Stephen Kay, who prosecuted the case as a young attorney, has always fought their release at more than 60 parole hearings over the years. 

I recently saw a documentary on the Manson killings and how prosecutors and defense attorneys all faced death threats during the tense trials.

No, the killings we see today are motivated by various stimuli, just as was the Manson clan. But in 1969 they didn’t have the weaponry that is available to mass murderers today. If so, you can bet there would have been a lot more dead.

While 1969 was a wonderful year, mentioned several times in various songs, that so-called “Summer of Love” was shattered by the Manson clan.

May he not rest in peace. If there is a Hell, may he rot there forever.

• But it’s not just mass murders that create fear in this country, we are often reminded of the increased rate of sexual predation.

A Herald front-page story Thursday explained how police are sweeping the area for Megan’s Law offenders, filing charges against those who have not registered their place of residence or employment as required.

It was almost alarming to see the number we have in this area — 332 total sex offenders in Mercer County. That includes 56 living in Sharon, the most of any municipality in Mercer County.

If not depressing enough, Wednesday’s Herald told of Pennsylvania’s clergy abuse hotline that received 1,862 calls in its first year of operation. Now remember, these all won’t pan out to be true, but it is still disturbing.

No matter how you look at it, evil comes in many forms. If only it would have died with Charles Manson this world would be a much better and safer place to live.

LYNN SATERNOW of The Herald writes this column each week for The Opinion Page. He can be reached at