LONELY AMONG US [Author: lum]

Sheyla wasn’t able to escape.

She was 18 years old. She told everyone she was 19. Why? I don’t know. Probably because in her mind, being a mother at 17 was somewhat more respectable then being a mother at 16. Her mother died when she was 14. It was a violent, messy death, and afterward she became a ward of the state. Being a ward of the state is, well, hell. There’s no other way to describe it. Not to imply that Sheyla’s foster parents were cruel or abusive – they probably weren’t. The courts deemed that she was not fit to raise her child, and it was given over to her now ex-husband to raise. She wanted her child back, and was fighting to get her child back.

She didn’t have a steady job. Well, actually she did, but it didn’t really pay that well. It was called Everquest. Her dream was to work her way up through the guide program and get on with Verant as a GM. Thanks to a forged message board post, that didn’t happen.

She sang. She painted. She cried.

She was very attractive, and probably found herself very ugly when she looked at herself in the mirror.

She had friends, and people who said they loved her, and people who say they will miss her. She had enemies, and once they threw her past back into her face in public, and by doing so showed how removed from what you or I would call humanity they actually were.

And, by all accounts, last weekend she shot herself, and in doing so perhaps showed you how close or how far from humanity you actually are.

This isn’t about Verant, it isn’t about a game, it isn’t about stupid people and nerfed classes and clueless dev teams. Anyone who seriously expects Verant to be able to do anything – to prevent the truly broken from impaling themselves – in a situation like this needs a clue transplant. Yes, Verant was slightly involved in her presumed death – by removing her from the guide program due to what may or may not be a faked post (remember, it is entirely possible that Sheyla added the “Ha Ha Busted” tag herself to try to excuse her earlier mistake of posting on a public board) – but to say that Verant somehow is responsible by doing this asserts that, well, Verant is responsible for life. And that’s not an assertion I think anyone is ready to make, if they carry through to the logical conclusion.

Verant is no more responsible for Sheyla’s death than you or I are. Which is to say, yes, a little. But no more than you or I.

If you are somehow moved by this, I ask you not to flame Verant, or the people responding to these inevitable threads, or any of that nonsense, but to simply renew your ties to someone else in your life, and assure them that yes, they are wanted, needed and loved.

As we’ve seen, it’s a message that bears repeating.