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He was thoughtful, funny, hard working, and incredibly well-connected in the free (and commercial) software communities. I will miss him.
I was curious where the Deb came from:
>It comes from the names of the creator of Debian, Ian Murdock, and his wife, Debra.
I'm sure this sounds as vinyl scratching to a lot of ears
Debian stands on its own, though that statement is correct
(I honestly can't find anything saying the Debian people invented dependency-tracking package management. FreeBSD's ports system might predate it. However, Debian brought the idea to more people than FreeBSD was able to.)
Ubuntu still uses Debian packages, like a number of other distros, and Debian has seen other distros rise and fall. Ian Murdock therefore had a direct hand in creating core infrastructure we rely on to this day, whether we know it or not.
Debian packaging was an amazing step forward in the Linux world when it appeared.
It's a tragedy. I desperately hope we get more information.
I don't. My first reaction when being faced with adversity is to fight it, get revenge in some form, not harm myself hoping that it will shame those that wronged me.
This news is, tragically, new information. :(
Police are one of the more blunt instruments in the toolbox. What possibly would have helped if someone close to Ian spotted this and would have done something about it but one can easily imagine that those people all follow Ians twitter feed and would already be better informed than any of us.
Secondguessing is easy.
Yes, some friend/acquaintance could have paid him a visit. How big do you think the chances are that HN would be the channel that would alert a friend or acquaintance of Ian that would not already be aware of this through his twitter feed?
> But dang's comfort is more important, isn't it?
No, it obviously isn't but he made the right call in shutting down that thread and it looks to me as if you're trying to blame Dan for the death of Ian, which is utterly reprehensible. As I wrote above there is no way to do this right but with hindsight you too would have known what to do.
Fucking backseat drivers. I've been thinking really hard lately about why I feel that HN is no longer the nice place it used to be and it is comments like these that ram that home in a way that not much else ever could.
Trying to make it seem as if I somehow mis-understood you is even lower.
That is something you don't have a shred of evidence for and which indirectly lays blame for Ian's suicide with Dan and I really don't think you should be writing stuff like that here or elsewhere, it is in complete contradiction with the facts.
If you think that you have the right of way here then by extension HN should from now on be renamed suicide watch and each and every twitter post about someone who writes they want to commit suicide should get top billing and be sticky until the person is tied to a stretcher somewhere.
Try not to be a dick around here, it really does not help, for one it ruins the atmosphere and for another you are causing a thing that hurts to cause even more pain.
And if you can't keep the bile out of your comments then simply don't comment at all.
I'm not myopic for seeing that Ian had many more ways of reaching out to others than asking people aready reading this twitter feed to post it to HN which could then possibly result in someone close to him reaching him in time to make a difference. That's patently absurd reasoning.
> Ad absurdum argument. Ian's posts weren't the attention seeking behavior of some high-school drama hound, this was clearly a legitimate meltdown by the founder of Debian, someone who was a part of this community, not someone random as you suggest.
Yes, but that does not make the community responsible, as much as you would apparently like.
> That's why the post about his tweets was being upvoted -- people recognized there was a legitimate issue that needed attention.
Well, an 'upvote' is not giving attention to an issue, it is just a way to express support. Attention to an issue is to figure out who is close enough to Ian to go and do something about it. And I notice that nobody did, not you nor anybody else for that matter. Given how connected the world is do you really believe that HN is now so important that in matters of life-or-death the right thing to do is to ask for a post on HN rather than to contact someone close? Do you actually believe that none of Ians twitter followers would be better placed to make the link? Do you know Ians HN handle?
> Then the Dang intentionally removed the post, blinding everyone to what was happening simply because they didn't want people to "gawk."
No, he didn't blind anybody. If you were a friend of Ians then you should not rely on HN to make the difference in situations like these. It is an absolutely horrible thing to attempt to make that link. Of course it nicely fits in with your inner narrative that someone needs to be blamed here and you've figured that should be Dan because he killed that thread. But having been in Dans shoes in the past makes me a bit more knowledgeable about how these things go and the fact of the matter is that in the past those threads stayed up and people still killed themselves, and some threads may have contributed to the person killing themselves (see the thread where Aaron Swartz asked for help). Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
> That's pretty reprehensible, in my opinion, and though I'm sure it wasn't intended that way, actions have consequences.
That action did not have the consequence you tie to it. If you read Ians words carefully he explicitly asked all his friends NOT TO STOP HIM. So how come you are so clever about this that you feel that it is right to blame a complete outsider just because a forum thread was deleted. Ians life or death did not hinge on that in a way linked strongly enough that you can make these outrageous claims.
He was part of this community. He was in crisis and it was obvious. People would have wanted to help.
You don't talk someone down from a ledge by turning your back on them.
That's all I'll say on the matter.
You don't know that for sure so you can't make the link.
All I note is that you didn't do anything when it mattered and now you're quick with the knife of blame.
