Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

Just for Aaron? Oh man, what about every one else? US law is insane, hurting too many people to list. Mostly, Americans, but also world citizens who don't even get to vote in the US. You need to deal with law its self, not this one single individual. Not just the law, but I suspect your entire value system.

I had sympathy yesterday, but this is turning in to hero martyr worship. Its getting ridiculous. Step back and think. Form a proper long term strategy. Think about Kim Dotcom, Bradley, the British bloke you chaps tried to get, copyright stuff, patent stuff, hell, think about damn drone strikes which I assume will begin to happen in the US eventually. Look at the lot of it in this blokes name, not just one tiny insignificant part of it. Most of all think about the relationship between government and ...... YOU. Its supposed to be YOUR government.

I get the grief, but if all you can think of is this one single case, then expect the world to be a better place you are deluding your selves. Those Wall Street protests amounted to nothing what so ever, which means you have to do much better than them. Think about it.

As say this because I want American people, the intelligent, considered, sensitive people I read here to win their country back.

When it costs $1.5m to prove your innocence you no longer have any right to the word "democracy", less right to point fingers at other countries.

Come on America, be the people the rest of us hope you really are.

"I had sympathy yesterday, but this is turning in to hero martyr worship."

Isn't that how causes start? I feel like I can think of far more effective, mainstream causes that centered around the cult of a person (or a small group of people) than around agreement on an idea.

Like most of HN, I didn't know Aaron personally, but when I express outrage over these kinds of things I can now say, "Like Aaron Swatrz."

The Wall Street Protests failed, because among other things, they had too many vague, overarching goals with no end plan. And so now with Swartz's death, people have a human face to put on the failures of our justice system...and you want to berate them for not being strategic enough?

OWS was an overwhelming success, it got the country talking and many of their ideas were implemented, like increasing taxes on the top 1%.

Aarons death can also be a catalyst for change and I think a cause OWS would be interested in supporting as well.

Really? Taxes on the rich were just a small part of their many, many ideals. In terms of creating real political force, the Tea Party has done far far more.

I'm not saying OWS was useless...I agree with you that the amount of conversation and awareness they raised was far more than I would've suspected walking by their Zucotti Park encampment everyday...they had a decent amount of success despite their wide diversity of goals, and that's admirable. But to the parent commenter's point, their unfocused aims limit their success. The Tea Party, in contrast, is an actual force in Congress.

Lots of political movements have created real political force, but there are many historical examples of real political forces which were not constructive.

It is often useful, in advancing causes, to put a sympathetic, concrete face on an amorphous cause.

"Save kittens" --> no one cares

"Save this kitten" --> everyone cares

You can think of this as hacking the human psyche, if you like.

It makes it more digestible too. "Save kittens" aka "Save all kittens" - this can divide your attention and distract you thinking about all of those kittens, and then feeling overwhelmed. This of course takes away from focusing on the base issue - much more nuanced and subtle to deal with. It's not easy educating people about nuances either. You need their attention, and you need to cut through all of the noise they've heard.

Guys, you in US really need new kind of anti-establisment movement, because you are fighting against Goliat here. MIT and others ARE part of establishment and if establishment decide to take control over internet, they will do it. Wait, they ARE DOING it right now and as you can see people are getting killed just because someone said "i want you to click and pay". Damn, if someone said to me few decades ago that internet will be this way, i would not belive it. Personally i call last 10 years: era of Internet colonisation. Sorry on bad English.

To be fair, people aren't being killed, one guy in particular killed himself. While a tragedy, don't turn it into something it isn't.

Interesting point. What is essentially a two party system doesn't really allow smaller groups to participate in high level political discourse.

SOPA much?

As a non-American I only have a passing understanding of SOPA - although I do know that it's scope would affect me here in New Zealand.

SOPA is an example of a law with bi-partisan support that was blocked after technologists outside of the two-party system rallied to block it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protests_against_SOPA_and_PIPA

Ah, your comment was refuting my statement (US has a 2 party system that excludes views of small groups). Thanks, great example.

Only stopped due to Wikipedia, Google, and other large corporations throwing their weight behind it for self-interested reasons.

Somehow I don't think staging a rally for bradely manning, holocaust victims, abused animals, and everyone who has ever been disenfranchised is the answer.

I get your sentiment, but if you start trying to lump too many issues together, your message gets muddled, people get confused or won't be interested.

Using any case to try to enact change is a good thing, and perhaps it will work to help people that would be hurt in similar ways in the future.

Every cause needs a symbol. It's facile to then scoff at those using the symbol to say that they're ignoring everything else.

One step at a time.

Also, in reference to your final point, and it's well taken: some of us try to be.

OP here. I found the tweet that announced the idea, and shared. Agree today doesn't seem very organized. Maybe there will be just 5 people, but I'll have an open mind.

Today I'm going to exercise our right to peaceably assemble. I'm not going to bring a sign, nor yell, nor point fingers, nor hero worship.

I want to meet other hackers who care enough about what happened to meet, if only for a bit, in person. And, it isn't just enough to meet in person. The gesture can be visible, open in location that has significance to this story.

To simply bear witness to shared grief and concern.

Of course, all of these other cases are ridiculous as well. And there have been protests about many of them. Should we not protest one injustice because another has been committed?

> Look at the lot of it in this blokes name, not just one tiny insignificant part of it.

Do you believe that everyone here cares only about Aaron Swartz, and not the rest of these issues?

The death of Aaron Swartz is a particularly painful wake-up call, but it doesn't mean that people care only about him. It helps that he was a particularly sympathetic character, and that many people in this community knew him personally or were directly involved in his work and writing. Kim Dotcom is a international millionaire, who was violating copyright for substantial personal profit, and who had a mansion with a built-in bunker for just this sort of problem; and has been able to use his wealth and power to much more successfully defend himself. Bradley Manning is more sympathetic, but he did violate his duty to his country by revealing many secret documents that he had access to, without being particularly selective about anything that really showed abuses.

Aaron, on the other hand, was merely trying to preserve access to a large body of academic and scientific work. Nothing he did ever indicated that he intended to profit from his downloading. Heck, he never even distributed any of it. And while he used some techniques that were further into the grey-zone than many of us would try, the prosecution was so clearly out of proportion with the "crime" as to make the absurdity apparent to almost anyone (and the fact that it's treated as a crime rather than a civil matter is patently absurd as well).

It has always been the case that martyrs, or particular example of people persecuted by a system, are far more effective than general complaints about entire populations. There were millions of black people who had been treated unfairly, made to use separate bathrooms, drinking fountains, sit in the back of the bus, before Rosa Parks decided one day that she wouldn't take it any more and refused to move, leading to her arrest, and subsequently leading to bus boycotts and the case that eventually worked its way to the Supreme Court ruling that segregation on the bus system was illegal.

Putting a face on injustice is so much more effective than simply talking about it in the abstract. And when that face is a brilliant and well loved young man, who had many influential connections in the tech industry, who was working in the interests of knowledge and social justice, rather than some kid downloading the latest Hollywood blockbuster or an international millionaire trying to make a buck, it will be much more effective.

The stakes have been raised. We cannot sacrifice our future, and our freedom, in the interests of failing business models.

> Think about Kim Dotcom, Bradley, the British bloke you chaps tried to get, copyright stuff, patent stuff, hell, think about damn drone strikes which I assume will begin to happen in the US eventually.

Well there's no common thread that binds those situations so the message is... "things are bad, we are angry"?

No, the focus on this particular case is better than a vague outpouring of frustration.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact