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Summary:

Aaron Swartz, an early Reddit staffer and founder of the open-web activist group Demand Progress, committed suicide on Friday at the age of 26, touching off an outpouring of grief and memorials from a wide range of friends and colleagues.

The open web and freedom of information in general lost one of their most passionate proponents yesterday, with the death of early Reddit staffer and Demand Progress founder Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide on Friday, according to a family member. He was facing federal charges for hacking into the JSTOR academic database and downloading millions of research papers, but had also reportedly suffered from depression. He was 26 years old.

As the news of his death spread throughout the web and social networks like Twitter, there was an outpouring of grief and sorrow from some of his friends and those he had worked with on a number of projects — including the early development of the RSS syndication standard, the web.py software framework, the Creative Commons movement and the W3C web standards committee.

We’ve collected some of those comments and responses here (there’s also a Reddit thread and a Hacker News thread about his death, and Alex Howard of O’Reilly has collected some tweets and links in a Storify post):

Update: Swartz’s family and his partner have released a statement about his death, in which they point the finger of blame directly at the U.S. Attorney’s office and say their prosecution played a role in Aaron’s suicide. The statement says:

“Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death.”

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the web, posted a message after he learned of the news, saying: “Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep.”

Cory Doctorow, author and BoingBoing co-founder, posted a long and heart-felt tribute to Swartz and a discussion of his struggles with depression, saying:

“Aaron accomplished some incredible things in his life. He was one of the early builders of Reddit (someone always turns up to point out that he was technically not a co-founder, but he was close enough as makes no damn), got bought by Wired/Conde Nast, engineered his own dismissal and got cashed out, and then became a full-time, uncompromising, reckless and delightful shit-disturber… we have all lost someone today who had more work to do, and who made the world a better place when he did it.”

Matt Haughey, the founder of Metafilter, posted a comment on his site about Aaron, whom he met while he was working on the Creative Commons project with Larry Lessig — and how at one programming event, Swartz had to come with his father because he was only 15:

“Aaron, I’m so sorry to see you go. You were an amazing person who did incredible work that helps us all out and I really wish you stayed for many more decades so you could continue making society a better place to be. I’ll really miss you.”

Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, posted a memorial entitled “Aaron Swartz, hero of the open world, dies” — and recalled working with the young man on Kahle’s Open Library project, which he helped to code:

“Aaron was steadfast in his dedication to building a better and open world. Selfless. Willing to cause change. He is among the best spirits of the Internet generation. I am crushed by his loss, but will continue to be enlightened by his work and dedication. May a hero and founder of our open world rest in peace.”

In 2007, Swartz wrote what many took to be a suicide note (thanks to Nik Cubrilovic for the link) after he had been fired by Conde Nast (which acquired Reddit in 2006), a note that eventually led Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian to call the police and break into Swartz’s apartment. The young programmer later explained that he wrote it while he was in pain due to a medical issue, but some friends took it as a sign that he was struggling with emotional problems as well.

In 2007, Philipp Lenssen of the blog Google Blogoscoped posted a long interview with Swartz about his development as a programmer, his work with Reddit and Creative Commons, getting fired by Conde Nast and a number of other topics:

“Seriously, though, the Web is what we make of it. We have a powerful, widely-deployed, largely uncontrolled communication network. It’s up to us to decide where to go next.”

John Gruber of the Apple blog Daring Fireball also posted a tribute, saying: “Aaron was a friend and a brilliant mind… he had an enormous intellect — again, a brilliant mind — but also an enormous capacity for empathy. He was a great person. I’m dumbfounded and heartbroken.”

Swartz was also involved in the fight against SOPA, the draconian anti-piracy law that Congress tried to pass last year — this is a video of him discussing the campaign against the bill, which was later shelved:

Many of those who mourned Swartz’s passing wondered whether he knew how respected and loved he was by those who were close to him:

Some of Swartz’s supporters in his fight against the federal charges related to his JSTOR hacking questioned whether the threat of jail time might have accelerated his depression, but others said he didn’t seem that troubled by it. As we wrote last year, Swartz — who had hacked into a federal database in 2009 and download thousands of documents but never been prosecuted for it — gained access to a computer at Harvard and ran a program that downloaded a huge proportion of the research papers JSTOR sells to universities and other institutions.

