John Brown: agent provocateur

Brown hand held high
Brown, circa 1847, Springfield, MA

While in college I took sanctioned history courses, and they were interesting. I was not mature enough to question what I was told, but some things did stand out, one of which was John Brown’s raid on Pottawatomie. That night in Kansas Territory he and his sons and companions visited three households, interrogated and murdered five people, letting others go if given satisfactory answers. The murders were not at all merciful, but rather by hacking with swords, brutal beyond conscience, insane and monstrous. If real.

What struck me was not what was obvious, that there was no attempt to find and imprison the murderers, well-known to be the Brown family and a couple of friends. What I took from that was that John Brown was clinically insane. Someone, perhaps the teacher, suggested that he looked to the stars for signs that guided his hand, as a schizophrenic might do.

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