Saturday, January 12, 2013

On The Death Of Aaron Swartz

The person most responsible for Aaron's death is Aaron.

I know that some people won't like to hear this but I think it is a mistake to jump to "the government killed him" either literally or figuratively.

In the literal sense, it is simply a conspiracy theory pile of bullshit and I will not dignify it with a response.

In the figurative sense I agree that there is some culpability on the part of the Justice Department but it was predictable that he was going to be prosecuted and if he was not prepared to pay a legal price for civil disobedience then he should not have done it. There is a misapprehension by many people of what civil disobedience means. It does not mean that you flout a law with no expectation of prosecution. It is actually the opposite. You set yourself up to act as a lightning rod as a result of you being prosecuted and you hope that through your efforts the law will be changed.

 Perhaps his suicide will add more impetus to the cause and encourage others to follow his example. I don't know. What I do know is that it was, in the end, Aaron's choice to end his life.

One last point needs to be made. He was not Alan Turing, being prosecuted for who he was.There is a difference and it is demeaning to both these men to conflate the two.

1 comment:

  1. No one claimed the Govt 'literally' killed him. Few argue he shouldnt have paid 'a social price', but that the one he was likely going to pay(decades in prison) was completely disproportionate.
    You're basically arguing a number of strawmen here, for no conceivable reason
    Ronan Fitzgerald


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