RIP Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz is no longer with us. He was found hanged in his apartment yesterday. No suspicious circumstances.

26 years of age.

I am not going to get into the rights and wrongs of what allegedly happened 2 years ago. What I wish to do is reflect on the tragedy of a genius who gave the world so much - how before he was 15 years of age, he achieved more than even many successful people do in a lifetime. How he pushed the boundaries of what technology could do for people.

And how he pushed himself to make it happen.

Aaron showed me that ideas count: it doesn't matter about your age, your parentage or anything as irrelevant as that. He showed me that America is a place where what you think, what you know and what you believe can change things faster than anywhere. Aaron was a wonder, a prodigy who was quietly - and sometimes not so quietly - changing the world...and making it easier for others to do the same. He believed. He acted.

And sometimes, that annoyed people.

But still he kept on. He inspired many - including me - to take a chance. To get out of that comfort zone to answer that little voice in our heads and our hearts that maybe we should just try and follow something higher, something better, even if only for a little while, and see what happens. Because if we don't we will trudge.

And we're better than that.

The best. The worst. From him and around him, there was more than enough of both. 

And now that is all gone. And it is gone because of a combination of a government system that lets individuals who destroy the US financial system walk away free if one makes enough donations to the right people...and a government system that puts unrelenting pressure on those who are in a psychologically weakened state.

I know the situation is complex and that there are many, many worse places in the world to go through the court system - maybe I am writing more in rage than in reason. And I do know Aaron had battled his own demons for many years.

But I do know balance.

I do know fairness.

And I do know proportionality.

Where was it here?