Remember Aaron Swartz


Elliot Noss

I have a confession to make. I don’t honestly, truly like many people. I liked Aaron from the minute I met him. We might see each other only once a year, sometimes twice, but he always felt like a treasured cousin or nephew that was family and that I would only get to see at holidays. And then a topic of substance would come up and off his mind would go. When I think of being with him I see him smiling. And I see myself smiling.

The thing I find myself full of now is thinking he had to deal with all of the great change we are living through, with the unfairness, the complexity, the corruption, love, beauty, pain, all so young. We live in a time of great change. At any time, at all times, it can feel bleak and hopeless and unwinnable and unjust. And it usually is. And inside of all that is the positive change, the thing that excites and engages us all. And the change is beautiful and BIG and, when you squint just the right way, it is so obvious as to not be missed. I thank god that I am dealing with all of this at fifty. This might have crushed the thirty-five year old me, who had so much support. It would have ground the twenty-five year old me into powder rather quickly.

Aaron threw himself into so much so soon. He had to. He had no choice. I console myself with the thought that what has happened to him defines the struggle for me. I know what the big story is. I can see the change. I also know there will be so many more difficulties and casualties between now and the next thing and it will be important and beautiful and necessary. I wish I could have helped Aaron squint a little more.

Elliot Noss

(This is a picture of a shirt we (Tucows) had made shortly after Aaron was arrested. we sold them online to raise a bit of money, but mostly they were a way of showing the absurdity of the prosecution/persecution.)

Tucows Shirt