I had the brief chance to meet Aaron Swartz two years ago while in New York, and was instantly drawn to his charismatic outspokenness and passion when talking about the freedom of the internet and it’s powerful capability to inspire revolution and organize youth activism around the world. The room was full of fellow advocates and friends who when Aaron spoke, listened with awe and intensity to his every word. It was a swift encounter but a truly inspiring one. The following is a collection of statements from his close friends, family, and acquaintances that I find summarize the tragic situation far better than I could hope to myself:
“Since his arresting the early morning of January 11, 2011 — two years to the day before Aaron Swartz ended his life — I have known more about the events that began this spiral than I have wanted to know. Aaron consulted me as a friend and lawyer that morning. He shared with me what went down and why, and I worked with him to get help. When my obligations to Harvard created a conflict that made it impossible for me to continue as a lawyer, I continued as a friend. Not a good enough friend, no doubt, but nothing was going to draw that friendship into doubt.