> He was part of this community.
So are you, and yet, if you posted a bunch of stuff on Twitter about how you were going to kill yourself and ask for having that posted on HN it would neither be the appropriate venue nor would it be productive to have your inner mental health discussed ad nauseam by strangers. Trying to rebuild your reputation afterwards would have been a lot harder because those HN discussions tend to hang around just about forever, long after you came to your senses again.
> He was in crisis and it was obvious. People would have wanted to help.
So, who were those people that would have wanted to help? I don't see anybody here saying that if they had heard about this in time through HN they would have hopped over to Ians place to stop him from doing his deed. You really just keep on adding speculation and claiming it is factual.
> You don't talk someone down from a ledge by turning your back on them.
Well, you don't talk someone down from a ledge either by standing on the ground next to the fallen body and blaming random bystanders who - conveniently - decided to stop the public discussion of the persons mental state as though that is some kind of spectator sport.
> That's all I'll say on the matter.
You felt the need to start this subthread, it is interesting that you should choose to bow out of it now, it would have been better if you had not said anything at all.
If the facts of the case interest you this zdnet article seems to be the most informed:
It does not in any way shape or form list a lack of HN involvement as a contributing cause of death.
Not everything is about productivity.
For the record: I've never in my life worn a suit and there is absolutely nobody dead because 'a fucking PC techno-facist censored a thread'.
Just like edw519 isn't responsible for Aaron Swartz killing himself neither is DanG responsible for Ian Murdock.
You and all the other backseat drivers in this thread that have never in their lives had a visible and public role should take a hike.
Remember: it was precisely the sort of harrassment that Ian Murdock had to sustain that eventually caused him to flip, there is quite a bit of evidence that one of the catalysts in this whole saga is that someone kept on railing on debian.
DanG has taken exceptional risk in being publicly visible as the moderator of HN, he does so in an incredibly transparent fashion, comments on when and why decisions of all kinds are made and is working extremely hard to make HN a better place. To see a bunch of assholes use any and all opportunity to second guess the decisions and to make personal attacks including yours is proof positive that no good deed will go unpunished.
Your 'prior presence' does not excuse you from this deplorable behavior, you're just another lurker and an anonymous coward to me, your account creation date has fuck all to do with your degree of involvement in HN.
And if you really believe this place is run by suits and techno facists then you probably don't want any part of this anyway.
> and I'll be taking the true hackers with me.
Not this one.
His tweets were still available; did he get any help from that? From what I saw he got trolled.
Given other people are talking about other erratic behaviour over the last few days then an aggressive brain tumour or bleeding into the brain would also be possibilities. Best not to jump to conclusions too early (the same is also true for those suggesting police brutality as the cause)
Normally if someone dies while in the custody of police there is automatically an inquest as to what happened. If there's evidence of mistreatment or abuse, the District Attorney can then decide to send the case to a grand jury and let them decide whether they should charge the officers involved. The DA can also indict and charge the officers without a grand jury. In most cases, DA's send their cases to the grand jury in effect to "test" how strong the evidence is they have.
In the Ferguson case, the grand jury waded through thousands of documents and decided the conflicting witnesses testimonies and physical evidence made them decide not to indict officer Wilson for the shooting.
Even if the DA decides not to prosecute (for whatever reason), then the family can hire an attorney and file a wrongful death case (violation of constitutional rights) as a civil suit against the city. Civil cases also have a lot lower burden of proof or what we call "the preponderance of the evidence" meaning its more likely something than not something happened.
He went on a tirade the other night on Twitter after what he reported was a run-in with the police. The tweets got more incoherent as the evening went on, but it read like he was backing down from suicide. Since the linked release doesn't say that and it looks like he closed his Twitter, I guess we don't really know what went down. He also doesn't seem to have published the promised blog post. What a shame. I wish he'd found the help he was looking for.
>From: Michael Morisy
>To Whom It May Concern:
>This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:
>A copy of the FBI's files on computer programmer Ian Murdock (28 April 1973 – 28 December 2015).
It's incredibly sad, whatever happened. I've felt the loss from many people in my life leaving too soon. We all have. Sometimes it's suicide, sometimes it's a car accident. Sometimes it's cancer. Sometimes people just get old and die. Sometimes people get mugged by thugs. Or Police. Maybe there isn't a difference between the last two.
But it doesn't matter right now. The process of justice is a slow-moving wheel. Sometimes it doesn't move at all. Sometimes it moves the wrong way.
For better or worse, that wheel is not in the hacker community's hands. Keep records, remember what you saw happening. But it's far too soon to expect anything concrete.
Instead, I think it's reasonable to think of what the family has to say. At least for right now.
So I offer this:
I use Ian Murdock's work every day at my job and every evening when I'm just playing around with stuff.
Debian has been the single most important technology that propelled and directed my career and my creative life since I started creating things with technology.
