ancient maps you would often see drawings of dragons and monsters in some parts
of the world. In some cases these would be labeled with the words… ‘there be dragons’.
What this meant to imply was that these areas were uncharted and unknown. You
would be wise to avoid traveling or sailing in these parts. Don’t go there. |
I’m of the opinion that we need to tread cautiously in areas which are relevant
in today’s world. We should not jump to conclusions and make decisions out of
haste. Anymore than we might have sailed off into uncharted waters without a map
to guide us.
In my opinion, some of today’s events fall into this category
of ‘uncharted waters’.
Today’s example concerns the arrest of a Japanese
woman who faces a prison sentence of up to five years as well as a possible fine
of almost $5,000.
Her alleged crime?
She obtained her on-line
husbands password and deleted his character in an on-line virtual game called
‘Maple Story’. According to the Japanese authorities, this woman became angry
when she found out that her on-line husband had decided to divorce her without
her knowledge. She then obtained the on-line husbands pass word, entered the game
and killed off his character. Once he (the on-line husband) found out that he
had been murdered, he reported the woman (a piano teacher) to the police and she
Then she was driven by the police to the town where the on-line
husband lived, a distance of nearly 1,000 miles. At this time she was arrested
on suspicion of accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data.
let’s see if I’ve got this correct. A piano teacher in Japan gets involved in
a virtual (not real life) game called ‘Maple Story’ and ends up having a on-line
(also not real) husband who she is ‘virtually’ married to. The not real on-line
husband virtually ‘divorces’ the character belonging to the piano teacher without
telling her he was going to do so. She finds out, gets upset, and enters the on-line
game, using his password kills off the on-line husbands avatar or virtual character.
This effectively kicked him out of the game.
For this she is arrested
and faces prison and a fine.
Ladies and gentlemen, there be dragons. Don’t
This is absurd. This is unreal. This is nuts.
I can see someone being fined for illegally accessing someone’s computer, such
as happened last month to the Republican vice-presidential candidate. Do we need
to jail or send to prison more people for violating the rights of ‘virtual’ characters?
Come on, it’s a game. It isn’t real. Life is real. Why didn’t the guy
have a real wife or someone?
On the same hand why didn’t the piano teacher
have a real husband or someone as well?
Is this where we’re heading? Into
a world where we become on-line characters playing at experiences rather than
living them in the real world, not some artificial ‘virtual’ world?
have no problem with people playing games or enjoying their computers, but I do
think we have to draw the line at some point. Arresting someone for a virtual
crime is a little different than actual murder, isn’t it? These types of activities
need to be moderated by the people who run the games and not the police. If this
trend continues, then all of us who send e-mails or write on someone’s blog are
subject to some form of legal action. Will we get to the point where what we say
has to be sanitized so well that our opinions never reach any logical conclusion
or have any impact? What if I slander some on-line virtual character who isn’t
real? Will I be subject to the same rules as if that person was alive and offended?
What’s next…..? Alimony and child support if I were to be ‘virtually’ married
and have a virtual child? I don’t know this much about these games but what if
I’m driving a car and have an accident? Can I be sued?
This stuff drives
me crazy. People need to get a life and turn that computer off and just walk next
door and talk to a real life human being. Call your mother. Do something, but
go out and be with people who will cry and come to your funeral when you die.
I doubt any ‘virtual’ husband or wife will be able to make it.
October 29, 2008 column
From North America
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
by Peary Perry - Order Now||