After a few days, Lessig again on Swartz:
Why was he being charged with 13 felonies?
His motive was political — obviously. His harm was exactly none — as JSTOR effectively acknowledged. But he deserved, your “career prosecutors” believed, to be deprived of his rights as a citizen (aka, a “felon,” no longer entitled to the political rights he fought to perfect) because of what he did.
Yet here’s the thing to remember on MLK weekend (even though my saying this violates a rule I believe in firmly, a kind of inverse to Godwin’s law, because though I believe these two great souls were motivated by exactly the same kind of justice, King’s cause was greater):
How many felonies was Martin Luther King, Jr., convicted of?
King, whose motives were political too, but who, unlike Aaron, triggered actions which caused real harm (as in physical damage).
What’s that number?
And how many was he even charged with in the whole of his career?
Two bogus charges (perjury and tax evasion) from Alabama, which an all-white jury acquitted him of.
This is a measure of who we have become.