- May 18, 2007
Online flamewars certainly can get nasty at times, often boiling over into quite a bit of rage -- but it's still pretty rare (and amazing) to see that anger then boil over into the real world. Last year, we wrote about a case in the UK where someone drove 70 miles to attack the guy he was sparring with online. The press referred to it as "web rage," though, rage doesn't tend to last that long. Or, perhaps it does. Here in the US we do things in bigger ways, apparently. A guy in Virginia who got into a flamewar online decided to make it a bit more literal, and drove 1,300 miles to Waco, Texas to burn down the home of one of this online enemies from a (no, this isn't a joke) picture sharing community. Not only that, but the attacker took photos of each "Welcome to State X" signs and shared them online as he made his way across the country -- to let others in the community know he was serious about going after the other guy. What did the one guy do to piss the other guy off? Apparently he had different political views and posted a silly photo claiming the other guy was a nerd. Nerd or not, he's now a convicted arsonist. He's been sentenced to 7 years in prison for burning down the other guy's home -- but it doesn't sound like the intervening time or pending jail time cooled this guy down. As the sentencing was happening, the arsonist used his cameraphone to take snapshots of the guy whose home he tried to burn down, apparently to post online as well (though, the court ordered the photos destroyed). So, while the typical admonition to those engaging in flame wars is to remember that it's a real person on the other side, we'd also like to add "who may be so crazy that they'll come burn down your house."