So what, exactly, does “Helter Skelter” mean in this context? While I am hesitant to rely on Wikipedia on this subject — which is complex and tangled, with many disputed details and competing theories — its summary is concise and helpful.

Charles Manson often spoke to the members of his “family” about “Helter Skelter” in the months leading up to the murders of Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in August 1969, an apocalyptic war arising from racial tensions between blacks and whites. This “chimerical vision” involved reference to music of the Beatles, particularly songs from their 1968 double album The Beatles (commonly known as “the White Album”), and to the New Testament’s Book of Revelation. Manson and his followers were convicted of the murders based on the prosecution’s theory that they were part of a plan to trigger the Helter Skelter scenario.

There is also this page, which details Manson’s interpretations of just about every song on the White Album and how they fit into the whole scheme. I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole for fear we shall never emerge. It’s all nutty and fairly entertaining and ultimately rather exhausting.

I am also hesitant to connect this to current events, 2019 time, but it’s kind of right there on the surface innit? Out on the streets of America “Helter Skelter” seems to be coming true. Maybe not the way Charlie imagined it — it’s white folks causing all the trouble — but hate and violence are on the ascendent, and peace and love are on the run.

But it need not always be thus. By way of leaving on a positive note, here are a few words from Dr. King.

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