Photo: Walt Zebowski/AP/Wide World Photos
Remember the young, freckled redhead from the beginning of the story? Her name is Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, and that man was Charles Manson. In an excerpt from her memoirs published by Time magazine, she writes of their first meeting as if it were the beginning of a fairy tale. On August 14, 2009, Fromme, the first woman to attempt to assassinate a president—Gerald Ford—was paroled after serving a life sentence. A member of Manson's notorious "family," she earned the nickname from Manson for her high-pitched voice.
During Manson's trial for the Tate/La Bianca murders in 1969, Fromme—brandishing an X on her forehead—protested the proceedings against her lover. The world learned her name in 1975, when she put a red cloth over her head and pointed a .45 Colt pistol at President Ford. Her reason? Fromme wrote in a a 2005 letter to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "I came to get life. Not just my life but clean air, healthy water and respect for creatures and creation."
But could she really be blinded by love for a psychopath almost 40 years later? She wrote recently: "Manson told me he could give me a natural world. ... He told me that money should work as hard for people as people work for money. He was talking about air and water, land and life."
Dr. Brizendine explains: "When you fall in love with someone, you are hyperempathic with that person. All of your circuits are firing at full speed. It's like a mother with an infant. The same brain circuitry that's wired for mothers to have empathy for nonverbal infants is part of the same circuits linked to the process of falling in love. So, basically, feeling the feelings of another person is part of the mirror neuron system. Every little thing that happens, every sound or light or change in temperature, the mother is almost feeling it for the child so that she can predict and protect that child. So then there's Squeaky, who has probably been in that mode of protection—channeling blind love and empathy for this man—for almost 40 years. But nobody else in society can understand because we're not blinded by the love she's blinded by. Her identity became one with him, and she's seeing the world through Manson-colored glasses."