This person, who I never had the opportunity to meet, affected my life in amazing ways by giving me tools I never had and didn't have the ability to imagine.
Thank you, Ian Murdock.
We all owe him a debt of gratitude for the creation of Debian, the most widely used GNU/Linux distribution today.
Does anyone here actually know what happened?
 Ubuntu is based on Debian: https://www.debian.org/misc/children-distros
I also suffer from depression, and have struggled with inappropriate thoughts due to my experience with police.
It is sad that he has apparently actually committed suicide - as I would have loved to join him in his fight against state abuse.
I wish I would have had the opportunity to work with / support this effort.
They then arrested me and refused to tell me why - their exact words were "you know why" and took me to jail. I then had to bail out of jail and upon doing so, found out they arrested me for "being drunk in public". For drinking wine, hours prior, in my OWN HOME.
I went to court and no charges were filed and the whole thing was dismissed.
But not after I lost several thousand to bail, and I had no recourse at all.
There is a lot more to the story of this particular officer but this arrest was exactly as stated above.
It almost cost me my job as well, had I not had the ability to bail out. All for nothing.
If you drop all charges / do not charge someone with anything then the police should have to not only pay all my bail feed back, but I should be able to go after them for false arrest.
The existence of such a loophole, and the fact that the police knowingly uses it with impunity, is evidence of how fucked up the system is. They are supposed to be there to protect us, not to entrap you for whatever power game they are playing.
I had a non-tactical, non-aggressive knife in my pocket and ended up getting arrested. No previous trouble with the law... I was minding my own business on the subway.
Handful of court dates, a few grand and community service. For a tool.
Understand that you don't want to give details but can you say why they were called to your house in the first place?
Also, they keep bail, assuming I had paid it in cash in full, for "a year and a day"
The cops retain the "right" to charge you for 1 year.
It's very sad when people pass away like that. Aaron Swartz and Ilya Zhitomirskiy also come to mind.
This incident shows nicely how this kind of thing can happen to anyone -- even a nice person (as say all who worked with/knew him), with no violent past, having built a huge community project, a family, working in a prominent startup, etc. White, too.
He says he was given bail, which implies he was arrested. Arrests are usually a matter of public record. Is there any data on the record supporting this?
He was the founder of the Debian project, let's remember him for that or other contributions he's made to the tech community.
Debian has grown to be one of the most well known and popular Linux distribution, used in production, in the cloud, as the base for SteamOS, Ubuntu and other projects. It is and was a major part of what made Linux popular.
Not only would we dishonor his memory by not digging up links and making speculations about what happened (did he commit suicide, possibly due to a brain injury from the police beatings? Or was he killed by the police? If so, by whom?), we are also putting ourselves in danger. What happened to Ian could happen to any of us.
Of course we should be sensitive to his family and friends and not traumatize them further. But that's no excuse for leaving the criminals who did this to walk free and kill more of us.
Don't "wait for the family to release more information". Find the information yourself, in Google Cache, on Twitter, wherever you can. It may not be there tomorrow or the day after. And don't wait until people are no longer paying attention. That's a losing public relations strategy. Seize the day.
A few years ago I was going through a very tough time. I lived in the UK at the time and went to california for a meetup. After even more personal crap happened, I went on a walk seriously considering suicide.
Kept trying to call friends, family, nobody picked up, it was the hardest day of my life to get through. Next thing I knew I found myself on top of a tall building at which point I had the clarity to figure out I really should talk to a suicide hotline.
Unfortunately I didn't know the number and internet abroad was impossible to get at the time, so I ended up calling 911. Funny that, it turns out when you do that in california, you are considered a "danger to yourself" and must be arrested.
Still I figured it was the better solution and let the cops take me. I ended up in handcuffs for the day, was roughened up quite a bit, treated like cattle until I was sent off to a ward for 48 hours. My belongings were all taken and I was not allowed to call anyone overseas (where the only people I knew resided). When I pleaded for help, I was threatened to be put on indefinite hold.
Everything I remember about this sucks. It's honestly a miracle I got through it alive - CA tried very hard to help me kill myself. Had to fake being happy and well and all of this being a terrible mistake to be released when the time was up. I later got much better, higher quality help when back in Europe.
I learned one thing: Don't have mental health issues in the US. And if you do, don't talk to the cops. Never talk to the cops.
I'm really sorry you had that experience. And I'm so so glad that you didn't die that night.
I wanted to let you know that there is work currently happening (in the UK) to prevent death by suicide from tall buildings. For example, in Gloucestershire we're trying to get multi-story car parks to put up signs for the Samaritans as a short term measure. Longer term we want to try to improve safety of the building, perhaps though planning control, or through asking owners to retro-fit fences.
Alongside that we're trying to improve health services to be more responsive for people at risk of suicide, especially men.
(If anyone has any ideas about useful suicide prevention measures please feel free to email me via the email in my profile).
