Although John Brown's cause was noble his means to address that cause was not. Brown was heroic during his time, standing up for a race that had little people willing to risk all for them. As Reynolds said in his article, Brown came "nearest to touching the real souls of black folks." Brown lived in peace with African Americans at a time when it was uncommon; he truly believed in an equal society. This was very noble and brave of Brown because most people, while supporting the end to slavery, did not feel comfortable sharing society with African Americans. However, the way Brown went about fighting the inequality of slavery was not noble. He acted with violence and while he claimed it was no different then war there was one big difference; innocent civilians died. Brown tried to fight the cause through taking the lives of innocent people.
Reynolds says Brown must be pardoned. While Brown stood up for African Americans when others would not he also stood up for the use of violence to solve problems. Pardoning Brown would send a message that violent attacks are accepted as a means to solve problems. Brown was brave in his fight for the end of slavery and equality of races and was treated unfairly. He should by no means be viewed as a "deranged cultist" as Reynolds claims he is. At the same time, however, his solution to problems was to use violence as a tool to bring equality and this is something that should never be celebrated. Brown, while he should be respected for his beliefs and his cause, he should not be respected for his solutions to that cause.