Larry Lessig, who worked with Swartz on Creative Commons and other projects, has written a post saying what his young friend did with the JSTOR archive was wrong — although the principle may have been right — but that the government’s case against him was reprehensible and over-reaching in the extreme: “Here is where we need a better sense of justice, and shame. For the outrageousness in this story is not just Aaron. It is also the absurdity of the prosecutor’s behavior. From the beginning, the government worked as hard as it could to characterize what Aaron did in the most extreme and absurd way.”

According to those who knew him, Swartz believed that it was wrong to charge so much for access to these papers, many of which were produced by academics for free, and in some cases with government funding (Maria Bustillos has a great overview of the case here). And even though JSTOR said it didn’t want to proceed with a case against him (and has since opened up its database — at least a little) the Department of Justice continued with its case, and Swartz faced a potential 35 years in prison.

Bradley Horowitz of Google, and formerly of Yahoo, remembered talking with Swartz about his plans to use Hangouts for journalistic purposes around the Occupy Wall Street movement:

“I was really heart-broken by this news… Thank you Aaron, for all you contributed to the world, and inspiring so many.”

In this video conversation from 2008, Swartz talked about how he got started as a programmer with Economist blogger Will Wilkinson:

Swartz had prepared a webpage in the event that he was “hit by a truck” as he put it:

“I ask that the contents of all my hard drives be made publicly available from aaronsw.com… please update the footer of this page with a link. Also email the relevant lists and set up an autoresponder for my email address to email people who write to me. Feel free to publish things people say about me on the site. Oh, and BTW, I’ll miss you all.”

This is a photo of the teenaged Aaron Swartz meeting Creative Commons founder and copyright activist Larry Lessig (photo by Richard Gibson)

larryandme

Web pioneer and Harvard fellow Doc Searls wrote a memorial post for Swartz, along with a picture of him at a conference with Dave Winer — a conference Swartz had to be driven to by his mom, since he was only 15 — and said: “We haven’t just lost a good man, but the better world he was helping to make.”

Alex Macgillivray, general counsel at Twitter and former Google lawyer, said:

A comment on the discussion thread on the Y Combinator site Hacker News that appeared to be from Swartz’s mother said: “Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts. Aaron has been depressed about his case/upcoming trial, but we had no idea what he was going through was this painful. Aaron was a terrific young man. He contributed a lot to the world in his short life and I regret the loss of all the things he had yet to accomplish. As you can imagine, we all miss him dearly. The grief is unfathomable.”

The website public.resource.org — founded by freedom-of-information activist Carl Malamud, who worked with Swartz after with his earlier hack of the federal PACER archive — has gone dark as a tribute, with text that reads in part “Aaron Swartz made our world more free. Thank you Aaron for what you gave us.”

Microsoft research and sociologist Danah Boyd has written about the boy/man she knew for the past nine years, and how he could be both brilliant and frustrating — but she says the thing that makes her the angriest is how unreasonable his prosecution was: “He became a toy for a government set on showing their strength. And they bullied him and preyed on his weaknesses and sought to break him. And they did.”

David Weinberger of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society has a post on his blog in which he calls Aaron Swartz not a hacker but “a builder.” And Weinberger points (as many others have) to a post from Alex Stamos, an expert in information technology who was an expert witness in Swartz’s case, who argues that his downloading of JSTOR articles wasn’t a criminal hack: “I know a criminal hack when I see it, and Aaron’s downloading of journal articles from an unlocked closet is not an offense worth 35 years in jail.”

Micah Sifry of TechPresident remembers meeting Aaron in 2004, when he was 18, and being impressed with how dedicated he was: “I don’t know where he got the bug, but I understood it. If you have “change the world” disease, there is only one cure. And he tried mightily to change the world using every tool at his disposal.” And Dan Gillmor argues that we should remember Aaron by working for open society and against government abuses: “So amid my grief for Aaron, I’m angry — and committed to working for honorable enforcement of rational laws, and for values Aaron exemplified in his short life.”

