Anonymous suffered a doubled tragedy over this last week: on Thursday a masked and as-yet-unnamed Anon was gunned down by RCMP on a Dawson Creek sidewalk; that same day, Dennis Collins, aka Owen, died at his desk, as FreeAnons put it, “an oper to the very end.” He had long suffered from a constellation of ailments, and his end was not unexpected. He was 54 years old.
The brief statement on the FreeAnons site reads:
It is with heavy hearts that we announce that one of our very good friends and fellow oper, Dennis “owen” Collins, has died. Owen died peacefully at his desk, an oper until the very end.
Many of us had the pleasure of getting to know him. He was thoroughly dedicated, hard working, and always trying to improve AnonOps. He was the initial point of contact for many of the chanops and sysops on this network. He was a good friend to many of us.
Words cannot properly express our grief. We have lost a very good anon and dear friend. We mourn the loss of his humour, dedication, and amazing contributions to the ideas we all share. We know that owen is in a better place; he is at peace.
We love you owen, we will miss you. Until we meet again, see you on the other side.
A message from friends to follow as soon as we can wrap our heads around this incomprehensible and crushing loss of a treasured friend and a dedicated Anon.
Collins was the antithesis of the anonymous Anon, thanks to his arrests for participating in 2010’s #OpPayback which DDoS’d sites which had confiscated the accounts of leak giant WikiLeaks: sites which included Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, and Amazon. He was the only member of the Paypal 14 who was also charged as part of the Payback 13. Because of his progressive, incurable, and ultimately fatal disease, he was sentenced to house arrest for six months instead of a more serious penalty. The indictment against the #Paypal14 was officially called “The United States v. Dennis Collins, et.al.”
Incarcerated activist lawyer Stanley Cohen released a moving statement on Collins’ death from his prison cell, also published on FreeAnons.
“He isn’t dead . . . he’s just moved on.”
I have been truly blessed to know and love many great people of all ages, stature and beliefs from all over the world. At this point, but for one, their names or what they’ve done matters little. What does matter is that this community of ours shares a common bond, a belief that together we can and will make a difference. That we can change this world; that we are fellow travelers in a struggle to make this thing called humanity kinder, warmer, more humane- a community built on shared values, purpose and principle not greed or surrender to power. Today, I learned our community has lost one of its giants, far too soon.
Dennis “Owen” Collins has passed, but not died. Like Joe Hill, he lives on eternal wherever women and men of principle and vision dare to struggle, dare to win. Dennis has not left us, he’s just moved on to another fight in a different place with other folks. I envy those that are now walking with him at their side. They are now so much more fortunate than us.
Collins’ life was remembered in a wide-ranging three hour broadcast on CanadianGlen‘s podcast.
The online family of Dennis Collins has set up a public memorial page and all those who’ve been touched by his legacy are encouraged to leave a comment in the guest book. Anons and activists from around the world have shared their memories of the man most knew simply as Owen.