In Reply to "Freedom's Martyr":
I must tell you I was nothing short of appalled when I read your article regarding John Brown, and, more specifically, the idea that he ought to be viewed as a national hero. One is taught at a young age to believe that murder is wrong; how then can one say that the Pottawatomie Massacre- the episode where John Brown and six followers murdered five pro-slavery settlers and left their mangled bodies to intimidate other slavery proponents from settling in Kansas- was heroic, or even just?
According to Ken Chowder, John Brown is the "father of American terrorism." The idea that both the Pottawatomie Massacre and the raid at Harper's Ferry are even slightly comparable to 9/11 is ridiculous; on the contrary, John Brown's actions were far worse. The terrorists of 9/11 murdered another country's people they hated for a God they loved; John Brown killed his own countrymen. And one must not forget: he killed these men at a time when slavery was not only legal, but prominent in America, what with Stephen Douglas having recently passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act and inserting a provision of "popular sovereignty." Although three of the men he killed had been slave hunters preceding their move to Kansas, the other two did not even own slaves, but merely shared pro-slavery ideas. Thus, Brown not only killed the wrongly targeted; he killed the innocent.
His raid at Harper's Ferry was no different: seven people were killed, including one free black. Brown's plan, therefore, backfired: he murdered the very people he was attempting to rescue.
John Brown was a contradiction unto himself; how then can he be perceived as a hero? Though he was outraged at the violence and destruction of both the Sacking of Lawrence and the caning of Senator Charles Sumner, he was all for hacking five men to death with broadswords. This inconsistence is not the mark of a hero, but rather, that of a crazed and bloodthirsty zealot who would stop at nothing to succeed.
What makes John Brown worthy of a presidential/gubernatorial pardon? Aside from adding to the violent onslaught and rising sectional tensions between the North and the South, aside from murdering the innocent and aside from going against his own morals- what good did he do? I do not think John Brown ought to be rescued from the "loony bin of history"; I think he ought to rot there until the end of time.