TL;DR: Rixx has often been called a criminal, but is he really? He doesn't think so.
I'm not a role player. But still, having played Rixx for almost three years now, he does tend to have his own distinct personality. And while we do share many things in common, we also diverge in some significant ways.
Obviously I don't fly a spaceship, fight wars over far-flung Null space regions, deal with failscading Alliances, or the terrors of being podded, or any of the other things that Rixx has to live with.
More importantly however, as a writer and player of Eve, I understand and appreciate many of the larger game issues that frankly - Rixx has no interest in. I have to appreciate that.
Just as I have to appreciate the fact that when people call him a criminal, it hurts his feelings.
Rixx doesn't see himself as a criminal any more than I do, because I am not a criminal. But is he? It sorta depends on who you ask. Ask someone from hi-sec Empire controlled space and the answer is probably yes. But ask someone in our Corporation or Alliance and the answer might be no. Perspective being the key here, but also intent. This question of criminality was brought up yesterday and I thought it worthy of additional thought. So bear with me while I build towards a conclusion.
Within the context of Eve what Rixx does is most often referred to as Pirating. Rixx operates within low security space surrounding the different Empires of New Eden. Within those Empires law applies, law which is enforced not only by the Empires themselves, but by CONCORD. Low security space is without ruling parties, no established law exists and CONCORD is not present. The only "law" exists within the Stations and surrounding the Gates, think of them like forts in the American Old West. There are people trying to enforce law in low sec, militias loyal to certain Empires, but they are constantly fighting a war they can't win.
Crime being the core issue here. The dictionary definition of crime is: "an action or an instance of negligence that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals or to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited."
While the Empires would like to have control and enforce their laws in my space, they haven't. Yes, when I attack someone they slap a penalty on me and try to shoot me from the safety of their Station or Gate. But they do not pursue, they never apprehend, they certainly do not protect the State's (or the general public's) welfare. In other words, they seem to have no interest in defending law.
Imagine if the Old West had been run this way. A few Forts here and there, with the Military hidden behind their walls. The law of the land left solely in the hands of the few citizens dumb enough to venture forth into a world ruled by the natives. Would those self-same citizens have considered themselves under the protection of the law? I seriously doubt it.
Again, two worlds here. The player understands that Rixx is, within the established context of Eve, worthy of the label criminal. But Rixx doesn't. And he makes some very compelling arguments. Rixx certainly considers himself a scoundrel, a hunter, a rapscallion, an adventurer, and many things but not a criminal. I have to give him credit here, I'm not sure he actually qualifies as a criminal. If I had Rixx in a court room under trial and I was the prosecutor, I think the best charge I could make stick would be thief.
Most of Rixx's so-called "crimes" are victimless. He points a ship in law-less space, destroys it, pods the pilot, steals the loot (which is the only real crime committed here) and makes his get-away. ( By the way, just so you know, he doesn't steal all that much loot. And what he does take goes back into the Corporation to buy ships. But that's beside the point.) The poor pilot is still alive somewhere else in the universe, so he wasn't actually killed. In fact, Rixx has never actually killed anyone. Not a single living soul.
Even the "stealing" part is open for debate. Rixx doesn't take what isn't his when he is in Station, where the laws of the Empire or Faction apply. Nope, cause that would be stealing. And stealing is wrong. No, Rixx takes what is openly and freely available on the open spaces of... well, space of course. He knows that other people might not appreciate what he is doing and may try to stop him. In that case he will defend himself.
"Injurious to the public welfare"? What public? The public is safely on Station or Planet-side. (This leaves out the yet as undetermined nature of 'crew' or 'passengers' aboard ships) "Interests of the State"? Yes, Rixx admits that the State thinks that, but he doesn't agree with the State. And apparently the State doesn't feel very strongly about it either. They won't let him into their cultured space and he is cool with that. Nothing much to do there anyway. "Legally prohibited"? Again, from one side yes, but that is always what someone that wants your stuff says to justify their actions. Just because someone says they own your house, doesn't mean they actually own your house. Because you know you own your house. They can own all the houses around you for miles and miles, stand on the corner and point at you screaming about how they own your house, but that still doesn't make them the owner. If they want your house so bad, make them come and get it. But they never do.
In a nutshell, that is low sec. The Empire wants to control it very, very badly. But they can't. They can only sit on the curb and yell about how we are all breaking their precious laws. They can hire people to try and make us stop, but we all know how effective that is. So until they get a pair and come into my house, arrest me, put me in jail and punish me according to their laws... until then, don't call me a criminal.
Just keep shooting your cannon over the walls of the Fort. I'll be outside podding the stage coach.