> so I ended up calling 911. Funny that, it turns out when you do that in california, you are considered a "danger to yourself" and must be arrested.
This is something about mental health that people often don't understand: sometimes it's provided by police in a police van or a police cell. They have very little training in MH. In the UK things are slowly changing. The police have a power under the MH act to detain people and take them to a place of safety to be assessed by doctors. In many parts of the country that place of safety is a police cell, but some areas have specialist Section 136 suites. (Section 136 of the MH Act).
Thank you for having the courage to speak about your experiences. It sounds like a difficult time was made very much worse - it sounds awful.
If anyone is looking for volunteer work in the UK, especially if you have people skills, check them out.
You sound like you work in mental health. Can I ask you who you work for?
I'm originally from Gloucester so appreciate what you are doing for that part of the country.
I don't know if that was typical. I don't know if policemen treat drunks differently to the mentally ill. And god knows the Metropolitan Police are not exactly famed for their kind and gentle treatment of the denizens of the city. But in at least one case, a guy was okay.
It helps that they're mostly not armed, apart from all the guys standing around with MP5s defending public spaces from terrorists.
The Guardian were rightly forced by the PCC to retract their article that claimed Duggan was 'unarmed' and should feel ashamed of themselves for helping stoke that fire.
Maybe internationally, but they're pretty dodgy for a UK police force.
The first time, I freaked out and had to be held down by a group of people, including an orderly that purposely hurt me and left a large bruise on my shin after pushing it downwards against a metal bar off of a hospital bed. I was shot up with morphine to calm me down and then strapped in to a bed - and all I recall after that is waking up in the morning to someone staring at me from the door way. Supposedly, action was taken against the orderly - but I have no guarantee or follow up on that. Additionally, when the police originally arrived at my apartment, two officers searched it looking for a weapon (they found a steak knife that had fallen next to the stove which they questioned me about - I don't even remember it falling there - could've been there for a while) - I am pretty sure they had no right to search my place, but I could be wrong.
The second time, I was forced to take double the dose of the medication I normally took for anti-anxiety/depression which actually caused me to hallucinate while I was locked up. This 72-hour hold actually lasted much longer because the staff psychiatrist left for an extended Thanksgiving weekend, so it came out to 5 days.
It truly worries me how bad of an experience this was. I met some interesting people with interesting issues during these two brief experiences - but I don't see how they were being provided with the help they actually needed.
what do you ring if you need firefighters or a doctor?
Don't call the cops. Don't ever ever call the cops.
If something happened and he was having some sort of mental health or drug problem, hopefully that would be mentioned, if something really did go down with the cops, you might hear a bit of that too. Might be interesting to see what exactly happened to him, just don't go jumping to any conclusions and starting witch hunts. This is crazy enough as it is and probably won't lead to a full picture in any case, but it might shed some light.
I got a friend who is mentally ill and is homeless sometimes, police beat him up and arrested him for being at a McDonald's on his Macbook. He was in jail for a year, gave him the wrong psyche meds, kept delaying his preliminary hearing until he had to plead guilty to get out of jail. Charged with threaten with intent to terrorize and only the police officer's word against his for evidence.
I am mentally ill myself, I became disabled in 2003. In the IT industry one has to keep the mental illness a secret or else they lose their job or end up not being hired for jobs. Basically my career was over when I developed a mental illness.
I can tell by Ian's tweets that he was not in his right mind. I hope his family files a lawsuit against the police, because they basically forced him into suicide for whatever they did.
The problem isn't training. You don't need training to be nice to people and not beat them senseless, nor do you need to be a genius to see when someone is having mental problems, or to know that being an asshole to someone who's clearly suicidal isn't helpful.
The problem is that the police in the USA are largely evil. There's no other explanation for it. You have to be an evil person to enjoy beating other people, not to mention shooting them in the back and other violent things that our police do to people on a daily basis.
Either way, while I totally understand his family's request for privacy, I do wish as a culture we felt more comfortable discussing things like this when they happen instead of basically all trying to sweep it under the rug.
People shouldn't be shamed for having mental health issues, but neither should we expend so much effort on pretending like we don't have something of an epidemic going on in this area these days.
Or: You can apply the principle of charity to somebody's choice of words and still critique their point, and that often works out better in terms of constructive results.
I consider that attitude to be deeply unfortunate and to be unfair both to the temporarily unhinged and to the long term mentally ill. If you had a term that was an alternative to unhinged that didn't make your socially conditioned prejudices twitch, I'd have preferred you shared it rather than simply attack both groups for using language that they consider to be accurate (because then you wouldn't've managed to insult most of my friends in one tone deaf unconstructive reply)
So unless you're actually going to suggest something, I'll be keeping with the term they're happy with, I'm afraid.
I'd appreciate if any US residents can comment on the procedures locally and I realise that procedure may vary in different states.
