Barrett Brown: Essays of the Incarcerated



It’s a story of retaliation, but not one of physical from. Barrett Brown’s letters, published on The Intercept, encompass a mind under scrutiny and round the clock Big Brother surveillance, simply because of who he is.
When reading Barrett Brown’s reflections of his time incarcerated inside a federal prison, you can see a lot of charm between his lines. The “perverted guardians,” as one comment states in response to his essays, hits the nail on the head: Brown is serving a sentence within a sentence, beside murderers with “interesting lives,” for offences whittled down to the few because the FBI couldn’t nab him on the ‘important charges.’
Brown’s essays are well worth the read, in them he tries to make sense of his world inside the prison walls, and sometimes in solitary confinement. He files a complaint against officers, citing retaliation, and finds himself being drug tested and breathalyzed before being placed in isolation. Granted they find a home brew in his locker, and granted he admits this, but the story is about the journey rather than the results.
The 23 hour lock down seems to be almost welcomed – if he can get his hands on a good book – and maybe for good reason. For Brown, the insanity of it all is difficult to take, and through his essays he deconstructs them in search of meaning and truth. His conclusions are somewhat clever, intelligent, and above all, insightful. The ludicrous nature of his situation is clear: it just doesn’t make sense.
In a world where “dealing meth is 15 times more serious than shooting someone with a shotgun,” or where an Anonymous supporter on minimal charges is imprisoned in a Federal Prison to share cells with murderers, is mind boggling for all who try to make sense of the picture.
He critiques a book he had the displeasure of reading and appears to parallel it:
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Barrett Brown hasn’t lost the plot…he just sees the world in which he lives for what it really is.

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