Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"John Wick didn't kill all those people because they broke his toaster." -MickAK

"Everything is easy if somebody else is the one doing it." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Civil Disobedience and Aaron Swartz

There has been a lot written about Adam Swartz, including no shortage of blog posts. I didn't know the guy and, frankly, I had never heard of him before he committed suicide. It is arguable that his prosecution was akin to using a flamethrower to kill a gnat and maybe the President should fire the U.S. Attorney in Boston.

Prosecutorial discretion is supposed to mean something. Threatening Swartz with 30+ years in jail for what was a victimless crime was a hell of an overreach. Maybe Ortiz should go do something more suitable to her temperament.* And MIT deserves all of the brickbats being tossed their way.

It is probably fair to say that Swantz engaged in an act of civil disobedience. He had a point: Scientific research that is funded by government grants should be available to those who paid for it (us). But it isn't and he allegedly broke the law in downloading it.

Civil disobedience is a time-honored tool for effecting change. But the Baretta Rule applies: "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."
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* Like clubbing baby seals or being a school administrator.

1 comment:

bearsense said...

If only he'd been a "banking professional," he'd be alive today.