Hit & Run

J.D. Tuccille on the Year Defiance of the State Became Cool

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Aaron Swartz
Fred Benenson

For some high-profile people who publicly told the government to go to hell, 2013 was, personally, a bit rough. Information freedom activist Aaron Swartz took his own life under threat of a brutal prison sentence. Revealer of inconvenient government secrets Bradley/Chelsea Manning actually ended up in prison. And surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden went into exile in Russia to escape what promised to be a "fair" trial followed by a first-class hanging. But tough consequences aren't unusual for people who defy the state. What was different and encouraging, writes J.D, Tuccille, was how many people rallied behind Swartz, Manning, Snowden, and other rebels, explicitly siding with them over the government, in opposition to the powers-that-be.