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Freedom Fighter Or Murderer?

June 2024
1min read

Ken Chowder expends considerable effort in glossing over some of the uglier aspects of Brown’s life and career, but his most offensive passage contains the attempt to justify the Pottawatomie murders by claiming that Brown “was a violent man, but he lived in increasingly violent times.” We dwell in an age that is enormously more violent than the 185Os, yet I don’t believe any rational person today (including Chowder) would seek to sanctify someone who commits such bloody, heinous acts in even the most righteous of causes.

Chowder quotes the historian Paul Finkelman as saying that “Brown is simply part of a very violent world,” as though that somehow mitigated the horror of his deeds. Well, we all are part of a violent world, Mr. Chowder, but fortunately for you, I’m not about to pick up a sword and go off in search of those who offend me.

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