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It takes a community...to hang our best!

Dan McReavy - 19/01/2013 12:20 CST

Austin, Texas, United States

History is full of stories of the community turning on its "best," the leaders.  In western society, most people are familiar with Jesus Christ being traded for the murderer Barabbas and being crucified for stating, “I am the good shepherd.”  

“But this man has done nothing wrong,” as Pontius Pilatus once said.

When the community turns on you, you need not be proven guilty to be judged for breaking the rules and laws of man.

2013 is off to a deadly start with the suicide by prosecutorial persecution of Aaron Swartz.  The vested interests were very angry with Aaron for successfully navigating their legal labyrinth to SHARE one-fifth of the Public Access to Court Electronic Records database of the United States federal court, PACER.  Aaron also legally paid the library fees for the Library of Congress’s complete bibliographic dataset and SHARED them with the community through OpenLibrary.org.


During 2010 and 2011, Aaron downloaded roughly 4 million of the JSTOR (Journal Storage) digital library’s academic journal articles.  These articles are available free of charge to students and researchers.  Without getting into the nuances of all of the legal charges that United States Attorney for the District Of Massachusetts, Carmen Ortiz, directed Stephen Heymann to pursue, Aaron had once again threaded the needle of the legal system with the intention of SHARING free academic information with the entire world.


Aaron bravely spoke and backed it up with careful research and action.  Carmen Ortiz believed he deserved as much as 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine for his community support.  Much more could be said of Aaron’s admirable life serving the community interests WITHIN the legal playground of the vested power structure.


Who would want to be a lawyer, anyway, if this is what you call your life work?  Pathetic.


This brings us to the latest public trial of the best cyclist, EVER, Lance Armstrong.  By all accounts, I don’t believe Lance Armstrong did anything that was illegal, at that time, or was a direct violation of whatever the competitive cycling “governing bodies” had defined.  Everyone wanted a piece of Lance Armstrong inside and outside of the peloton.  I’m sure they had him peeing in more cups than shots of Patron Lil Wayne drank over the same time period.


That’s a lot of drug testing...for one of our "best," at least.


Has anyone considered the legal history of performance ENHANCING supplements or why useless rentier governing bodies are even restricting their open use at the highest levels of athletic competition?


Oprah thought she was going to feed her mob, largely white Generation X women (no pun intended),  with another confession to go…Oprah.  Oopsah!


Lance has masterfully played Oprah and all of the “governing bodies” of the cycling INDUSTRY by baiting them with an implied confession, but refusing to comply with their demands.  Whether it's a warning shot across the bow of the sinking ship we call professional sports that he CAN expose the entire false-perception of professional sports or he's just refusing because he didn't do it, I don't know.  With all of the vested interests in securing a guilty plea, a confession by him won't make it so for me.


I commend Lance for his audacity!  I hope he has the strength to beat this like he already has cancer.  Twice.


In the likely event that Lance loses this fight against his fans, let’s examine the historical record for who should inherit the titles that only derive value from Lance WINNING them.  I encourage you to research the rest of the victor’s podium, so go through the list and you be the judge as to who should inherit Lance’s titles!  I’ve taken the liberty to color code everything for everyone, so the research does not unnecessarily tax anyone’s time.  You can find the data in the second image of the article slideshow above.


Here is the truth for you to consider.  Yes, before you attack me, I know that is making a big claim, but consider the entire situation.  The proverbial "big picture."  The truth is that any rule system man conceives of, codified as law or otherwise, is imperfect.  Both Aaron Swartz and Lance Armstrong were operating WITHIN the man-made rule systems of their day, albeit in grey areas…depending on your perspective.


If my message was not clear enough, the entire legal system, inside and outside of the United States and internationally is an emperor with no clothes.  PEOPLE made these “rules” and PEOPLE change the rules to serve their interests as the game is played.  You are playing the game whether you realize it, like it or want to be.


You are here and despite Aaron’s loss, the game of life is not optional.  Life is a gift.


As a community, you and I should not be putting legal or personal pressure on people over such trivial things as sharing free research and bicycle riding while our legal system is being gamed for the personal and corporate gain of entrenched powers.


Shame on you for elevating talented entertainers, but otherwise very ordinary people, into generic community role models for yourself and your children!  Oprah’s legacy stands to be no husband, no children and talking on television for a while.  Lance will always be the guy who pedaled his way to seven Tour de France titles - whether he keeps the trophy or not!  Aaron will always be the guy who made every effort to educate everyone around the world.


If anything comes of this tragic comedy, I hope it’s that Oprah is discredited as a source of any valuable information, that our perception of celebrities shifts to viewing them as just entertainers and people begin to reconsider the social rules, sometimes known as laws, at all levels of society.


The celebrities, laws and rules are all made by people and validated through people believing in them.


Faith in people is the oldest failed strategy in the history of mankind.