Ask yourself this: If on January 10, Steve Heymann and Carmen Ortiz at
the Massachusetts US Attorney’s office had called Aaron’s lawyer and said
they’d realized their mistake and that they were dropping all charges — or
even for that matter that they were ready to offer a reasonable plea deal
that wouldn’t have marked Aaron as a felon for the rest of his life — would
Aaron have killed himself on January 11?
The answer is unquestionably no.
It has to have a straw that broke the camel's back. Oh well, I guess so. Or I don't know. But I find it very sad.
Aaron died because he forgot that civil disobedience is not about sticking it to The Man, but about getting into the sort of vulnerable position that makes it possible to win people over with dialogue. It's about paying the price, not doing the deed, and he wasn't prepared for that. This is not something he should be martyred for.
I find that really beautiful, thank you.
I think you're asking people to oscillate between two poles of a continuum.
The indictment of Aaron Swartz was very clearly, and i think uncontroversially, a life altering experience for Swartz. So I think that Taren, the OP and Aaron's GF, are probably correct on the substance. I think that even if you want to say that the prosecution wasn't the only factor, it is something that moved the needle in Swartz's life, and pushed everything not just a little bit closer (e.g. this was not a straw), but a lot closer to a suicidal event.
He died Jan 11, 2013. He was arrested Jan 6, 2011. Close, but then again, any two random dates have a high chance of being close.