Sean Smith, Foreign Service Officer Murdered In Libya, Remembered By Online Gaming Friends
Sean Smith, 34, the U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer who was killed in an siege on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on the night of Tuesday, September 11, along with Ambassador Chris Stevens and two other American diplomats whose names have yet to be released, was mourned by the online gaming community as well as the nation at large.
Smith, who was an avid gamer in the worldwide multiplayer community of EVE Online, went by the player moniker of "Vile Rat" and was chatting with a fellow gamer who goes by The Mittani when attackers started to surround the compound at which Smith was stationed. Smith, a married father of two, wrote to his online friend: "… assuming we don't die tonight. We saw one of our 'police' that guard the compound taking pictures," reports Tri-City Herald.
Just hours later, Smith and the others had been killed by what appeared to be smoke inhalation from the burning compound.
In the 400,000 multiplayer space fantasy game of EVE Online, in which Smith as "Vile Rat" played a savvy diplomat and spy who worked for the organization, Goonswarm, Smith was a force to be reckoned with, and his gaming friends are coming out in force on social media sites and gaming boards to recognize his massive contribution to EVE.
"If you play this stupid game, you may not realize it, but you play in a galaxy created in large part by Vile Rat's talent as a diplomat," wrote The Mittani. "No one focused as relentlessly on using diplomacy as a strategic tool as VR."
Even online "enemies" from opposing alliances are openly mourning Smith, as a memorial video posted on YouTube by "Spacemonkey's Alliance" pointed out. "It seems so easy in a game to put aside real life differences," reads the video's text. "Today [is] a sad reminder that hate is still abundant in this world."
In the world of EVE, art imitated life to a large degree. “He came off in person exactly as he came off online, as just a really cool guy and a nice guy to be around,” friend Josh Goldshlag, 35, a gamer and computer programmer who goes by the player handle, "Two Step," said of Smith.
“He really was a really good diplomat and really good at listening to people and making sure that people were getting what they wanted and making deals, doing what I guess diplomats do in the real world,” Goldshlag said. “In the game world, he really excelled at that.”
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