James Grimmelmann, a law professor at New York Law School who knew Swartz well, writes about some of the incredible things that he accomplished at such a young age: “Aaron was a friend, and more than that, he was one of my heroes. No one I have known better embodied the bumper-sticker motto to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” It is hard to believe he is gone.” And Glenn Greenwald writes at The Guardian about what he calls the “inspiring heroism” of Aaron Swartz — he didn’t just talk about internet freedom and civil liberties, Greenwald says, “He repeatedly sacrificed his own interests, even his liberty, in order to defend these values and challenge and subvert the most powerful factions that were their enemies. That’s what makes him, in my view, so consummately heroic.”

A number of academics have tried to honor Swartz’s commitment to open information by making their journal articles free to download. And Quinn Norton, who was Swartz’s girlfriend for a time, has written a heart-wrenching post about their time together here.

Post and thumbnail images courtesy of Fred Benenson

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  1. The Simple Life of a Country Man’s Wife Saturday, January 12, 2013
  2. This is a truly tragic, and meaningful post. I was unaware of this man, but now feel great sorrow at that fact. May he rest peacefully, his legacy grow and continue to do so, and his family be allowed as much peace, time and the respect they deserve. thank you for posting this.

  3. This post with its collection of media and commentary is very much appreciated. Thank you.

  4. It’s interesting that we as a society that we have come to a point where we mourn the suicide of what was basically a parent’s basement 4chan troll.

    1. Speaking of trolls, that’s a repulsive thing to say about someone who just lost their life, and someone you didn’t even know. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      1. A. As Matthew points out, you didn’t know him.
        B. Every hacker lives in their parents’ basement? Nice to see your refinement and intelligence coming out there.
        C. He had depression. That’s the first thing this post said so you should have known at least that if nothing else about this man. If you’ve never experienced depression, be thankful and very grateful, but don’t ever disparage someone who has it or any other disease. You have no idea what life is like for them.

      2. Good article. But with respect to the deceased, especially his family and those close to him, I appreciate your words and where your coming from, but i find the term “lost” that you have used always a bit strange. Aaron “took” his own life, it was never “lost”…it was always there for him to take advantage of. Tragic nonetheless.

    2. You’ve made an accusation. Now you need to support it.

    3. Unlike you, Swartz has been a positive influence in my life – I use RSS every single day. I bet, among my friends, a fair number will say that he helped their lives. So, how many say that about you? And I live in Sweden, a place where I bet not A. Single. Person. has heard about you.

  5. suicide overshadows any previous intelligence with the ultimate act of ignorance, you only live once

    1. Intelligence or ignorance have nothing to do with it. He was depressed; leave his family to mourn in peace and leave the page if all you’re going to do is insult a dead person.

      1. actually, committing suicide shows a poor understanding of the realities of the universe, regardless of this label of “depression” that you seem to think absolves people of rational thought

    2. Suicide or suicided? One small difference in a letter, a giant leap into the nether.

  6. Thank you, Mathew.

    1. It seemed like the least I could do in honor of Aaron and his memory — such a waste of a brilliant young life.

  7. Let us also remember:

    1) Len Sassaman (Anonymizer/MixMaster), July 2011, http://www.cso.com.au/article/392338/young_cryptographer_ends_own_life/

    2) Ilya Zhitomirskiy (P2P Diaspora), Nov 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/13/diaspora-co-founder-ilya-zhitomirskiy-dies_n_1091382.html

    We need a permanent digital memorial to fallen computer science activists and their visions of our alternate futures. Perhaps archive.org would host?

  8. Family statement on MIT: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2013/01/official_statement.php

    “Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney’s office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community’s most cherished principles.”

    Legal analysis: http://www.litigationandtrial.com/2011/07/articles/series/special-comment/aaron-swartz-computer-fraud-indictment/

    Larry Lessig on prosecutorial overreach: http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/40347463044/prosecutor-as-bully

    “For remember, we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House — and where even those brought to “justice” never even have to admit any wrongdoing, let alone be labeled “felons.”

    In that world, the question this government needs to answer is why it was so necessary that Aaron Swartz be labeled a “felon.” For in the 18 months of negotiations, that was what he was not willing to accept, and so that was the reason he was facing a million dollar trial in April — his wealth bled dry, yet unable to appeal openly to us for the financial help he needed to fund his defense, at least without risking the ire of a district court judge..

