Some years ago I read a short news piece about a gang of drug dealers who had cut off a man’s face and dumped his body somewhere along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. It lodged in my mind because of the question that popped into my head while I sat at my kitchen table reading the paper. It’s a question that still gnaws at me every now and again when I’m feeling morbid: Among all of my friends and acquaintances, who would be most likely to cut off another man’s face?
There are no obvious contenders for the position. But then I do live in an unusually safe part of the world and during an unusually safe period in history. It’s fair to assume that in different circumstances we would all behave differently, which means that we probably all know people who might well find that violent anarchy suits them rather well.
The American-British former kickboxer and internet personality Andrew Tate strikes me as a face cutter. Not so much because he’s made a living from sporting violence—although that does suggest that he might have the stomach for the non-sporting kind—but rather because of the public persona he has cultivated since retiring from professional kickboxing.