Saturday, September 21, 2013

On Schwern

For those who have not heard, Schwern was arrested recently for domestic violence. I have no comment on the charges - I don't know what happened. AND NEITHER DO YOU.

My heart goes out to the victim (whom I will not name). Her experiences must have been terrifying and I'm glad that she is safe now. She has a huge amount of support, support many victims of domestic violence never receive.

What I do know is this:

  1. Domestic violence is horrific. It's something that should never happen and must be stamped out.
  2. If Schwern did do the crime, he should do the time. Hard time.
  3. The Perl community, at least the several hundred people I've known over the past 10+ years, do not condone this sort of behavior. And, yes, I feel very comfortable speaking for all of them.
  4. Schwern, for all of his faults, has done many good things to increase gender diversity in the many OSS communities he has been a part of.
Like all of us, he is not black or white. He is a three-dimensional person, with greatness and horrible flaws. Every single person who reads these words has done things they are deeply ashamed of. Knowing him, I'm sure Schwern, a decade from now, will deeply regret his actions and choices of the past few days.


I only hope and pray that people do not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Schwern is a brilliant developer whose contributions to Perl were a small, but key, part of how the Web was won. He's also a troubled man who, like all of us, occasionally makes horrible decisions. And before you say "Well, I'd never do that!", you probably have done something else equally horrible in another arena. Imagine how you'd feel if all your secrets were out.

So, if this episode leads you to change your behavior in any way, let it be one of these:
  1. Give support to someone you know who's dealing with shit. You never know when you might save a life.
  2. If you know a batterer, report them. You might save a life.
  3. Public shaming never helped anyone. Ever. Don't do it. It's a form of abuse.


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  3. Since charges were never filed, it'd be nice if you'd give that fact the same prominence as your original post.