Re: Many people suffer from depression
Good for you.
I also read the article at http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/13/03/life-inside-the-aaron-swartz-investigation/273654/
Overreach is an understatement.
If I were in the correct jurisdiction, I would look into convening a grand jury to investigate whether or not to prosecute the responsible parties.
Regardless of what professionals do, they have a 'duty of care'. The power they wield does not come without responsibility.
The prosecutors knew that Aaron was particularly vulnerable. However, even if they did not know, they still bear responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
There is a principle of law that I know as the 'thin skull principle': "This rule holds one liable for all consequences resulting from his or her tortious (usually negligent) activities leading to an injury to another person, even if the victim suffers an unusually high level of damage (e.g. due to a pre-existing vulnerability or medical condition). The term implies that if a person had a skull as delicate as that of the shell of an egg, and a tortfeasor who was unaware of the condition injured that person's head, causing the skull unexpectedly to break, the defendant would be held liable for all damages resulting from the wrongful contact, even if the tortfeasor did not intend to cause such a severe injury."
Aaron Swartz died pursuant to improper use of prosecutorial discretion. There may be some immunity that comes with being a prosecutor or with exercising some other public duty. However, it is not and cannot be without limit. I am very much of the opinion that this particular group of government employees stepped way, way, way over the line. There is an excellent argument for their culpability.
I was born in the 1950s and so have a sense of entitilement to basic rights such as habeus corpus, due process, etc. Sometime, while my generation was not looking, following generations seem to have been convinced that the rights of the state necessarily trump their own. They do not. The state *has* no rights. It has duties and the power to carry them out, *only* at *our* discretion. It is our servant, not our master.
We all of us have a duty to speak up when things go so horribly wrong as they have here. “When truth is replaced by silence,the silence is a lie.” ― Yevgeny Yevtushenko
George Orwell wrote about where we are going more than sixty years ago. He was a tiny bit off on the 'when', but chillingly accurate on the 'what' and maybe even the 'why':
"Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing."
"The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy — everything."
"There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science."
"There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever."
"We control life, Winston, at all its levels. You are imagining that there is something called human nature which will be outraged by what we do and will turn against us. But we create human nature. Men are infinitely malleable."
-- Nineteen-Eighty-Four, George Orwell