Charlie Lloyd on the response to the news of Aaron Swartz’s suicide:

You can tell people who’ve been near suicide before from those who haven’t. The ones for whom this is new are fitting it to a narrative. It’s the compassionate genius who was a little too good, or the activist hounded down by the government, or why would such a promising and beloved young person do something like this, or gosh there seems to be a link between creativity and mental illness, or some other well-meaning script.

Those of us for whom this brings back memories are, I think, a little less eager to see it as something that can be usefully explained, at least not by us.

There’s a collective sadness and anger on the Internet today. I have no idea if Aaron’s treatment by our government here in the United States provoked his action. Others can sort that out.

I did not know the man, but I did know his work — not just the breadth and depth of technologies he created and influenced, but his writing and activism.

Until I read Charlie’s article, I didn’t understand my own melancholy today. Years ago, one of my co-workers and friends took his own life. At that time, I wanted to punish myself for not seeing that act coming, and then for not understanding it after the fact. The thing is, neither reaction helps. Our responsibility is to help make sure it never happens to anyone else again.

Via too many folks on Twitter and App.net for me to remember where I saw this first.