When I was a 4th grader in elementary school, I used the Microsoft Word auto-correct option and abused it. ("the" auto corrected to "you will die"). The abuse continued when I learned Microsoft Word data files were network shared throughout this subnet. My changes went global among this one computer lab. Word spread after a few days and I found myself in the principal's office. Next to him was the female computer teacher who made damn sure I got in trouble.
I was suspended from all school's computers for the rest of my 4th grade year. My school account was simply deleted. I couldn't sign into computers anymore and had to complete the rest of my projects via pen and paper.
Thinking back, no one received punishments as close to that as me. Even the kids who brought paintball guns to school and punched kids were simply let off with a warning and possibly a in school suspension.
Now obviously, my experience is not even comparable to what Aaron Swartz was put through, but his story reminded me of my experience during my 4th grade year. Our entire society seems to take a huge unfair punishment towards computer crimes vs other crimes. I relate this simply to the fact that those assigning the punishment don't understand the inter-workings of such hacks and thus panic anytime something is done that they don't understand.