An Appreciation of Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz, an Internet freedom leader, committed suicide yesterday, January 11, 2013, in New York. On this page of his personal Web site, he gives instructions about what to do if he gets hit by a truck. One of the instructions: “Feel free to publish things people say about me on the site”.

I have some things to say about you, Aaron:

  • I always felt smaller when I was with you. You were just plain smarter than me. Your cool quiet smirk made me feel like I was catching up all the time. You knew things that I was four sentences away from knowing. Made my mind breathless.
  • Your youth made me feel paternal, and your intellect made me feel little-brother. As the father of two boys and the younger brother of six, I have a lot of experience with both. You made both those cello strings move in me.
  • You had more guts than me. An odd, rock-like purity. Hard, and impermeable. I wished I could be like that, and was also glad that I couldn’t be like that. This is not a comfortable dichotomy.
  • What really made me cry today was Larry: “We are all incredibly sorry to have let you down.”
  • I’m so thankful for what you did with your time on Earth. Thank you.



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