An acquaintance of mine met Mike Tyson today. She posted her encounter with Iron Mike on Facebook noting that he had a strong handshake and that the person who offered to take her photo with Tyson was shaking so badly that all the photos were blurry.
My first reaction was-- cool, she met a celebrity.
My next reaction was-- Hey, what's up with the photo op with a convicted rapist.
If you were walking down the street and saw a man walk by who you knew was a convicted rapist would you ask him if you could have your picture taken with him? Most likely the answer is no. I predict that not one person would, when given this scenario, answer yes.
Of course when you throw the fact that the rapist is a celebrity in the mix the answer to this question seems to change-- at least for some people.
I have to think that, like me, her first reaction was –cool, a famous person just entered my orbit. Maybe her impulse to snap a selfie with a celebrity was as far as her mind worked through the situation.
I also have to consider that she is younger than me and from a different country and may not even be aware of Tyson's stint in jail or his conviction for rape. Maybe she just knows he's the guy in the Hangover movies.
And even if she did know about his conviction maybe she believes in rehabilitation. This leaves me questioning if I do. If you do the time for your crime should you forever be painted as your former self; a sort of Dorian Gray, never finding release from your past? Or are some crimes so heinous that a person should never be accepted in society after they have been convicted of committing them?
Following this line is making me question whether it is acceptable or not to take a selfie with Mike Tyson. For me—celebrity, redemption, debt paid to society with time served—I'd still walk away. What about you?