Sunday, June 02, 2013

Aaron Swartz was too good for this world
"Aaron wasn't built for a world of red lines and strict rules," Wikler says. "He moved in and out of institutions, he didn't fit into boxes and that was OK be cause he was also obsessed with never hurting anyone. He was monk-like. And the prosecution, all the way through, showed no hint of remorse or recognition of what might have been wrong, even in his death. There's just something wrong with a system where people have power to do that to someone like Aaron."

There is a particular tragedy, too, in realising that Aaron Swartz was one of the few people equipped with the skills and idealism to want to change that system for the better. In the end, says Stinebrickner-Kauffman, there is no explanation that could possibly make sense of his suicide. "He just… " she breaks off, searching for the right words. "It was just too hard." She crosses her arms loosely on the table. The sentence floats between us. It seems like the only thing there is left to say.
"I took the children with me, for they are too good for the life that would follow, and a merciful God will understand me when I will give them the salvation ... The children are wonderful ... there never is a word of complaint nor crying. The impacts are shaking the bunker. The elder kids cover the younger ones, their presence is a blessing and they are making the Führer smile once in a while. May God help that I have the strength to perform the last and hardest. We only have one goal left: loyalty to the Führer even in death. Harald, my dear son — I want to give you what I learned in life: be loyal! Loyal to yourself, loyal to the people and loyal to your country ... Be proud of us and try to keep us in dear memory …"
Since his death, his family and closest friends have tried to hone his story into a message, in order to direct the public sadness and anger aroused by his suicide to political purposes. They have done this because it is what he would have wanted, and because it is a way to extract some good from the event. They tell people that the experience of being prosecuted is annihilatingly brutal, and that prosecutors can pursue with terrible weapons defendants who have caused little harm. One of the corollaries of this message is that Swartz did not kill himself; he was murdered by the government. But this claim is for public consumption, and the people closest to him do not really believe it. They believe that he would not have killed himself without the prosecutors, but they feel that there is something missing from this account—some further fact, a key, that will make sense of what he did.

Despite his public presence, he was small and frail and shy and often sick, and people wanted to protect him. He was loved intensely, as a child is loved.
An indulged and indulgent narcissist.

"Aaron Swartz was one of the few people equipped with the skills and idealism to want to change that system for the better." Bullshit.

Rick Perlstein on Aaron Swartz:
I remember a creature who seemed at first almost to be made up of pure data, disembodied—a millionaire, I had to have guessed, given his early success building a company sold to Condé Nast, but one who seemed to live on other people’s couches. (Am I misremembering that someone told me he crashed in his apartment for a while, curling up to sleep under a sink?)
Only slowly, it seems, did he come to learn that he possessed a body.
earlier here

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