Thursday, August 06, 2009

Squeaky To Go Free

On August 16, just ten days from now, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromm will be leaving prison after thirty four years. Squeaky got a life sentence for attempted murder of the President of the United States when she wave a pistol at Gerald Ford one day back in 1975.Her supporters, of which there were few outside of her lawyer, and perhaps Larraine Newman who, as I recall, portrayed her on Saturday Night Live, always claimed that Squeaky knew very well how to use a gun and if she had really wanted to shoot the President, she would have pulled the trigger. That’s not much of a defense, especially when the gun is loaded.


It was too bad, Squeaky had started out in life as a child dancer who appeared on the Lawrence Welk show. Perhaps it was this horrifying experience which sent her off to Venice Beach where she met and began traveling with Charlie Manson. Looking back on her life, she would probably want a do over on that decision, but hey, it was the 60s.It was during Manson’s trial for the murder of actress Sharon Tate that Fromm (who camped outside the courthouse) carved the distinctive “X” onto her for head, a look, which despite its seeming potential, never really caught on. Fromm was around another murder a couple of years later but was the only member of the house that was not arrested. She then changed her name to “Red”, her roommates name was “Blue” and began to get concerned about California Redwoods. That was what she had gone down to talk to Gerald Ford about that day in Sacramento, carrying a Colt .45.


Fromm’s trial was the usual show trial of the day with the witness refusing to participate in her own defense, until she threw an apple at the Federal Prosecutor during his summation in the punishment phase of the proceedings. This was perhaps the only action she ever took in her life which I ever fully understood, even if I did not agree with it. To give Squeaky her due, the fellow had said some pretty nasty things about her. She was not heard from again until she escaped prison back in 1987 in an attempt to link up with Charlie  Manson, who would not have been easy to reach. This slowed down her parole process for awhile and I frankly did not know whether she was dead or alive. Turns out she was alive and has been right here in Texas for 22 years. How about that ?


So maybe she will settle down here. This state has a history of offering second chances to people. Even those who dress in red nun robes and follow the religion of a convicted killer and then attempt to assassinate the President. “Forgive and forget” we say here in Texas, at least to those we do not execute. Those we just forget. So welcome home Squeaky Fromm, sorry the economy is so bad at present as it may slow down your attempt to get employment. But keep trying, there is always room here for creative and imaginative people.


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