Writing at Question Copyright, Karl Fogel observes:
There are many remembrances [of Aaron Swartz] already on the Internet, but two in particular stand out: Rick Perlstein's and Lawrence Lessig's. Both are personal remembrances, but both make the point (Rick even more directly in a separate Facebook post) that it would be a mistake to reflexively pathologize this and blame it simply on Aaron's occasional depression. In Rick's words, from a Facebook conversation: "I would downplay the depression angle. The big piece he wrote about his depression came when he was 17. When I talked to him about my own depression a year ago, he really didn't respond as a fellow-traveler. I can't say precisely, but I don't think it was a huge part of his life. Having his soul gnarled down to a nub by a Javert had much more to do with it, I think." You'd be depressed too if the might of the U.S. federal judicial system seemed dedicated to sending you to jail for most of your life over an essentially altruistic act that harmed no one. I can't read Aaron's mind and don't know what he was thinking, but the relentlessness of that system bearing down on him was there, every day, with no sign of respite. Whether one is prone to depression or not, that's a hard, hard road. And your friends and allies may defend you till they're blue in the face, but they're not going to be there in the jail cell with you.