In October 2012 I posted a piece entitled “The Tyranny of Evil Academe” as a response to another blog written by Sarah Kendzior. I strongly disagreed with much of what Miss Kendzior had written and I still do. However, re-reading some of my own words in light of Aaron Swartz’s tragic death has left me feeling queasy. Certainly anything I’m feeling pales in comparison to those who actually knew and cared for Aaron. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones.
With Aaron’s suicide this month I was exposed to more of the facts surrounding the “JSTOR Incident.” Some of the information which I’d accepted as truth now must be called into question. I now regret the zeal with which I labelled his acts as “criminal.” I still have many questions about certain details of the case and hope to find factual answers which will allow me to better form my opinion.
For now, I’m leaving my previous blog post as is, because I feel it’d be wrong for me to edit or remove them. They were my words, and I’m responsible for them. I leave them as a reminder, to myself and others, that before we slap a label on someone or something; before we get caught up in the heat of the moment, we should probably step back and whenever possible make sure we have all the facts. I thought I did. I was wrong.
In my post I’d questioned those who seemed to be making Aaron “out to be some kind of victim or martyr.” Just a few short months later, here we are. I wish that he was still here for those who loved him, and for those (like myself) who did not even have a chance to know him.