A selfie with a serial killer

by @edent | # # | Read ~1,775 times.

Somewhere, stuffed in a cupboard or undeveloped on an old roll of film, is a photo of me laughing and joking with a murderer.

It was one summer, while I was visiting home between university terms, and I was out with friends celebrating our youthful vigour. A group of us - very much in the Lads! Lads! Lads! phase of our life - were out drinking, catching up with each other, drinking, and trying to get lucky.

Mobile phones didn't have cameras back then. So nights of debauchery went mostly unrecorded. We had nothing left of the night before except our addled memories, some light bruising, and a hangover.

But someone had a disposable camera. It's hard to describe now. A single use camera - with built in film. Once you'd taken the 24 photos (24!) you handed it over to a chemist, paid actual money, and got some grainy snapshots back.

And, so, somewhere out there is a photo of me laughing and grinning, with my arm wrapped round the shoulders of an undoubtedly evil man.

He wasn't a killer back then, I hope you understand. He was a guy who I vaguely knew. A bit more than a friend of a friend, and a bit less than an acquaintance.

But that photo exists, shorn of context. I know that if I'm ever unlucky enough to become famous, someone will find it. Would anyone care that I took the photo several years before the events which made him notorious?

Maybe I'll claim it's a poor quality Photoshop - a deep fake - a hoax?

I've met others, of course. Not murderers - but deeply unpleasant people. I don't get invited to many glamorous parties, but I've shaken enough hands at conferences and smiled for enough cameras that - statistically - there are photos of me with people I'd rather not be associated with.

Dig deeply through my historic tweets and you will find me interacting with people who - it later turned out out - were bigots, bots, and bastards.

Human interaction is complicated. A single snapshot, isolated in time, is a poor way to judge anyone.

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