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View Diary: In Aaron's Name, Change This Law (81 comments)

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  •  This is a classic case of overzealous prosecution. (15+ / 0-)

    Fifty-years in prison and up to a $1 million fine for accessing academic papers he wasn't even trying to profit from? It's plain to see that these prosecutors were trying their best to bolster their careers off this case.

    America is really paying a heavy price right now for the general shortsightedness and lack of experience of both our legislative and judicial branches of government when it comes to dealing with the fast-moving vagaries and technical advances of the net.

    I mean, it's not like Al Gore just invented the internet yesterday. lol

    Seriously though, our lawmakers have had plenty of time to catch up. But they refuse to research an issue before legislating on it. Hell they don't even bother to read the vast majority of bills they're voting on. It's just easier for them to pass laws that end up both too vague and disproportionately heavy-handed -- not to mention written by corporate [hack] lawyers.

    Consequently, these laws are neither fair nor productive.

    "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

    by markthshark on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 12:44:28 AM PST

    •  What I don't get is why he didn't just run (or (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      markthshark, kyril

      if that wasn't an option, physically attack the prosecutor though running would obviously be the best choice).  After all, if he was going to spend the rest of his life in prison anyway what did he have to lose?

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 03:18:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I guess running would be an option for anyone... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Throw The Bums Out, kyril, TheMomCat

        with access to a lot of money, which he apparently did.

        South America could have been a possibility. Many countries down there have elected left-leaning government recently and are not particularly U.S.-friendly anymore. Extradition could have been problematic for U.S. prosecutors. He could have gotten "lost" down there pretty easily, and lived a relatively comfortable life.

        Of course, none of us know what his mindset was. Perhaps he thought he could ultimately prevail in court.

        "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

        by markthshark on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 03:38:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Because despite (4+ / 0-)

        a possible sentence of up to 35 years and a fine of up to 1 million, he would have gotten far far less.  I believed an offered plea bargain would have been 6 months.

        •  He didn't commit suicide over (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eyesbright

          a million bucks (not much to him) or six months in jail. He obviously was suicidally depressed. People want to find an "explanation" for suicide, but there rarely is an actual explanation. It did not make sense for this 26-year old, who hadn't even been convicted, to extinguish his life, whether or not the prosecution was overzealous.

          •  There was also the FBI and Secret Service (5+ / 0-)

            pressure.

            Now that the government has dropped the charges against him posthumously, I am hoping his attorneys will release all of the pleadings and documents related to his case. It's time to have an honest conversation about this notion of "homeland security", who exactly is being protected (besides banks, of course), and how it can come to pass that the full force of the FBI and Secret Service came down on the head of a smart, passionate person who simply wanted to publish academic papers for everyone to access.
            Why Was the Secret Service Involved in Aaron Swartz Case?
            I'm not disagreeing with your fundamental point that suicidal depression functions, to some degree, independently of rational motive; but there was more than simply an "overzealous prosecution".

            He had also suffered a long, exhausting and tremendously expensive SOPA battle.

            Despair over the gap between his passion and sense of justice and the likelihood of achieving that in this world, against the incredible forces of the government and the vested interests, in fact, does make a certain "sense" to those sensitive to such angles of vision.

            The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

            by Words In Action on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:21:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Another factor contributing to his despair (5+ / 0-)

            could well have been a recognition that this would be the end to his quest to achieve justice, clearly a mission he had decided to stake everything on.

            The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

            by Words In Action on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:23:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Also, he may have been getting advice from his (6+ / 0-)

              defense team that, due to MIT's intransigent negotiating manner (see link I provided with blockquote two comment s above), and perhaps also the fact that there may have been more incriminating evidence -- involving private MIT and/or even classified information between the Gov and MIT -- that was going to make a much, much longer sentence all but certain, given the demeanor of the players.

              The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

              by Words In Action on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:28:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  You really have no clue what you're talking about. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BentLiberal, nota bene
            He didn't commit suicide over (0+ / 0-)

            a million bucks (not much to him) or six months in jail. He obviously was suicidally depressed. People want to find an "explanation" for suicide, but there rarely is an actual explanation. It did not make sense for this 26-year old, who hadn't even been convicted, to extinguish his life, whether or not the prosecution was overzealous.

          •  I make no claim (0+ / 0-)

            over why he committed suicide.  My response was to the idea that spending his life on the run because he was facing a long prison sentence was ridiculous.

      •  Aaron battled depression for a (9+ / 0-)

        number of years. It has been noted by friends, family and colleagues that the extremely heavy handed prosecution took a toll. He writes allegorically about the Batman/Joker essential struggle wherein the hero becomes the villain and vice-versa until one is boxed into a corner and left with no alternatives that are palatable.
        Here are some writings by Aaron on his 'sickness' (depression).

        If nothing else, please try to understand the brilliance, the passion Aaron had for the fight he waged on our behalf- for freedom of information for everyone.
        For many of us, his passing is very painful, but I hope that because of him, we will pick up the torch and carry on his fight, our fight, for a free unfettered flow of cultural knowledge, learning and information not just for the privileged and the 'first world' citizens that can afford it, but for everyone.

        ...You want to lie in bed and keep the lights off. Depressed mood is like that, only it doesn’t come for any reason and it doesn’t go for any either. Go outside and get some fresh air or cuddle with a loved one and you don’t feel any better, only more upset at being unable to feel the joy that everyone else seems to feel. Everything gets colored by the sadness.

        At best, you tell yourself that your thinking is irrational, that it is simply a mood disorder, that you should get on with your life. But sometimes that is worse. You feel as if streaks of pain are running through your head, you thrash your body, you search for some escape but find none. And this is one of the more moderate forms. As George Scialabba put it, “acute depression does not feel like falling ill, it feels like being tortured … the pain is not localized; it runs along every nerve, an unconsuming fire. … Even though one knows better, one cannot believe that it will ever end, or that anyone else has ever felt anything like it.”


        "When the powerless are shut out of the media, we will make the media irrelevant" ~♥~ Anonymous ~♥~

        by Lisa Lockwood on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:14:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't know if this fits or makes sense........... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheMomCat

          Original to be humorous…
          There's an old black spiritual song.
          Kids sleeping in a bed.
          One says "Move Over, move over!"
          One by one the kids fall out of the bed.
          The end the one says…
          "I'm lonesome."
          Who's guilty?
          P.S. This isn't an anti Obama rant, just an example of the absurdity of the 1%'s control.
          P.S.S. Still weeping...

          •  The way I heard it, (0+ / 0-)

            it ended with the last kid just saying "Good night!" (and, presumably, enjoying having the whole bed to himself).

            Never heard it was a "spiritual", though. It's been reported from all over the British Isles and Australia, as well as America.

            (There seem to be innumerable variants on this song, from the starting number in the bed to what kind of creatures they were - bears, birds, monkeys, humans - to the ending. At least one variation has them progressively rolling back IN.)

            If it's
            Not your body,
            Then it's
            Not your choice
            And it's
            None of your damn business!

            by TheOtherMaven on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 04:11:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Physically attacking a government employee (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheMomCat

        strikes me as a foolish course of action. What possible good would that have done?

        •  None really, running is definitely a better (0+ / 0-)

          option (and the one I advocate).  But when you really have nothing to lose how exactly would it have hurt him?  He was already facing a life sentence (and you can bet your ass the prosecutor would have sought and gotten the maximum or something near it).

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:27:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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