Saturday, January 12
R.I.P. Aaron Swartz and thank you for your accomplishments
Aaron Swartz died yesterday. I'm having difficulty in finding a way to talk about it because he committed suicide and people start discussing about suicide usually condemning because "where there is life there's hope, and if he was depressed he should have done this or that"... Suicide is part of human condition. Period.
The other reason is the trial he was facing and some people are saying that he took his life because "he was afraid of the sentence blah, blah. blah".
I don't understand some people. Seriously.
I'm visiting the sites of those who were close to Aaron and talk about him.
"Aaron had an unbeatable combination of political insight, technical skill, and intelligence about people and issues. I think he could have revolutionized American (and worldwide) politics. His legacy may still yet do so."
Cory Doctorow in the great post about his friend
"Aaron had literally done nothing in his life “to make money.” He was fortunate Reddit turned out as it did, but from his work building the RSS standard, to his work architecting Creative Commons, to his work liberating public records, to his work building a free public library, to his work supporting Change Congress/FixCongressFirst/Rootstrikers, and then Demand Progress, Aaron was always and only working for (at least his conception of) the public good. He was brilliant, and funny. A kid genius. A soul, a conscience, the source of a question I have asked myself a million times: What would Aaron think? That person is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would only call bullying. I get wrong. But I also get proportionality. And if you don’t get both, you don’t deserve to have the power of the United States government behind you"
Lawrence Lessig at this post.
Cory also wrote about one of Aaron's project a "next-generation electioneering tool that could be used by committed, passionate candidates who didn't want to end up beholden to monied interests and power-brokers."
In September 17, 2012 Aaron wrote at his blog "Cherish Mistakes" and this is the quotation I've chosen for now:
"Mistakes are our friend. They can be an exasperating friend sometimes, the kind whose antics embarrass and annoy, but their heart is in the right place: they want to help. It’s a bad idea to ignore our friends."
Update: January, 14
Aaron's family released a public statement last Saturday where they claim that MIT is partially responsible for his suicide. This is the entire statement:
"Our beloved brother, son, friend, and partner Aaron Swartz hanged himself on Friday in his Brooklyn apartment. We are in shock, and have not yet come to terms with his passing.
Aaron’s insatiable curiosity, creativity, and brilliance; his reflexive empathy and capacity for selfless, boundless love; his refusal to accept injustice as inevitable—these gifts made the world, and our lives, far brighter. We’re grateful for our time with him, to those who loved him and stood with him, and to all of those who continue his work for a better world.
Aaron’s commitment to social justice was profound, and defined his life. He
was instrumental to the defeat of an Internet censorship bill; he fought for a more democratic, open, and accountable political system; and he helped to create, build, and preserve a dizzying range of scholarly projects that extended the scope and accessibility of human knowledge. He used his prodigious skills as a programmer and technologist not to enrich himself but to make the Internet and the world a fairer, better place. His deeply humane writing touched minds and hearts across generations and continents. He earned the friendship of thousands and the respect and support of millions more.
Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.
Today, we grieve for the extraordinary and irreplaceable man that we have lost."
Read about Jonathan James a hacker who also took his life after being prosecuted by the same Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann.
There is something very strange in this stories.