Cult Leader Charles Manson Dies At 83

Charles Manson, the hippie leader who shocked the world in the 1960s, died at the age of 83. Manson, who has had health problems recently,  was serving a life-sentence in a Californian prison.

Charles Manson was the charismatic leader of a group known for murdering seven people in Los Angeles in 1969. Among them was Sharon Tate, a rising Hollywood star and wife of director Roman Polanski. Miss Tate was pregnant at the time she was stabbed to death 16 times. Although Manson was not at the scene of the crimes he ordered his followers to commit the murders.

Manson and his cult members roamed neighbourhoods looting stores and committing random murders. His racist views triggered widespread hate against Black Americans. The clan leader was a symbol of free-love and drug-driven California in the late 1960s.

In 1971, Manson and four of his followers were sentenced to death in the gas chamber. The sentences were reduced to life imprisonment when California’s Supreme Court abolished the death penalty in 1972.

In his youth, Charles Manson dreamed of becoming a rock star but was unsuccessful in his attempts at getting a record contract. This turned into hate against everything that represented the establishment and corporate America. His followers believed in everything he said and committed crimes on his behalf.

Charles Manson shortly before his death in 2017
Charles Manson shortly before his death in 2017 – Image: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Words

  • abolish = ban, not allow
  • although = while
  • attempt = try
  • charismatic = having the natural talent to attract people and make them like and admire you
  • commit = carry out
  • corporate America = here: the big businesses and companies that have a lot of power and can also make political decisions
  • death penalty = when the state legally kills someone who has committed a crime
  • drug-driven = here: a time when taking drugs was very common
  • establishment = group of people who have a lot of power  and influence and are often against changes or new ideas
  • hippie = someone in the 1960s who wore unusual clothes , had long hair and took drugs for pleasure
  • life imprisonment = being in prison for your whole life
  • life-sentence = to be in prison your whole life
  • loot = to steal things from shops that were destroyed
  • on his behalf = in his name; for him
  • pregnant = to expect a baby
  • racist = someone who believes that people of their own race are better than others; they treat them unfairly and sometimes violently
  • random = without a plan or pattern
  • reduce = to make something less
  • recently = a short time ago
  • record contract = to make music for a company
  • represent = to stand for something
  • rising = here: becoming more successful
  • roam = walk around without a clear direction or knowing what you want to do
  • sentence = a punishment that a judge gives you for committing a crime
  • serve = to spend time in prison
  • stab to death = to kill someone with a knife
  • Supreme Court = the highest court in the state
  • trigger = start
  • unsuccessful = when something does not work out the way you want it to
  • widespread = happening in many parts of the state

 

Pfizer Forbids Sales of Drugs For Lethal Injection

The American pharmaceutical conmpany Pfizer has said it will no longer sell drugs that can be used for lethal injections to the Amercian government.  A total of 7 substances on the list are mostly used for operations and certain illnesses but are also in liquids used for executions. According to a Pfizer representative, the company’s aim is to save lives and not help kill people.

Pfizer says it will closely monitor buyers who try to resell the drugs to state institutions, which may use  them for executions.

After Pfizer’s decision , there are no more companies in the USA and Europe that sell lethal injection drugs to the Amercian government . The European Union  has banned the export of such drugs to the US.

As a result, state authorities are trying to find new drugs and combinations of substances that can be used for executions. Normally, three mixtures of drugs are used to execute a prisoner. The first one makes you unconscious , the second liquid paralyses the muscles  and the third stops the heart from beating.

In the past few years, the number of executions has decreased, in part due to the availability of lethal drugs. Last year only 28 executions were carried out in the US. Among the 32 states that allow capital punishment, all of them use lethal injections as the main method of execution but some allow the electric chair,hanging, the firing squad and the gas chamber as alternatives.

Human rights organizations and other groups opposed to capital punishment have welcomed Pfizer’s decision as a bold move to ban the death penalty in the United States.

Pfizer stops selling lethal injection drugs
Lethal injection room in San Quentin, California

Words

  • according to = as said by …
  • aim = what someone wants to do or achieve something
  • authorities = group of people who make decisions and have power in certain areas
  • availability = the fact that something can be bought and used
  • ban = forbid, not allow
  • bold move =  action that shows a lot of courage
  • capital punishment = to officially kill a person who has committed a crime
  • combination = mixture
  • death penalty = to officially kill a person who has committed a crime
  • decrease = go down
  • drug = chemical that is used as medicine
  • due to = because of
  • execution = the official killing of a person by the state
  • firing squad = group of people who are ordered to shoot and kill a prisoner
  • government = the people who rule a country
  • human rights = the basic rights that everyone should have, like the right to vote or the freedom of speech
  • illness = disease
  • in part = partly
  • lethal injection = a drug that is injected into your blood stream; it is used to execute people who have committed  certain crimes
  • liquid = substance like water
  • main = most important
  • method = way
  • mixture = here: combination of liquids
  • monitor = watch closely
  • opposed to = against
  • paralyse = if a person cannot move arms or legs or feel anything
  • pharmaceutical = about producing medicine
  • resell = sell again
  • substance = here: drug, medicine
  • unconscious = if you are not awake and do not know what is going on around you
  • welcome = here: to agree with