My first thought was 'another cancer death' but it appears to be more involved. The phrasing of the request from the family suggests to me that the situation may be more complex. I was reading this guy's blog just yesterday, odd times.
I wasn't trying to claim any kind of superiority for the system as operated in England/Wales. I was wondering aloud about what is supposed to happen in US/relevant state, so that I can track subsequent news, and I have the answer now from user lstyls.
In the case you cite, it is worth noting that the Hutton Inquiry replaced an inquest, which is very unusual.
I was pretty sure that the one and only job of a Coroner in the U.S. was to report cause of death.
I was also under the impression that if cause of death is not natural, then the local authorities are supposed to open an investigation.
If he had mental health problems then police can easily be perceived as they are after him and any attempt to restrain you will be seen as violence.
It is really tragic but if it likely to be police brutality then the family will pursue it. If they don't pursue any action then my guess is that Ian had a mental illness and this is just a series of very unfortunate events due to that.
> "i had to have swtitches"
Also please note this message on Debian's site from his family:
"His family has asked for privacy during this difficult time and we very much wish to respect that."
Given that Ian's twitter pointed the finger at law enforcement for inciting this, what you are really saying is let's give the police time to cover up the details of what happened, obscure or destroy evidence, recruit prosecutors to their defense, and wait for months or years while an alleged internal investigation occurs.
A close relative of mine committed suicide. It was a difficult time and I empathize with the family's situation. However, assuming Ian's twitter posts bear some relation to reality and are not pure hallucinations, then the family is wrong to ask for privacy and space. To do so is to sacrifice justice for an imagined peace and to grant an undeserved mercy to those responsible.
> If you would like to share your thoughts or condolences, Ian's family and the Docker family appreciate you sharing them by posting a comment on this page. Additionally, Ian's family has requested that well-wishers and press respect their privacy and direct all inquiries through Docker.
Years later his children will search for their father's name, find this and instead of people remembering positive contributions to the community, they'll find people digging in the dirt, looking for signs of drug use, calling death threats for cops, revenge, mental issues, speculate stuff without facts in general.
It would seem to me at least giving that statement from the family the benefit of the doubt instead of going for a legalistic interpretation "Well they didn't explicitly say not to discuss stuff online, so go ahead everyone, start guessing, send FOIA requests, call him unhinged etc..."
What exactly do you mean by that?
The reason I'm asking is that everything I've read or heard from law enforcement acquaintances is that cops are much more likely to draw their weapon in situations where they think guns are present. That is, they might be less likely to "beat the shit [out] of you", but they are much more likely to shoot you. If a cop is bent on subduing me or doing me harm, I'd much rather they rough me up than shoot me.
Also, I just have to say that if you feel the only thing standing between you and police brutality is your gun, you must inhabit a very different mental space than I do. I grew up with guns (in rural Alabama), and I'd probably have one now, if my wife weren't against having one with a child in the house. I can think of many reasons to own a gun. Protecting myself from the police is not one of them.
I really don't get people who think their guns will protect them from the government. Ultimately we, the people, are the government. What protects us from overreach and abuse of power these days is strong encryption and better transparency laws.
Everyday crime prevention and hunting for food aren't the only other reasons to own a gun. They can be used for sport, like target shooting. And home protection doesn't just mean stopping a home invasion. For example, I've lived through hurricanes where my community was without electricity for multiple days, and I've seen looting firsthand. In that type of situation, having a gun can be a beneficial deterrent.
Honestly, I find this whole idea of protecting yourself from cops with a gun to be asinine. I'm not saying it would never happen, but in general, the second you pull a gun on a cop you've dramatically increased your chances of getting shot, repeatedly. Any other cop who comes on the scene will shoot first and ask questions later.
I don't have hard stats to back that up, but I do know that if you get into a confrontation with a cop, your best bet is to practice de-escalation techniques. Be calm and respectful until their adrenaline levels have dropped. Mentioning or drawing a weapon will escalate the situation.
What I remember is my dad, with his shotgun in a pocket/cradle position (muzzle pointed at the sky, a common field carry), going out to talk to people rummaging through the debris in our back yard, collecting tools and supplies blown out of our barn/toolshed, i.e., pretending to be reclaiming their stuff but actually stealing ours.
The normal protocol in that situation is to knock on the door and ask the owner's permission to reclaim your stuff, show them what you think is yours, etc. If somebody is violating that protocol, I think it's okay to take a defensive posture with them. Shooting at them or running out with your gun pointed at them would be a ridiculous overreaction and terribly unsafe.
The rules of engagement are similar. You still want to practice de-escalation techniques. You don't know if one of those boys in your yard (I remember mostly groups of 2-3 older teenagers doing this looting) is carrying a weapon. You don't run out guns blazing, shouting "get off my lawn." You walk out calmly and ask if you can help them find something. You're just trying to communicate that somebody lives here, we see that you appear to be stealing our property, and we have the means to defend our property if necessary. So move along – or explain what you're doing here.
