Digital activist and early employee at Reddit, Aaron Swartz, committed suicide in New York on January 11. He was 26.
Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing wrote a beautiful eulogy to the young man who, at the age of 14, surprised his computing peers by organizing the RSS 1.0 working group. Wrote Doctorow:
Schwartz was in the news in 2011 for taking 4 million documents from JSTOR, an online aggregator of scientific journals. The U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts charged him with computer fraud to which he plead not guilty. He also “completed a fellowship at Harvard’s Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption,” according to the MIT Tech.
It is always tragic when one of our own dies and it is made even more tragic when they choose suicide rather than help. The life of the mind is a glorious place but, as Doctorow writes, now “if he was lonely, he will never again be embraced by his friends.” We are all in this together and help can cope in many forms (Reddit, The Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and those close to you).
But rather than dwell on what went wrong, it is right to celebrate this young man’s accomplishments and mourn his passing. He was a friend to many of us and will be missed.
Memories and donations can be sent at RememberAAronSw.com. His parents and partner posted a remembrance here.