Remember Aaron Swartz


Will Emmons

I worked on David Segal’s campaign for congress. Aaron and I both had the dubious honor of being in on the campaign’s ground floor, but I never got to meet him until the last week of the campaign when he came and worked full-time with us doing messaging or targeting or god knows what with the executive staff.

During that week Aaron stayed at my house once or twice when he wasn’t working so late that he fell asleep at the office beneath a trash bag he had ripped up and fashioned into a blanket. We never really talked until the night we lost and were all in a dark neighborhood bar celebrating and mourning. We made David give a speech on a pool table. It was the only night of the campaign I didn’t drink too much.

Either I told Aaron I was a socialist or someone else did. I don’t remember. I guess everybody on the campaign knew I was a socialist. Maybe it happened when I introduced him to my friend Jesse who is also a socialist and a computer guy. (I figured they would hit it off since they were both smart computer guys.) Anyway, when I was introducing him to Jesse, he said, “Good, we need socialists.” It felt special because I had heard all these legends about Aaron from David and here was this dude who did more when he was 14 than I’ll ever do in my life validating this worldview that’s a defining feature of my consciousness. It was a cool moment.