As It Happens

As it Happened: The Archive Edition - The Fightin' Words Episode, Part I

After Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme tried to gun down the US President, her roommate and fellow Manson Family member shot down "As it Happens" host Barbara Frum's questions — before threatening to kill the interview altogether.
"The question was how many minutes did I have before she punished me by hanging up?" Barbara Frum on her infamous interview with Sandra Good, after Good's roommate and fellow Manson Family member Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme tried to shoot US President Gerald Ford. (CBC Archives, Walt Zeboski/The Associated Press)

In her 1976 memoir, As it Happened, Barbara Frum writes, "The most adrenalized high of all for me has to be my radio meeting with Sandra Good. The moment the wires flashed the news that Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme had tried to shoot US President Gerald Ford in Sacramento, we were on the phone dialing for her roommate and fellow Manson family member, Sandra Good.

Fromme saw Ford as a symbol of government inaction on smog — which she believed would kill off California's giant redwood trees.
Barbara Frum's 1976 memoir, "As it Happened"
Days after the attempted assassination, As it Happens reached Good. Frum describes her first impressions: "From the moment she came on the line, her attitude was pugnacious and disdainful. The question was: how many minutes did I have before she punished me by hanging up?"

She would soon find out. Here is a condensed transcript of that interview.

Barbara Frum: Miss Good, have you had any contact with Lynette Fromme since her arrest?

Sandra Good: No.

BF: Have you been able to see her?

SG: No.

BF: Have you been able to communicate with her? 

SG: No.

BF: Can you tell us the condition you last saw her in? When did you see her last?

SG: We had been looking at the state of this country and of the world and it's a mess. It's a big mess and it needs cleaning up. If people are going to survive, change is necessary. There are many, many people, thousands of people, children included, who are tired of the destruction of the environment, the wildlife, rivers, the oceans...

BF: Miss Good?

SG: ...the cutting down of trees, and um —

BF: Could we talk about that in a minute?

SG: Yeah.

You listen to what I'm saying, and you tone your manner of questioning down, or I'll hang up. Do you understand me?- Sandra Good, Manson Family member

BF: Could you tell us more about Lynette Fromme first?

SG: I'm answering your question.

BF: I asked you when was the last time you saw her?

SG: Why don't you start this all over again?

BF: Sure. OK.

SG: Listen, these picayune questions really don't — I don't understand what you're getting at. Rather than looking at the little picayune details of what time she got up, or her particular state of mind, it's irrelevant. There are a lot of roots to problems that people have — a world people, a nation people. There are certain acts that reflect problems. 

BF: What do you think about what happened in Sacramento last Friday? 
U.S. Pres. Gerald Ford is shielded by the Secret Service after an assassination attempt by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme. Ford had spoken at a "Host Breakfast," and was walking to California's state Capitol in Sacramento, CA. Fromme, a devoted follower of the infamous Charles Manson stepped out from behind a tree and pointed a loaded pistol at the President. (Associated Press/The Sacramento Bee)

SG: That also is a rather ignorant question. What do I think about it? I think it's time that this country start taking a look at itself — take a look at its problems, and not hold possible positive solutions to the problems down. The must admit that they don't know —

BF: All right, Ms Good. If you wouldn't mind, let's hear a little bit more please about when you last saw Lynette Fromme, and what kind of shape she was in. 

SG: That question shows your ignorance and I won't answer it. 

BF: All right, how 'bout this then? Can you tell us anything about Harold Boro, the man who's in the news today as having given that gun to Lynette?

Listen, put me on to somebody else. I don't like you.- Sandra Good to

SG: No, that question also shows your ignorance of the greater problems that are gonna jump down your throat if you don't take a look at them. I'm saying look at the roots of these problems. Many people all over the world are due to be assassinated. This is just the beginning. This is just the beginning of many, many assassinations that are about to take place. 

BF: Miss Good, how come you're talking about trees that you care about, and yet you don't mind killing men?

SG: Men that kill life, that kill harp seals, that kill trees, that poison oceans and rivers and air — are killing all of us, because we need these things to live. 
U.S. Secret Service agents put handcuffs on Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme after she pointed at Pres. Gerald Ford, in Sacramento. (The Associated Press)

BF: Do you think what Lynette Fromme did is going to somehow dramatize your case?

