By Rick Fromm
By Rick Fromm

    I received the perfect 30-year wedding day anniversary present when I awoke Sunday morning to learn that one of the biggest gobs of spit to ever walk the earth was dead.

At the undeserved ripe old age of 83, mass murderer Charles Manson had finally succumbed to the certainty of mortality and died relatively peacefully while serving out a life-sentence term in California. I couldn’t have been happier with the news.

If you believe in hell, rest assured “Charlie” is right there next to the devil and will be forced to endure the righteous flames of retribution for eternity. I hope he suffers one-tenth as much as the victims he had butchered back in 1969. As the old saying goes, “May you burn in hell, Charlie Manson.” Forever.

I was approaching my sophomore year at Luther College when the news broke that beautiful actress Sharon Tate (who was eight months pregnant at the time) and four other innocent victims -- Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger and Steven Parent -- had been slaughtered at Tate’s home on Cielo Drive in Hollywood.

    The next night, the same group of cutthroats – as commanded by Manson – brutally murdered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in a deranged attempt by Manson to start an all-out race war that would see him emerge as the king of the world.

Basing his idiotic theory on the “message” delivered by the Beatles in their song Helter Skelter, Manson’s plan was to make the public think the Black Panthers had murdered Tate and the LaBiancas (et al). A war between whites and blacks would quickly ensue while he and his band of bozos would hide out in the desert until the “war” was over and then the black people (who had won the war) would naturally choose Manson to be their leader. Talk about far-fetched. Make that insane.

Needless to say the plan didn’t work, and Manson and several of his devoted followers were arrested and eventually sentenced to death. Unfortunately, the state of California eliminated the death penalty shortly after Manson’s conviction, and they were all given life in prison instead.

The central core of ruthless murderers – Tex Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten and Manson – remained in prison for decades. Good, it’s what they deserved … at the least. Atkins passed on to hell a short time ago, and now Manson has joined her.

Should any of the others be granted parole at this point? Why? Did they have mercy on Sharon Tate when she was begging them to spare her and her baby’s life? No. They stabbed her 16 times. So why should the murderers be granted freedom some 48 years after that horrible night in the Hollywood hills?

Like Manson, I hope they rot in jail and remember what they did with each dying breath they take. If pure evil has a face, it’s that of Charles Manson. You were a low-life, stupid punk who used people to satiate your irrational needs. I trust the flames will hurt for eternity.

He's no outlaw, he's a hero

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, but when Decorah’s own Josey Jewell was introduced to the Kinnick Stadium crowd before his last home game as a Hawkeye, a lump the size of a baseball formed in my throat.

As he ran to midfield to greet his parents, Bobby and Paula, he waved his helmet to the Hawkeye faithful in recognition of their support during the last four football seasons. My eyes welled up with tears as the Outlaw Josey Jewell presented Paula with a yellow rose.

Talk about a class act. The young man is amazing. If there was ever a better representative of the state of Iowa and all it stands for than Josey Jewell, I have yet to see him … or her.

A humble guy who knows the meaning of hard work and giving 100 percent to everything he does, Josey has made all of us – and everyone else in the state, for that matter – so proud it’s difficult to put into words.

If good things truly do happen to good people, then Josey Jewell should have quite a life ahead of him. I know one thing for sure: Any NFL team that drafts Josey is getting a bona fide winner who will play each and every down as if it’s his last. That’s just who he is, and nobody is going to change that.

So thanks for everything, Josey. It’s been quite a ride. I can’t wait for the next journey you take us on. He’s not an outlaw at all. He’s a hero.