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He Loved Me First

In 1976 Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme exploded on to every front page in America. She had pushed her way through a crowd and had tried to kill the President of the United States. She was 17 years old. Investigators found her proud that she was a follower of Charles Manson. The world knows Manson as a crazed killer who worked through his small, dedicated band of fanatical “disciples.”

News magazines began to dig into the background of this tragic young woman. Their reports found that Squeaky had felt like a misfit in her town, and so she wandered across the country until she reached California. There Manson met her and promised to take care of her. She went with him and was willing to kill and die for him. Reporters wanted to know, “Why would you give your life to a man like Manson?” I read her explanation in a magazine, and I have never been able to forget it. Squeaky explained that she had made a choice early in her teenage years. Here it is: “Whoever loves me first can have my life.” Someone probably had loved Squeaky, but she was ready to give her life to whomever made her feel loved first.

Ron Hutchcraft, Five Needs Your Child Must Have Met at Home, Zondervan, 1995

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