The Idealist

Aaron Swartz wanted to save the world. Why couldn’t he save himself? -Slate

On Jan. 4, 2013, Aaron Swartz woke up in an excellent mood. “He turned to me,” recalls his girlfriend Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, “and said, apropos of nothing, ‘This is going to be a great year.’ ”

On the morning of Jan. 11, one week after he’d insisted it would be a great year, Swartz woke up despondent—lower than Stinebrickner-Kauffman had ever seen him. “I tried everything to get him up,” she says.

That afternoon, Peters started reading through some of the evidence that the prosecution had handed over in late December. As he read, he became more and more excited about Swartz’s chances at the Jan. 25 suppression hearing. “If we had won that motion and suppressed the fruits of their search, they wouldn’t have had a lot of the evidence they had planned to use at trial,” he says. “I ran down the hall, saying ‘Look at this! Look at all this!’ ”

Peters put the new evidence in his briefcase and got in his car. As he drove, he got a call from Bob Swartz. Aaron had committed suicide.

Aaron Swartz sounds like a very blessed, talented, and gifted individual. This idealist story comes up all to often in my experience, however. I can’t help looking at each case and saying, come on, guys, we’re missing something here…

Below is a small comment I made as I shared this same article on my Facebook account,

I’m always fascinated by idealists with tragic endings, especially those in my field. I can’t help connecting the dots every time I read something like this. What’s missing, in these ‘fix the world’ stories, is the understanding of a foundation on which each person is personally convinced of its precepts and so go about revisiting and perhaps changing every other area of their life. This truly starts the process to ‘fix the world.’ That foundation is the knowledge of our brokenness, the need of redemption, and our unworthiness before such a redeemer. Jesus was unique in history for showing us our sickness, and showing us the cure. Jesus Christ died and rose again in our place 2000 years ago and has been fixing the world ever since. Put this cornerstone in its place and watch everything else fall into place.

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