By Kathryn Casey
Guess what boys and girls. While we've all been wondering what's going on with Susan Atkins, if her brain tumor will take her life or if she'll live long enough to perhaps get out of prison on parole this September, another Manson groupie has been quietly easing her way out of prison. Enter Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, the Mansonite who held a gun on then-president Gerald Ford. Of course, the gun was empty. Zilch bullets. And her motive? Well, Squeaky says she just wanted to talk to him, and, heck, why would he listen unless she held him at gunpoint?
In all honesty, on one level, I don't have a big problem with Fromme's release. She was twenty-six at the time of the quasi-assassination attempt, she's served thirty years, and from all appearances she never intended Ford any real harm. But that's just part of the story.
On another level, Fromme is frightening. While the other Manson followers have distanced themselves from their former leader, Fromme continued to avow her loyalty to the deranged death monger. She's never, to my knowledge, recanted her devotion to Manson. For years, she didn't even ask for parole, presumably because she knew she wouldn't get it while still pledging her support to such a hated, evil figure in American crime history.
At one point, in December 1987, Fromme actually escaped from prison for a couple of days. When caught, she said she'd gone on the lam to attempt to get closer to Manson, who's serving a life sentence in California's legendary San Quentin.
I'm kind of wondering if she's now changed her mind? The articles I've seen are unclear on whether Fromme's release was a parole granted because it had to be under federal law (Fromme had a life sentence for the attack) or if Fromme, now 60, has earned parole by finally swearing off Manson, no longer talking about the man who orchestrated the murders of Sharon Tate and eight others as the second-coming.
Whatever is going on behind the scenes, Fromme's release is scheduled for August 16th, from the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, TX. It's also unclear why she's in a medical/mental health facility.
So the question is: Will this start a mass parole of the Manson followers? Probably not. My guess is that parole boards understand there's a difference between actual murder and threatening a president with an unloaded gun.