To the Editor:
In yesterday's op-ed article, "Freedom's Martyr," David S. Reynolds held the opinion that John Brown, one of the first radical anti-slavery activists, should be pardoned for his actions and was a reasonable tactician in his efforts to raise fears of slave rebellions in the South. He later writes that John Brown should be "rescued from the loony bin of history." In my opinion, John Brown was a key player in the anti-slavery movement before the Civil War, but he should not be pardoned, as his actions were vicious and unnecessarily violent. During his raids, many Southerners were killed, and this does not count as "leading Southerners to view slavery as dangerous and impractical." He created panic, but by killing Southerners in the process, the South, instead of viewing slavery as a threat, started fearing Northern rebels.
By pardoning a man such as John Brown, the person who pardons him will send a message that violence, even for a viable cause, is pardonable and allowable. The Klu Klux Klan was violent for what they presumed to be a worthy cause, but should their members be pardoned for their actions and "martyrdom"? John Brown does not deserve to be pardoned.