Aaron Swartz, Asking For Help, 119 Days Ago

Nik Cubrilovic points out that people were significantly less enraged by Aaron’s legal troubles just a few months ago.

Apparently Swartz wasn’t able to make a direct plea for help:

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.

That’s probably why the request for funds didn’t include much information. One thing I know from personal experience, judges hate it when parties talk publicly about their cases. There are a lot of things about our criminal legal system that need to be changed, and this is just one of them. Prosecutors know how to play the press. Most defendants don’t.

But regardless, some people have done a complete 180 degree turn. “edw519” for example commented on the first article (this comment was upvoted to the top spot):

Now let me see if I got this right:
1. Brilliant programmer gets chance of a lifetime.
2. Turns that into lots of money early in life.
3. Decides to change the world in his own way.
4. Consciously & purposefully breaks the law.
5. Has a webpage to get others to pay his legal bills.
I’ve never met Aaron but I’ve always enjoyed his writing and looked forward to meeting him one day. But there is something seriously wrong about this.
Aaron should man up, take responsibility for his actions, and pay his own bills.
And if this is his idea of changing the world, perhaps he should reconsider his choices and find a better way of paying it forward to other brilliant programmers who never got the breaks he did.

Compare to more recent comments:

edw519 2 days ago | link | parent | on: Cory Doctorow: RIP, Aaron Swartz

Thank you, Cory. This wonderful post will bring understanding (and maybe even comfort) to many of us who are sad and confused today.
It will also probably save some lives.

edw519 2 days ago | link | parent | on: Aaron Swartz commits suicide

Stunned & heartbroken.