You’ve heard about the alleged plan to kill Barack Obama, which was perhaps foiled Sunday, by accident. Now even virtual worlds may not be safe.
The Obama Plot
Denver police noticed a man driving a rental truck erratically and pulled him over, in what has been described as a “lucky traffic stop.” They found two high-powered rifles, one of which has been described as a “sniper” rifle, bulletproof vests, wigs, camouflage clothing, and some methamphetamine.
The plot supposedly revolved around shooting Obama from a distance of about 750 yards, while he is at the Democratic National Convention this week. Police arrested at least four individuals, including one who broke his ankle jumping from a fourth floor window trying to avoid capture.
The Second Life® Plot
We know the real world can be dangerous. Perhaps even virtual worlds are no longer safe. A thirty-three-year-old woman was arrested last week and charged with plotting to kidnap a man she met in a virtual world called Second Life®. Police say he may have broken off the virtual relationship after meeting her in person.
She apparently then went to his Delaware apartment, packing a stun gun, handcuffs and duct tape. When the man returned home, he discovered her, called 911, and she fled. She was later arrested in Maryland.
Second Life® is a 3-D virtual social world, where free, downloadable software called the Second Life® Viewer, enables users, called “Residents,” to interact with each other through avatars. Avatars are created by Residents as a virtual representation of their persona, and the Web site provides free tools to create them in a nearly limitless variety of images. Perhaps the suspect didn’t live up to the promise of her avatar.
Second Life was launched in 2003, by Linden Research, Inc. In 2008, Second Life was honored at the 59th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards for advancing the development of online sites with user generated content. The Web site encourages Residents to meet other Residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and explore the 3-D world. It also suggests the Residents create and trade items (virtual property) and services with one another in a virtual marketplace where Residents can sell what they have create, virtually, using another set of tools.
There are no reports at this time, from the virtual world, about increased sales of virtual duct tape, handcuffs, or stun guns.