Terrorists, Highwaymen and Doctors

4 March 2004

One of my jobs yesterday at work was to go through a couple of journals that we toss after three months, to see if there is anything about us in them. Wasn’t a lot, but I still have half the load to do yet. However what I did find was interesting enough that I kept two articles.
One was on how scientists kept the brains of the Baader-Meinhof terrorists after they committed suicide/were killed (the article seemed more than willing to suggest that that was more than a viable option), in order to see if there was something in their brains that made them different, that made them become terrorists. And one doctor seemed to think that there was a chance that Meinhof had become a terrorist because she was “significantly influenced by abnormal alterations to the brain as a result of her 1962 neurological operation and this caused increased aggressiveness in her final years.” However, he later retracted that opinion somewhat, saying that the neurological damage cannot be blamed totally for her behavious.
No real breakthrough points raised in the article, I just thought it was interesting. (Source article: Treacy, Dr. Patrick “Atempt by Scientists to get inside the heads of avowed terrorists” Irish Medical Times; May 23, 2003. Not online)

The other article I was interested in was on the life of John Clavell, a man with many talents as he was an author, a lawyer, a doctor and a highwayman.
Clavell was born in Dorset in 1601 into a family that “seems to have been a dysfunctional one.” After being found guilty of stealing from Brasenose College he left, without a degree. After that he spent around 6 or 7 years living in poverty and survived through comitting petty larcenies, and had a brief career as a highwayman. Caught, he was sentenced to death, but, earned a reprieve and instead was sentenced to 2 years in prison, where it seems as though he reformed.
He published a poem entitled Recantation in which he admitted and confessed his sins, which became a bestseller. He also wrote a number of other plays and poems. Only one of these The Sodder’d Citizen survives today. “sodder’d is a contraction for soldered i.e. made whole again.”
He left England for Ireland in 1631, and there he practised medicine (although unqualified). A manuscript of his survives today in the Bodleian, which lists various cures of his. Many of these signed by grateful patients, although judging by some of his remedies I don’t think I’d be much impressed :) (source article: Fleetwood Snr., Dr. John, “Stand and Deliver” Medicine Weekly 17 Sept, 2003

You may also like...