In 2007, France's far right extremist party Front National attempted to establish an official Second Life presence, but were met with strong (albeit virtual) resistance. After the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack by Islamic extremists, Front National is ascendant, making my story originally published here -- with its themes of extreme opinion and violence, and a symbol of hope for a better world literally floating in the sky -- once again relevant, especially on MLK day. It's republished in full below. - WJA
I'm pretty sure I know what Dr. King would think of a protest against an anti-immigrant political party, but if you asked me what he'd say after the thing devolved into a virtual conflagaration of mini-guns, cursing Frenchmen, and exploding pigs, well, there I'm somewhat at a loss.
The first night I arrived at the protest against the Second Life headquarters of Front National, the far right French political party of Jean-Marie Le Pen, it was ringed on all sides by protesters with signs to wave and statements to distribute. By the second night I came (this was late last week), the conflict had become more literal, for many Residents had armed themselves. Multi-colored explosions and constant gunfire shredded the air of Porcupine, a shopping island which FN had inexplicably picked for the site of their virtual world HQ, in December.
The server lag from so many people throwing up so much gunfire slows the battle to a slow motion firefight, but I manage to wade up to TonTonCarton Yue, who is strafing the FN building with a chaingun usually associated with an AC-130 gunship, than a political protest.
"Can I ask," I begin, "why are you shooting?"
"Because I hate Front National," Yue tells me simply.
"If you use violence, doesn't that reduce you to their level?"