Friday, October 24, 2008

Scary Tales From Both Virtual And Real Worlds

Okay, I came across a story online that led me to another story. I'm going to share both as examples of things that scare the hell out of me.

The first story comes from Tokyo where a 43-year-old woman was arrested. She committed a virtual murder in an Internet game after her on-line husband in that virtual world divorced her.

The woman, a piano teacher whose marital status is unknown, lived in southern Miyazaki, 620 miles from the man to whom she was married in the interactive game Maple Story. The Associated Press quoted her as telling the police, "I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry."

Using her "ex-husband's" ID and password, the disgruntled woman logged onto the game in May and murdered his avatar, his digital persona. When the 33-year-old man discovered what she had done, he lodged a complaint with the police.

The woman has now been arrested--not for murder--but for hacking into his computer. She faces charges which, if she is convicted, could bring her five years in prison or a $5,000 fine.

That story referenced another story. This one did not occur online although it began there. In August, police arrested a woman who tried to abduct a man she'd met online.

The 33-year-old North Carolina postal worker, Kimberly Jernigan, was not happy when a 52-year-old man she'd met in the online game Second Life broke off their relationship a few months after meeting her in real life.

The Delaware man came home from work around 5:30 one evening and saw a figure in the shadows pointing a laser beam at him. He fled his apartment and called the police, telling them he suspected his ex-girlfriend who had tried to kidnap him two weeks before in Pennsylvania, where he worked.

The police entered the apartment to search and found Jernigan's dog in the bathtub where she had bound its mouth with duct tape to keep it from barking. She had entered the apartment through a bedroom window after cutting a screen and then fled, leaving a pair of handcuffs behind.

Using info the victim gave them, Delaware police broadcast her description and the Maryland state troopers picked up Jernigan an hour later. She struggled with the troopers who found a BB gun and Taser in her Kia Rio. Here's her mug shot.

The inappropriately grinning mug shot makes me suspect the man had good reason to break off the relationship.

Besides, it was probably doomed to failure. Her avatar in Second Life was a virtual woman. His was a lion.