A note on the martyrdom of Aaron Swartz

Just a quick note on the Aaron Swartz posts, which are still coming up near-daily on HN.

When there’s a mass shooting, many people point out that psychologists have recommended news stations avoid delivering any attention to the individual who committed the act. The main idea is to prevent copycats (though I guess there’s a secondary desire to deprive the assailant of any fame he thought he would gain).

There’s an obvious connection here. If we want to stop people from killing either each other or themselves, we shouldn’t martyrize people who distribute death, whether to self or others. Despite external pressures, Aaron Swartz holds the ultimate responsibility for what he did. And the message that’s getting sent is, “If you’re being persecuted and have minor notoriety among your peers, and you want to get talked about for months, and get laws named after yourself, or otherwise ‘die for the cause’, kill yourself. Make the sacrifice for the greater good. You’ll save others.”

Some would find that message problematic.

I understand that this subject has been replica cartier love bracelets taboo because of our affection for Swartz and his obvious mistreatment by the government, but the continued proliferation of posts glorifying and/or justifying Swartz’s action, and the particular annoyance inspired hermes h bracelet
by a U.S. Representative replica cartier from a tech-heavy sector attempting to play this event into an opportunity to pander, has finally provoked me into writing this post.