Swartz funeral footage: Dad says Aaron was ‘killed by the government’

The Highland Park funeral for Aaron Swartz was closed to the public. But his family has now released footage from the emotional service on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old internet genius was remembered as a whiz even as a baby, teaching himself to read by the age of 3-years-old.

His father did not mince words about the trial Swartz was set to face later this year for the alleged illegal downloading of academic journals at MIT.

Nearly a week after Swartz committed suicide at his New York apartment, there is still outrage all over the internet about the case. But the lead prosecutor in Massachusetts defended her department, claiming the charges were appropriate.

If convicted, the co-founder of Reddit and creator of RSS faced decades behind bars and millions in fines.

According to his girlfriend, Swartz worked hard to change and improve the world.

A California congresswoman is already working to introduce “Aaron’s Law” to honor Swartz with changes to federal statutes.

Representation Zoe Lofgren announced her intention on Reddit and she is said to be working with the Swartz family.

Robert Swartz, Aaron Swartz’s father:

Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, Aaron Swartz’s girlfriend:

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31 comments

  • Linda Shelton

    Aaron's death has devastated me. I and many others before and presently have tried to improve the world by working to right the wrongs that we bump into so annoyingly. Aaron in terms of Internet access to knowledge that our taxes paid for; me to make our courts transparent and information in our court system open to all so that we can bring to the light of day the corruption that is destroying us, most of all destroying those of us who are working so hard, sacrificing so much, and mostly caring about others especially our children's futures; and the many before us and after us that will do the same. Yet our own government is used to destroy us in order to keep knowledge, justice, and freedom in the hands of the 1% instead of in the hands of the people. I pray that all those who knew Aaron and heard of him will help continue what is a fight, in the case of Aaron and likely soon in my case to the death.

  • Key Wester

    So he had legal issues due to his own actions. Because he also had depression, he shouldn't have to answer because it might upset him?

    • Myths of Justice

      He was being malisciously Intimidated, Persecuted and Hounded by a government prosecutor who wanted to make an "example" of him and make a name for herself, (like that's never happened), while a number of prominent lawyers pointed out that the charges were not legally justified. If you think our "justice" system gives everyone a "fair shake", I'm sorry but you need to have your head examined. And yes, people with depression are more susceptible to maliscious prosecution and more prone to break under the onslaught.

      • The Truth

        Um, didn't he maliciously intimidate, persecute and hound the government through his criminal activities? Gee, you think hacking government and other people's computers wouldn't warrant the government hunting him down for prosectution? He may be book smart, but definitely lacks common sense and so does his supporters. Don't do the crime if you don't want to do the time.

      • Myths of Justice

        Wow, I don't know what kind of police state you want everyone to live in, but in America people are innocent until proven guilty. It seems to be a concept you're hazy on. And your first sentence is just absurd, that it was the almighty government being "hounded" and "intimidated" by this 26 year old? Tell us you really belive that.

      • Todd pardee

        Where is your proof of “government conspiracy”?
        Innocent people don’t run, let alone kill themselves. Sounds like this kid should have spent more time in real life and less in the computer

    • Person

      I agree with you Key. The man broke the law and was caught doing so. He took the cowards way out and yet people are treating him like he is some kind of hero.

  • Clay Vollers

    Bob, I'm so sorry. I worked at Vail when you guys were down the hall. I only knew him as an incredibly bright kid (I think he was 11 or 12 then), You can be proud of who he was and what he accomplished.
    I'm not in Chicago or "the business" anymore but I wish there was something I could do,,,something anyone could do to make this right.
    Clay Vollers

    • Myths of Justice

      Innocent until proven guilty, don't they teach that by 5th grade? Just makes everyone wonder how far you ever got in school.

      • SamB19

        I agree on innocence until proven guilty, but to show innocence, one has to go through the whole judicial system, and that's what the prosecution was doing. Mr. Swartz simply ran away.

    • SamB19

      I think that the case would have demonstrated what you call "there is a lot more to this" – it's called "courtroom." I would have been interested in following the case, but now that Mr. Swartz unilaterally decided he didn't want to go through with it, I haven't seen evidence of "a lot more to this" that you mention.

  • Myths of Justice

    Aaron was being malisciously Intimidated, Persecuted and Hounded by a government prosecutor who wanted to make an "example" of him and make a name for themselves, (like that's never happened), while a number of prominent lawyers pointed out that the charges were not legally justified. If you really think our "justice" system gives everyone a "fair shake", you need to think again. And yes, people with depression are more susceptible to maliscious prosecution and more prone to break under the onslaught.

    Read more: http://wgntv.com/2013/01/17/swartz-family-release
    Read more at http://wgntv.com/2013/01/17/swartz-family-release

  • truth genius

    I don't care, the guy never did anything for me while he was alive, to pretend to be 'devastated' by some fool killing himself is just stupid.
    People kill themselves everyday, why aren't these so called 'compassionate' people devastated by their deaths? Perhaps if they were white and rich?

  • guest

    It is a tragedy. It sounds like Aaron was a brilliant guy. Losing a friend/child/relative that young is devastating. It's human nature and our culture to want to blame someone, or look for a sin committed. Ask anyone with cancer how many times they've been asked what they did to deserve it . Ask anyone that is the family of a suicide victim how many times they have felt guilt or blame from others. No one else can be blamed. Sometimes people commit suicide. At 26 you're still pretty impulsive and things that would seem possible to get through when you have had a little more life experience might seem impossible to survive. @ Truth Genius People feel particularly bad about this one because this kid had the intelligence and compassion to make a difference so it's harder to understand why he couldn't see his way through.

  • Opinionated

    Poor fella, he committed a crime and was too much of a coward to face it. I don't for one second feel sorry for this kid. I would have felt sorry for him if he had faced the music and had been unjustly convicted, but suicide is just a cowards way out.

    • Myths of Justice

      Hey "fella", it's innocent until proven guilty in America, and having depression is tragic, and does not make someone a "coward." So learn to have some respect and keep your nasty comments to yourself.

      • Todd pardee

        Why keep nasty comments to yourself? Isn’t the whole idea behind this fellows movement to make information and opinion universally available and let the recipient sort out the detail?
        Are you saying that I am mishandling my data or opinion?
        Are you saying my data or opinion should be processed before its dissemination?
        Maybe that’s what the owner of the data thought about their ideas and opinions before an outsider named Aaron felt it was ready for consumption!

  • Todd pardee

    Parents should have taught this kid respect for other people’s privacy, space and property.

    It is no excuse to do something just because you can…..

  • Todd pardee

    Why was the funeral private? Wasn’t this guy’s position that all information should be widely available? This is a tough lesson to learn that people value privacy.

  • BlueHorizon

    Rest in peace, Aaron Swartz. Those who knew you understand what you stood for and believed in, those who did not know you should not be so quick to judge. My condolences to the family.

  • Guest

    Theft is theft, regardless of how "brilliant" you are. No matter what the owner decides to do with the stolen articles later. I do feel sorry for his family, but apparently they were unable to teach him about not stealing…or not committing suicide. The Justice Department did not kill him, he cracked up when he was not applauded for his crime & faced the consequences. I have several kids who taught themselves to read before 3, but I still expect them to follow the laws everyone else must follow. I spent a lot of time teaching them ethics & courage in the face of adversity.
    It is sad the father chose to exhibit issues like the child by making these self pitying irrational statements publicly. I really hope it is just a medication he is taking. If not, I hope he gets the care that he needs.

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