The "or explain yourself" part is important too. It's central to my whole argument really. You don't know somebody's intentions just from looking at them. I remember one incident where a guy was looking for some tarps to cover a big hole in his roof. He appeared to be some rascal taking our shit – and he was, kind of – but it was more like somebody digging through your garbage for scraps to feed his family. So my dad came in and got me, and we spent the next hour pulling some of the plywood off our windows and helping him strap it (precariously) to the back of his ATV.
The difference between interacting with suspected looters and interacting with cops is that cops are agents of the state. If a cop feels threatened, he can give you a lawful order to lie on the ground, surrender your weapon, etc., and if you disobey, you're breaking the law. Now, exactly what constitutes a lawful order versus a "request" is debatable and depends on the situation, but I doubt there's a judge or jury in the US who would question the cop saying he felt legitimately threatened if you draw your weapon or point it at them.
No, I'm not sarcastic. Bringing out a gun to show people you'll shoot them over possessions is a serious overreaction.
Your story seems to describe a childhood event, and to be honest it sounds like a child's interpretation of the events: things are cast in black-and-white terms with your dad playing the role of the classic "good guy with a gun", there's clear-cut justice where he helps out another family in need, the villains are obviously just villains and thieves. That's all fine, and I have no doubt that you vividly remember these events and that they played out that way.
However, the reality is that, despite what you say, bringing out a gun is an instant escalation-to-the-top technique. Showing someone you're ready to shoot them (and that's exactly what walking up to a stranger with a gun in your hand is doing) is not de-escalation, it's escalation, it's raising the stakes to the highest point.
I mean, they're, in your own words, older teenagers. If they're not supposed to be there, use words! "Hey, that's not your stuff! Go home!" Brandishing a weapon, adding a gun to the mix is dangerous, because immediately and very clearly life is at risk.
If one of those older teenagers thought the same thing--"guns are a good way to go and get my tools back from that crazy guy who's been looting and hauling our stuff back to his barn"--and was walking around with their own gun, what's he or she going to do if some crazy guy with a shotgun comes up and starts yelling at him? All of a sudden, oh shit, the crazy guy's here with his gun and he could point it at me!
Because you're right, you don't know someone's intentions just from looking at them, whether it's the teenagers who you're afraid are picking over your wreckage (your perspective), or the guy who came up to them with a gun in his hand (their perspective).
Anyway, I think I hear what you're saying. Some of it is contextual though, right?
If I were to walk up to one of my neighbors in my little suburban, sidewalked neighborhood with a shotgun, even muzzle-up leaned on my shoulder, that would be atypical for this community, and I agree that would absolutely be interpreted as aggressive, escalating, etc., in this context. I would certainly be leery of a neighbor walking around holding a gun.
However, I grew up in a farming community. It was common to see people driving pickups with guns mounted on a rack in the back of the cab. It was common to see teenagers (myself included) exploring the woods by our house with a .22 rifle hanging from their shoulder or strapped to their bicycle as they rode past our house. If you bumped into a neighbor at the edge of your land, there was a (estimating here) 20% chance they'd have a rifle on them. My point is just that guns were prevalent in that context. So, carrying a gun in that context is not the same as brandishing it (technically to hostilely shake or wave) or indicating that you're ready to shoot someone.
EDIT: But yes, walking up to strangers on your land carrying a gun does carry an implied threat. I'm just saying it's much less of an escalation in that context.
So the only sure way to carry is concealed. And never mention that you are doing it.
Are you saying that carrying/showing/mentioning (let's say non-aggressively) a gun on your own private property can be classified as brandishing? I've never heard that, but I really don't know.
EDIT: Also, what permit are you talking about? I don't know how things are now, but when I was growing up in AL (~20 years ago), you didn't need a permit to own a rifle or carry it on your own land.
I have 3 permits, first Iowa and then two more to cover (most) of the other states. Still can't carry in Illinois or the People's Republic of California.
Not sure about brandishing vs private property. I'd guess anywhere you need a permit, you could be accused of brandishing.
I agree that context matters. You're describing a different time and place, pretty far removed from the vast majority of Americans now: rural life, probably a couple decades ago.
In 2010, over 80% of us lived in cities. Six years ago, less than one in five of us lived in rural America--now I'm quite sure it's even fewer. The context of "let's walk around with guns" is basically missing from the vast, vast majority of our lives.
Like you said, living in a city, you'd be sketched out if you saw someone with a gun. And, indeed, we see this play out again and again. People going into restaurants with AR-15s, people wandering around neighborhoods with those big guns on their shoulders. Pretty consistently, someone calls the cops, because, in context of "I live in a city" that applies to 80% of us, this is sketchy behavior.
This is what gets me about the people that want to import gun attitudes from another time and place--from what is basically a distant and foreign culture for most of us--into modern city life.
As a thought experiment, let's not say "the rural American landowners who wrote the constitution 250 years ago felt a certain way about guns, so let's keep on going with that". Let's start from "most of us live in cities, what do we want city life to be like?" And it sounds like neither you nor I particularly want to see random people walking around with guns.
Heh, as a good for-example, yesterday I was downtown, at lunchtime, in a crowded part of the downtown area. Lots of food cards, hundreds of people gathered around. Out of nowhere, a mentally disturbed guy started harassing some lady's daughters. A bunch of us immediately started yelling at him to back off, and started putting ourselves physically between him. The dude was obviously mentally ill, but also possibly a threat to someone, just from flailing his limbs around like a crazy dude.
Well, we kept him separated from the lady and her daughters--just with our voices and our bodies--and he continued to have a freakout, yell, and after 2-3 minutes the cops on bikes showed up to keep him contained until, I'm guessing, some cop in a car could haul him to some kind of lockup. I'm sure, if he'd gotten more aggressive, me and a few other people (heh, even some in business suits) would have tackled him and sat on him.
What's scary to me is...what if someone had a gun and thought they'd be a hero? Best case is, they suppress that thought, pretend they don't have a gun, and we get the outcome like we had, with minimal damage to all. Worst case is, they start firing, and either shoot the crazy dude, or even worse, they shoot some bystanders. Odds are, here in the city (where 80% of us work and live), guns won't make ordinary people into heroes, they'll just make tense situations deadly.
The self-reported hit rate for bullets fired from police weapons is only 30-40%, in the US. Some 3rd party estimates put it around 20%. That means at least 60% of bullets fired by cops miss their target – and these people are generally well trained with firearms (if not other parts of policing), usually required to re-certify their marksmanship multiple times a year, etc.
I personally do not want to trust some rando with a gun to a) make the right decision about when lethal force is prudent and b) execute that decision competently.
Anyway, I'm preaching to the choir here. I'm sure gun people can raise counterexamples of where some citizen with a gun saved the day. So, I know I'm just wasting keystrokes.
On that note, I think I'm done with Internet comments for the day. :) Have a happy new year.
I was pulled over once while carrying and the cop went from asshole to polite in a millisecond once I informed him I was legally carrying at 4 o'clock. Ultimately if a cop is going to draw on me with criminal intentions, then I will defend myself as if he were a criminal.
So, you had an experience where you perceived a cop's attitude to change. That's fine. Maybe next time the cop asks you to get out of the car. Maybe he says you match the description of a suspect and tries to handcuff you, confiscate your gun. At what point are you going to draw your gun and defend yourself? It's not like the very, very small percentage of cops who are "criminals" have some flashing sign to alert you. By the time you realize some shit is going down, it's going to be too late.
And who said anything about expecting mercy from a criminal? Do you know any cops? If not, you should make an effort to get to know some, at least the community officer assigned to your neighborhood, if that applies to your locale. Most are decent folks trying to do good. Most are not "criminals".
Why? Seriously asking (I sometimes sneer, but I never troll).
Perhaps the exact things that went through his mind to make this do this are not productive to speculate upon, but the overall incident with the police etc, is a public issue.
Person A makes a speculation.
Person B interprets Person A's speculation as the most likely explanation of the situation.
Persons C, D, and E overhear Person B describing Person A's speculation as fact, and start a mob over it. (Person A was wrong, by the way.)
This continues to snowball until people who were originally close to the situation (and are themselves still struggling to put the pieces together) are put through even more unnecessary trauma by complete strangers, in the middle of one of the most upsetting moments of their lives.
The alternative is to wait until the people most directly affected have had time to cope, get affairs in order, and figure out how to adequately convey what's happened to the greater population.
His family asked for privacy probably because they are trying to deal with this and don't want anyone online or real life to start speculating / discussing or making insinuations (he was already called "unhinged", there is a call to start arresting some cops etc).
Maybe I am being silly wanted to turn this into people trying to say something positive about his life, or his contribution, maybe someone knew him. Everyone probably used or touched Debian in one form or another etc.
But oh well, people want to gawk, speculate, call names, seek revenge without knowing what happened, can't stop it, I tried.
What I'd like to know going forward is what we can do as a community to help when we see this happening. Ian was clearly suffering, and I know that a number of folks did their best to help.
Yet, those efforts were in vain. It occurs to me now that perhaps the community could have done more? Perhaps Twitter could have done more? Perhaps I could have done more? Did HackerNews make the right call in closing that thread? I'm not seeking to assign blame, but to ask what we can do to help the next person.
If there is something more the community can do to help the next person, we should identify and address it. Someone I know likes to say, "bugs in process are like software bugs, we need to file an issue and fix them".
Twitter just yesterday released new policies and procedures for reporting on self-harm and harassment. I'm afraid they may not go far enough, but I'm happy to see some effort there.
Perhaps the time for this conversation is too early, but I look forward to having it when the time is right.