    Fifty years in jail, charges our government. Somehow, we need to get beyond the “I’m right so I’m right to nuke you” ethics that dominates our time. That begins with one word: Shame.”

    Ex-partner’s statement: http://www.quinnnorton.com/said/?p=644

    “He read to me and Ada compulsively; he read me a whole David Foster Wallace book. He read Robert Caro to me, countless articles, blog posts, snippets of books. Sometimes, he would call, just read, and hang up. He loved the Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, and the three of us read it together many times. We loved George Saunders. We loved so many things together.”

  9. I didn’t know his name and yet I grieve. A brilliant young man who did so much for all of us. R.I.P. Aaron.

  10. We need a non-repudiable cryptographic protocol for developers and cryptographers who are committing suicide. For the sake of surviving family and friends, we can socially encourage (“a promise”) protocol of leaving a cryptographically-signed note of any length and content. If we can define a convention for archiving our words, we can define a social convention for signing our last words.

    It’s easy to assume that those who have suffered with depression or have expressed suicidal thoughts are more likely to commit suicide. But like everything else in life, non-suicide is a skill that grows with experience. Going to the edge and returning makes one more likely, not less likely, to return from future edges.

    Emotions differentiate us from our machines and data. As we all benefit from the technical creativity of our emotional geniuses, it is in our collective interest to develop a social vocabulary to talk about suicide with our talented friends. As a percentage of the overall population it may be small, but as a percentage of our world-changing youth, it is too high.

    Apologies for the soapbox. Thanks to Mathew for this article.

  11. Reblogged this on Amogh's running blog and commented:
    Aaron, you were a great person. May your death haunt all those officials who try to curb whistleblowing and get away with it.

  12. Was he a Christian?

  13. RIP Aaron Swartz

  14. laurabwilliamsdesigns Saturday, January 12, 2013

    Reblogged this on Laura B Williams Designs and commented:
    So sad.

  15. TVSHOWHOW gone Dark for Aaron…
    Censorship is TREASON. We should prosecute the Public Servant acting like a TYRANT.
    Come to http://www.TVSHOWHOW.COM for 2 “graphics to go Dark for Aaron”

  16. Reblogged this on Assange's Precision and commented:
    Aaron Swartz #aaronsw on How we stopped SOPA

  17. Rohan Jayasekera Sunday, January 13, 2013

    Thank you, Mathew. Your post makes it evident how many people care so much. I never met him yet am deeply affected.

  18. Leon J Williams Sunday, January 13, 2013

    Very sad news.

  19. Leon J Williams Sunday, January 13, 2013

    One of the good guys has been lost, fighting for internet and information freedom.

  20. bravesmartbold Sunday, January 13, 2013

    There’s nothing more criminal than an insane government or authority hiding under the guise of Freedom of Speech.

  21. Thank you for sharing this long, detailed, and link heavy obituary that provides many primary sources so we can hear and read Aaron’s own words and reasoning. Let’s remember that a better, smarter, and more humane government would have supported Aaron’s work instead of prosecuting him and threatening him with life in prison for sharing information and academic articles.

  22. Reblogged this on 2bananas4u's Blog and commented:
    Sad. My heart goes out to Aaron’s friends and family.

  23. RIP Aaron

  24. And the people who are blaming the government for aggressively going after him that contributed to his suicide probably voted for more government in our lives with Obama.

    Irony abounds.

  25. Didn’t know Aaron nor had I ever heard of him but I am deeply saddened from humanities loss of knowledge and our ignorance of what advances our true future; The Human Mind. Collectively it is the sum of knowledge & our ability to use & support it that determines our futures. The loss of Aaron’s great mind is a loss to all of humanity. JPinkham

  26. Great compilation Matthew! Thank you!

  27. I’ve been reading a lot of the online tributes (including this one) to Aaron Swartz, who I hadn’t heard of before his suicide Friday, although I use RSS daily, and am starting to explore Reddit. I think Dave Winer’s thread (http://threads2.scripting.com/2013/january/onlineGrieving) about grieving is pretty much on the mark – we do need to be more aware of the monumental pressures on young, brilliant minds like Swartz’. But I think it’s more than just that. I think that what we’re suffering from is a devaluing of humanity, and these young men as much as the rest of us – maybe more so because they themselves are a “product”. Our value isn’t our mode of production, or how we organize our society, or our monetary savings, or how many children we have, or whatever. Our value is that we are alive. That we are living creatures, who think, feel, create and destroy. And that value is beyond all price. And it’s cumulative – we all are worth more because we are each priceless beings. When we lose someone, we are all affected. When we lose someone because they believe they no longer have any value, our collective worth is diminished.

