It’s hard to be compassionate about even a long dead, albeit historically significant, man whose single momentous decision carried consequences that damaged many people.
One thinks the rest of the world feels the same. They don’t. It’s a shock to come upon modern-day Americans in love with John Wilkes Booth, cause of some of our country’s deepest anguish.
They say John Booth was fun.
Well, except for the rage, narcissism, intractability, and drunkenness, he was fun. Did I mention political naiveté (aka stupidity)?
There are people out there, right now, alive today, who love John Wilkes Booth. They wax poetical about him on the Internet.
They say John Booth and his league of conspirators were NOT criminals. No. These people were “political zealots” – sort of independent-contractors, plain-clothes soldiers. (Loose cannons? — no no no.)
John Booth, 26, had a great body. Muscles. Vigor. Hair, dark and thick and wavy. Dreamy eyes. At death, John Booth presented one bedraggled but freakin’ gorgeous corpse.
And everybody liked him – even no-nonsense historians agree on this point.
Toward the end, John Booth’s behavior often seemed strange. He quit the theatre, drank a lot, and was morose. Still, one made excuses for him. It was, after all, wartime and John Booth’s side was going down.
Family, friends, and theatrical stage fans were shocked when John Booth upped and killed President Lincoln. Next, they heard he, himself, was killed. Amazing!
One may surmise this was the end of news from John Booth.
But, actually, no.
The U.S. and Lincoln family aside, John Booth’s crime was very bad for his own family, friends, and co-workers.
They never say anyone was angry with John Booth. They say everyone grieved.
Sure. Loved ones regretted John Booth’s death —– because they wanted to wring his neck themselves! Well, maybe not his Mom.
What did his people get for love and friendship of John Booth?
Here’s a list. Several got to double dip.
- Arrest. Imprisonment. Interrogation.
- Repeated arrest, imprisonment, interrogation.
- Fear of arrest, imprisonment, interrogation, and of being hanged.
- Being hanged.
- Years of imprisonment.
- Job loss.
- Financial hardship and/or catastrophe.
- Shame. Indignity.
- Questions without answers.
- Questions. Questions.
- Never-healed marital strife for a sister and outraged brother-in-law.
- Post traumatic stress.
What manner of man wrought all this?
John Booth had a fiancée and supposedly a favorite prostitute. For sure he had pics of five women in his pocket when he killed the President. One was of the fiancée, Lucy. Don’t know about the prostitute.
Whatever. President Lincoln’s murder prevented the marriage and this was the only good thing that came from the awful thing.
Lucy lucked out.
(Historical research sources available upon request)