HN allows you to post and create new topics. Maybe leave avenging and figuring out the details in a separate discussion?
How about remembering something nice about him or about Debian or other stuff that's not about the exact details how he died (which it seems nobody here is 100% sure of and just goes by twitter posts, and Reddit discussions).
The links that were dug were extremely helpful in putting the context of what happened. I will save my strong words for later. Or other venues. First Aaron, now Ian - two wonderful guys that wanted only to bring openness to world are gone after having brief encounters with the system. Make what you will of that.
Nonsense. Absolute nonsense.
What people are saying is that you should take a deep breath before you start harassing people (which is often how these things end up). This could be a mental health issue so please just calm down before you know more.
> I can't even imagine the scale of community outrage if this comment were made after Aaron Swartz passing.
I can, they'd call for the same thing in a thread titled "In Memoriam: Aaron Swartz"
> and there is evidence directly from him that he was pushed into it.
You are welcome to start new thread discussing that.
> if evil pushed him to end his own life, then is it good or is it evil that benefits if we fail to demand a full investigation?
This thread is probably not the place to fight the evil. We can fight the evil later, given that we find what/who this evil is. Chances are evil is not going anywhere. It will be there tomorrow.
> do you think there is any possibility of such an investigation without widespread and vocal community outrage?
In general outrage has to be calculated, directed at the right place, and happen at the right time.
Something tells me you don't have any evidence or anything to go on and it will be just guesswork based on twitter comments and Reddit discussions. Even if you have any extra evidence that you have to discuss, ask yourself if this is the right place and time for it.
Of course we won't ever be able to read his mind, but we can find much about what happened in the incident before he decided to commit suicide.
There's a difference between fighting injustice and speculating based on thin evidence. I want to hear something from witnesses, family members or friends who talked to him in his final days before I start having "theories".
I'm not trying to specifically argue about this point of information but we don't even know the whole of that story or if it is even related to this at this time. I'm not saying it is or is not or anything like that. Just that we really don't know anything about what happened (yet and again, if ever).
If anything, it's the prerequisite for wanting to look into what happened.
Offender Name: IAN ASHLEY MURDOCK
Date of Birth:04/28/1973
Custody Status: Out of Custody
> Registration for notification is not currently available for this offender.
(Highlighting mine in both quotes.)
So much for innocent until proven guilty.
The register reports that he was intoxicated and attempting to break in to a house when the police confronted him and he fought back. He got some medical attention and then something similar happened at a neighboring house on the block and he was detained. I think with someone of this much notoriety, the whole story will come out and I suspect it will be sad. In the mean time, he had kids, his family asked for privacy, I think the conspiracy talk is ghoulish.
That person also criticised Debian.
But none of the insensitive things said are are responsible for someone killing themselves. Please don't turn this into a witch hunt.
Amazing work he did - he already did more than many people does in their entire lifetime. Life is fragile, appreciate it :-( Rest in peace, Ian.
His recent twitter history shows his apparent motivation:
Not only is the manifesto a vision for a better way of doing a Linux distribution, Ian was able to build an organization that was able accomplish the vision.
I love Debian and it's derivatives. CrunchBang was the first distro I used for more than two days.
I really wish I could do something. I feel acute distress at this news. It is not right.
That's a sad thing to hear.
Fuck, people like this don't have to leave to soon.
Given who he is, it's the least any interested person would like to do.
Well, I was thinking exactly the opposite of gawking when I posted it. I wanted the community to pay attention, I wanted thousands of people writing him emails/tweets, supporting his fight against the traumatic experience he encountered with the police. So he could see that ending his life isnt the only way to reach out to people about his cause. I feel like we actually closed our ears to what he was trying to say by deleting that thread. What was so wrong about discussing it here as normal human beings? People in that thread were actually discussing his experience about police brutality. From his Twitter logs, you can see that he was tweeting to some Twitter accounts and was asking for help on his cause :( I just feel like it would be nice for him to see himself on front-page of Hackernews and see that community is also outraged by what happened to him. Instead, he was harassed by several random people on Twitter calling him names and wanting him to broadcast his suicide on twitch :(
I don't mean to hurt/blame anyone or any moderator. Maybe I just feel very emotional since I met with Debian when I was 18 and it completely changed my life. I also met with him at a couple of events and he seemed like a nice guy in person, too. I just feel a little responsible for not being able to do anything after reading his tweets :( I do hope that community doesn't let what happened to him forgotten and fight for his cause.
I suppose it depends on how much faith you have in the community, particularly in its worst elements. If there is not an outpouring of support (> 95% of the responses are positive), then broadcasting his calls for attention probably won't help and it may even further have hurt Ian.
I personally believe that our community would care for this person: an established man of merit in our little community and certainly not a insecure attention-seeker.
I agree your original thread should have not been deleted.
Now I'll ask myself: are we a community or just a bunch of brains (siamo una comunità o un'ammucchiata di cervelli)?