  28. It is sad all concern is shown after one’s death, where were all these people when he was alive, where all these people when he was suffering from depression? why couldn’t get closer to him and give him company, and take him for a walk, sometimes people stay silent but it’s all in their head and heart that they suffer..

    if you see someone silent and alone a lot, those use internet a lot are like that b/c they are trying to fill up that empty space and stay active in depression, GIVE THEm company MORE… OK

  29. Tragic, absolutely tragic… devastating news

  30. Noreen E. Flowers Sunday, January 13, 2013

    Biggots and torturers have no shame, shameful to say…

  31. CorettaJackson Sunday, January 13, 2013

    This is terrible all the way around. Never met Aaron, but it is clear he was respected and loved by many. I pray he is at rest.

  32. CorettaJackson Sunday, January 13, 2013

    This is tragic. Never met Aaron, but it is clear he was respected and cared for by many. My deepest sympathies to his family, friends & peers.

  33. Richard Bennett Sunday, January 13, 2013

    I’m disappointed that America’s young people have such a poor grasp of the notion of civil disobedience. Throughout history, campaigners for justice and against unjust laws have deliberately broken the law in order to draw attention to their causes. If all goes well, these acts of civil disobedience provoke a disproportionate response from the government, and the campaigner goes to jail. In jail, he becomes a highly influential symbol of the movement and galvanizes society to change the unjust law that put him there. Remember Socrates, John the Apostle, Joan of Arc, Thomas More, Thoreau, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, draft protester David Harris, and Julia “Butterfly” Hill? They all broke the law, all paid the price, and all changed the world, in either big or small ways. Where would the civil rights movement have been without King’s letters from Birmingham, where would moral philosophy be without Plato’s Apology and Crito, and how would the Bible end without Revelations? All were written from prison by unjustly held men.

    Complaining about the over-zealous prosecution seems to miss the point. A crusader for justice should relish an excessive response, since it can only serve to draw attention to the cause and hasten the change that the protester seeks. The prosecutor is simply enforcing the law in any case, not making it. So if your quarrel is with the law, put the blame where it belongs.

    For some reason, Internet protesters want to make all the noise about their causes without paying the price that civil disobedience demands; the kids want to protest anonymously by launching DDoS attacks behind a veil of secrecy instead of getting out in the streets and being counted. This is not good, and it underscores the argument that the Internet makes people weak and stupid. If you believe in your cause, you should be willing to take the heat for it.

    I wouldn’t be too quick to make a martyr out of this poor unfortunate young man for any cause other than teaching the history of protest movements to the young people.

    1. You’re making a lot of words. But if it was you in his situation, I don’t believe you’d be intellectualizing the situation so much (“a crusader for justice should relish an excessive response”). Let’s see how you relish the prospect of 30 years in jail.

      1. Richard Bennett Rich Monday, January 14, 2013

        I wouldn’t be in the that situation if I weren’t prepared for the government’s reaction.

  34. arabellathinks Monday, January 14, 2013

    Awh. This is too sad. I’m too emotionally wrecked by his death. :(

  35. The gov’t crushed the soul and heart of a genius because they want to control us. I am so sick that this young man took his life when all he wanted to do was make our life better. Rest in Peace you man… You did make a difference!

  36. thedroidchronicles Monday, January 14, 2013

    Sad to read this ,may his soul rest in peace.

  37. RIP Aaron and condolence to the family and friends..

  38. He took the easy way out! I wish we could have seen him go thru the legal system. I feel for his family and what they have to go through.

