By now, I have no doubt my readers know about the tragic suicide of online pioneer and activist Aaron Swartz. The news felt like a punch in the gut; Swartz embodied so many of the finest strengths of our generation. There have been personal remembrances, calls to action, and deserved condemnations. There's not much more I can say.
So I'll leave it at this:
This man was facing over three fucking decades in prison for downloading academic articles. Articles paid for with the public's money but, like a huge chunk of legal cases, aren't available to the public. I have dealt with the justice system for years, and I have seen rapists, murderers, and corrupt public officials who didn't get the book thrown at them half that damn much.
This witch hunt was perpetrated in defense of a body of law that primarily protects those who do nothing, make nothing, contribute nothing, improve nothing, and are, in the end, nothing. The worst part was that it ruined someone who was the living opposite of that, before he even had the chance to defend himself in a trial.
That's wrong. It is the essence of wrong. Some things deserve to be broken, and everything that made this possible should be destined for the goddamn scrap heap.