It's no new story. Two people meet on a Linkshell (it's like a chat-room) in the game Final Fantasy Online. One is a girl, one is a guy. The girl is so taken with the guy that she decides to meet him IRL (in real life), and heads across the county to find out who her Romeo is. Turns out he's 30. Trouble is, she's 14.
The guy gets saddled with Jail Time. The girl gets no punishment whatsoever.
I'm not here to debate the legal system. But I am angry that my playing of FFXI may be curbed by overzealous trial lawyers in the US seeking to capitalize on these circumstances. They'll write up new laws which will rob me of my outlet because of the rampant irresponsibility of American parents and the American trend of avoiding accountability.
Why does a chainsaw need a warning label that says, "Do not attempt to stop moving chain with hands"?
The Final Fantasy Forums are lit up with chatter, as everyone lays out their opinion of the affair and its repercussions. Few are blaming the parents of the girl. But a some are speaking out ... and my favorite response so far has been:
"Instead of spying on your kids' internet links, teach them that being a filthy whore is wrong."
Although it's not the most graceful articulation, I think it gets to the core of the problem. Parents shouldn't be sneaking around their children, sniffing out drugs and sex through a haze of paranoia. They should be teaching values.
While I'm on the topic, I'd like to add that spending time in Europe has engendered me with a hypothesis on the American Values and Violence problem. I think that convenience is what creates violence. Immediate Accessibility Devalues. Follow me for a moment.
Having no late-night shopping here, no instant gratification of nearly any kind (save for pot, which I don't use), having to wait for banks to process bills for 3 weeks and not being able to find vanilla extract all seem like minor unrelated irritations, but the side effect is that everything has value now. I know that I have to travel across town to get a book, which means that the book is a treasure. If I could go to Wal-Mart, my reading would become disposable. A twenty-four hour grocery store and a car mean that I can get fat easily, because the food doesn't mean anything.
The same goes for lives. If you don't work for something, then your privileges don't have weight. Your own life is cheapened, and without this greater sense of personal worth, it's hard to conceive of others' significance as well. You're not trespassing on the rights of others if you can't imagine their value. The answer to American violence may be to make things more difficult.