On 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.

Likewise 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 online husbands password and deleted his character in an online virtual game called ‘ Maple Story. According to the Japanese authorities, this woman became angry when she found out that her online husband had decided to divorce her without her knowledge. She then obtained the online husbands pass word, entered the game and killed off his character. Once he (the online husband) found out that he had been murdered, he reported the woman (a piano teacher) to the police and she was arrested.

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.

Now, 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 go there.

This is absurd. This is unreal. This is nuts.

While 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’

I 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.