  39. You should change the title to “what like minded collectivists are saying”. It’s one thing to report on a family’s tragedy and profit from it, but it’s pretty shameful to insert yourself into a family’s tragedy, proselytize your collectivist ideology, and profit from it by running ads (and then in the comments say it’s the least you could do, as you look at your page view numbers). And it’s ironic that you’re selling ads for a company called “Firehost, Secure Cloud Hosting” on a tribute page to a dead hacker. You should ask the sponsor of this page, Firehost, for a statement on why they are paying money to advertise on a blog like this. Not sure you should be calling someone else a troll. Your disdain for history and accuracy also shows, as it does the youtube clip. This type of collectivism was supposed to be killed off with the end of WWII and collapse of the Soviet Union, but a subculture remains that is continuing to fan the flames of anarchy. To anyone that values property and individual rights, watch out when a collectivist starts to throw around benign sounding phrases like open, free, neutral, etc, that’s just code for taking something from someone else and offering nothing in return. The ones that know what they are doing and talking about seek to bring down the entire system, the lazy idiots who buy into their slogans because they sound good are simply foot soldiers that don’t know any better. P.S. I’m a suicide survivor and just spent my first holiday season as an only child. The young man who took his life (he did not lose his life, as you say above) is not a victim. His family is. Thank goodness you’re Canadian.

  40. You should add Quinn Norton’s haunting, heartbreaking tribute to her best friend and former lover.

  41. Abdallah Al-Hakim Monday, January 14, 2013

    Nice job Mathew of putting together the reaction to Aaron’s death. For additional comments on this sad story- here is a link to an Engagio search for comments on Aaron Swartz that I performed http://bit.ly/13vbSf5

  42. What were the circumstances around his death? Was he allegedly alone in the house when he died? Where did the claim that he had “depression” come from? Suicides of people like this (destined to become martyrs or heroes of the people) are always suspect.

  43. I am incredibly sad to hear of his death. We need more ideals-based youth like him.

  44. RIP Aaron. He was such a brilliant young man and I loved observing him.

  45. Jeanmarie Todd Monday, January 14, 2013

    I didn’t really know who Aaron Swartz was until I read this. Thanks for the lesson. Heart-breaking, tragic. Did he know there were people who would go to bat for him?

  46. williamw60640 Monday, January 14, 2013

    My condolences go out to this amazing young man’s loved ones at this time of incredible loss. Suicide is never an answer-just an end. His humanity and genius touched so many lives, and I’m sure he is greatly missed. I wish him peace.

  47. It is very sad moment for us that we have loosed a super Intelligent and brilliant man before time. He was a great and inspiration for all youngsters..

  48. I just came across this post whilst browsing… I didn’t know who this guy was nor what he did. This post helped me see how much he has done for people and the internet world. It’s a very sad loss, he sounds like he was an amazing guy…. Thank you for teaching us about someone that was really trying to better this world.

  49. Very sad to have lost a leading light in today’s crazy IT world. R.I.P.

  50. nearlynormalized Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    The young man/boy was fragile sometimes fragility is the enemy within. I’m sad this happened, one wishes he could have been held close and told, “This too shall pass.”

  51. sotherantbegins Thursday, January 17, 2013

    Fantastic, well written post. To lose this man is a tragedy for humanity – and the pursuit of truth via the freedom to access information. Vale Aaron

  52. I hope he’s happy where ever he is

  53. Dan and Kristien Del Ferraro Tuesday, January 22, 2013

    Mathew, thanks for sharing this and especially all the comments on there. The amount of time and effort it took to create this must have been very immense. We appreciate it…thanks.

  54. I am a neophyte at the achievements Aaron may have reached in his short life, as well as the justice system; still, I believe, at my very fundamental level of understanding in these matters, he broke the law and was afraid of paying the consequences, granted. It seems the justice system wanted to make an example of him, granted.

    My comment stems from my expertise in depression and suicide, no, I do not hold a pompous degree in Psychology or anything similar. I have struggled with debilitating depression all my life and have committed many (infructuous, obviously) suicide attempts and I know this is the underlying cause of his suicide. All the circumstances surrounding him, were just triggers for the worsening of his depression, but not the reason for his suicide. The only culprit was his own mental state, his depression.

  55. Rest in peace, Aaron <3

  56. genealogyfinders Friday, January 25, 2013

    He did wrong by downloading but the relentless pursuit by the authorities was over the top.

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