Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 12th Jan 2013 20:25 UTC
In the News "Computer activist Aaron H. Swartz committed suicide in New York City yesterday, Jan. 11, according to his uncle, Michael Wolf, in a comment to The Tech. Swartz was 26." Swartz was one of three co-creators of Reddit, worked on the RSS 1.0 specification at age 14, and so many other things. Swartz faced decades in prison for downloading a collection of JSTOR scientific articles. JSTOR dropped charges, but the US government pursued the case anyway, demanding fifty years in jail. Lawrence Lessig, one of his close friends: "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." Our sincere condolences to his family and friends. We've just lost one of the good guys.
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RE: Comment by jared_wilkes
by Valhalla on Sat 12th Jan 2013 23:00 UTC in reply to "Comment by jared_wilkes"
Member since:

The little I know of Aaron I would imagine that a federal prosecution would be the least depressing thing in his life.

The least depressing???

Reply Parent Score: 2

jared_wilkes Member since:

Yes. There is some hyperbole to that, but if you knew him at all and know depression personally... attributing his suicide to the prosecution is akin to blaming video games for gun violence -- detracting from the real issue and using a bogeyman to push your own agenda.

Reply Parent Score: 3

UltraZelda64 Member since:

Well, something tells me that if you were on the fence whether you wanted to do it at first, 50 years of imprisonment is enough to make it a done deal.

The government slamming all its weight down on a person as its judgment sure as f--k doesn't help when people have depression and other problems. Unless "ending the pain" faster is "help."

Edited 2013-01-13 00:30 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

tylerdurden Member since:

The fact that he suffered from depression, and that he was facing the possibility of being sent to federal prison for a very long time, are not mutually exclusive reasons as to why he decided to end his life, two years to the date on which he was indicted.

Reply Parent Score: 5

JAlexoid Member since:

And that depression was made easier by the prospect of 50 years in prison.

Ever heard of the straw that broke the camel's back?
Read my story how people find strength to not commit suicide.

Reply Parent Score: 3