Remember Aaron Swartz

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a poem for Aaron and for the struggle

How hard could it be?

To rid yourself of someone who persisted in raising questions? Someone – admittedly brilliant – whose heart was in the right place. Whose interest was making information accessible and keeping it that way. He understood it better than many. Better than most.

He took on the barons of the industry, the powers that be.

How much better to keep the veil over the workings of the realm with so much potential. Keep it obfuscated. Pass laws to nip any outbreaks in the bud.

Damn, he was on to you. He observed how good you were at sneaking in new rules while few were paying attention. He saw Congress violating its rules and wondered - so inconveniently, so publicly - what was going on and why.

You have weapons in your arsenal. Character assassination, planting drugs, sowing doubts. Feed the depression history to the mainstream press. They will stitch together an explanation. Faced with years in prison…a long history of breaking laws.

No need to mention the people for whom he fought – those masses you so fear. Or the ends justifying the means. Freedom and truth are such easy targets.

You found a way to take him out of this fight. We may not learn exactly how.

We’ve lost leaders before. So many die.

The lesson is the same. Begin with the questions. Why ?

Janet Miller,