Reality is what refuses to go away when you stop believing in it.
The reality – the ground truth—is that Aaron Swartz is dead.
Brinksmanship is a terrible game, that all too many systems evolve towards. The suicide of Aaron Swartz is an awful outcome, an unfair outcome, a radically out of proportion outcome. As in all negotiations to the brink, it represents a scenario in which all parties lose.
Aaron Swartz lost. He paid with his life. This is no victory for Carmen Ortiz, or Steve Heymann, or JSTOR, MIT, the United States Government, or society in general. In brinksmanship, everybody loses.
Suicide is a horrendous act and an even worse threat. But let us not pretend that a set of charges covering the majority of Aaron’s productive years is not also fundamentally noxious, with ultimately a deeply similar outcome. Carmen Ortiz (and, presumably, Steve…
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