SG: Start looking at your world, woman. Start looking at the world you're leaving for your kids, and quit putting sensational news stories, and what you look like — your social position — over life. 

BF: Miss Good, do you think anybody would be —

SG: [speaking under BF]...woman! Don't probe me like that. You listen to what I'm saying, and you tone your manner of questioning down, or I'll hang up. Do you understand me?

BF: Well, I'm prepared for your hanging up, y'know, that's one of the risks. 

SG: You're prepared for what you want to hear. You're not gonna get what you want to hear. 

BF: Did Lynette Fromme do this —

SG: Listen, put me on to somebody else. I don't like you. 

BF: Why not? 
U.S. Secret Service agents put handcuffs on Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme after she pointed a gun at Pres. Gerald Ford in Sacramento. (The Associated Press)

SG: Trouble. Because you're probing me with what's in your mind, and I'm trying to tell you things as I see them — not as you wish me to tell you. 

BF: Tell us about Charles Manson then. 

SG: Let's start this all over again. 

BF: OK. Tell us about Charles Manson. 

SG: You go to him yourself. 

BF: Well, apparently he's not able to have visitors. Is that right?

SG: He can't have visitors, no. 

BF: You've been quoted as saying it's his job to straighten out the world?

SG: His job? It's your job, woman. It's your job. He's been left out of this world's madness. You better pray he'll help you fix yourselves up. You better pray. I don't think he wants to. It's your job, woman — to start making gardens, rather than pushing your husbands to destroy things. You stop — there's a wave of assassins called The International People's Court of Retribution. And they're watching you. 

BF: Miss Good, was the attack on President Ford justified then? 
(The Toronto Star, Sept. 6, 1975)

SG: Yes. Any attack on any lie is justified. Any attack on anyone who puts money and lies over people's lives is justified. 

BF: Are you disappointed that President Ford wasn't killed?

SG: No. I'm not disappointed. There'll be many, many, many killings. Many killings. 

BF: But he wasn't killed, was he? Was it not the intention, maybe, to kill him? 

SG: You ask Lynn. I cannot speak for another person. 

You're a very, very bad reporter. You're very bad. You are one of the worst.- Sandra Good to

BF: Miss Good, let's talk about killing for a minute. OK?

SG: Listen, woman. Put me on to somebody else. I can't talk to you.

BF: Why?

SG: You're a very, very bad reporter. You're very bad. You are one of the worst.

BF: Really?

SG: You really are. You're very...rude. You're very imperceptive. You're very ignorant. Your technique is just crude. You don't have any finesse. Now put me on to somebody else. 

BF: I'm it, Miss Good. I'm it, I'm afraid. 

SG: Are you a man, or a woman?

BF: I'm a man.

SG: Are you a man? You are a woman. 

BF: Well then why did you ask?

SG: Because you reflect a woman's fear. Your unwillingness to look at problems. 

BF: I see. And you? What do you reflect?   
Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme waves a finger at the photographer as she is taken from the Federal court in Sacramento, CA, after being sentenced to life in prison for attempting to assassinate U.S. President Ford. (Walt Zeboski/The Associated Press)

SG: I reflect a lot of children. I reflect a lot of people with concern — with concern for the earth, and the children. 

BF: Miss Good, children grow up to be men and woman. 

SG: In your sense? In the robot, computerized, slave-for-the-dollar sense? Go to school and spend your life in a book sense, or living life sense? What are you talking about?

BF: You talk, you say, on behalf of children. And yet you talk on behalf of killing men. 

SG: I'm talking about — people will be killed. People —

BF: How 'bout you, Miss Good?

SG: Let me finish my question. Don't interrupt me again. When I talk about killing, I'm saying there'll be a wave of assassins, killing those who are killing the environment, the wildlife, the trees — selling products to the children and the people...

BF:  Miss Good?

SG: Don't interrupt me. 

BF: Miss Good?

[Good hangs up]

You can hear more of Barbara Frum's September 10, 1975 interview with Manson Family member Sandra Good — as well as the following stories, on this week's "Fightin' Words - Part 1" episode of "As it Happened: The Archive Edition":


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