“Double Life, Double Murder”: ABC 2020 episode looks at a possible wrongful conviction associated with homophobia

Cedar Springs area, Dallas 2022-5

On Friday, May 20, 2022, ABC 2020 presented a two hour mystery “Double Life Double Murder”. The viewing link (may require cable subscription) is this, and ABC main article is this. ABC affiliate WFAA has a detailed article. I actually watched it in a motel in Amarillo TX ( 8 PM Central) on a road trip.

Helium atom, Amarillo TX, NW of downtown off US 66, business 40

This is the case of a middle-aged couple, Dennis and Norma Woodruff, shot and stabbed late on a Sunday evening Oct. 16, 2005.  The couple had been downsizing by moving from a home in Heath, near Lake Ray Hubbard in the eastern suburbs of Dallas (which tend to be more conservative than the rest of the area – I lived in Dallas 1979-1988) to Royse City, farther into Collin and Hunt counties along I-30. 

Their 18 year old son Brandon apparently had dinner in their new place with them early Sunday evening and then says he was in a gay bar before returning to college at Abilene Christina University.  Other friends tried to call them and they did not answer. Their bodies were found on Tuesday.

There seems to be very little physical evidence.  Some time later a knife would be found with Dennis’s blood on it, maybe from a previous cut.

Nevertheless Brandon would become the main person of interest and then suspect, mainly from circumstantial evidence, although there seems to be serious questions whether the proposed timeline could have happened.

There is a paperback book by Phillip Crawford, “Railroaded: The Homophobic Prosecution of Brandon Woodruff for His Parents’ Murders”, Amazon Create Space, 2018, 161 pages, Site stripe link.

The Dallas Voice, article by David Taffett, reviews the episode with details of the case here. The Innocence Project is looking into this. Brandon’s grandmother supports his claims of innocence and has funded appeal attempts. The 2020 episode features a detailed interview of a near middle aged Brandon by ABC journalist John Quionenes where Brandon insists he did nothing. The episode included interviews with a female juror who insisted there was no homophobia in the deliberations although several jurors tended to see homosexuality per se as a (religious) sin.

I was just on a brief trip to Dallas and then several surrounding places (actually three other states). The Cedar Springs area close to downtown has rainbow paint on the main intersection (at Throckmorton St) and has some of the largest gay bars in the nation (Station4 disco [previously the Village Station] and Roundup, the latter a country-western place that is busy even on weeknights). Reasonably secure lot parking is available for $5 weekend nights. I did not have time to visit Royse City but it appears from Google Maps to be an upscale bedroom community like many in north Texas. Here is a Wikipedia picture of main street. Here is a picture of the Jacob’s Dream statue at Abilene Christian University.

The Crossroads plaque at Cedar Springs and Throckmorton 2022-5

I also did not have time to revisit Ranger, TX on I-20 (where the highway “climbs” on top of the Palo Pinto “Mountains”) which had serious fire damage last March (local Fox video). I did see grass fire damage on NM 406 (near the Oklahoma Panhandle Black Mesa) but there was no place to stop and film it. More details about the trip will be forthcoming.

(Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 8 PM EDT)

Johnny Harris’s video on Assange leads to some tangential questions

Chelsea Manning protest in 2019

I’ve noticed recently that journalists and writers normally refer to fully “transitioned” transgender adults (mostly male to female) with the feminine (she, her, hers) pronouns when describing their lives before transition, as well as referring to them by their new names when referring to pre-transition life history.

US Courthouse, Alexandria VA, 2019/3

They also refer to the person with the new (or current) name when describing the past.

In past blog posts, I have sometimes referred before-transition incidents with the previous names and pronouns.  I now wonder of this would be considered misgendering or deadnaming, even when writing about past events.

This whole question leads me to present a couple other videos and incidents.

Let’s look at Johnny Harris’s video of May 10, 2022, “Why He Matters: The Danger of Ignoring Julian Assange”.  Harris starts out by describing Assange’s “escape” to the embassy of Ecuador in London and hiding out in that confinement for seven years, before he gets into the actual leaks that got him “into trouble”, especially regarding information stolen by Chelsea Manning about the Iraq war.  Well, in fact, one of these was a forty-minute video of an American accidental war crime that I even carried on one of my Blogger blogs since April 2010 (until I closed it down in Jan. 2022).  It is called “Collateral Murder” and cannot now be embedded (age restriction from YT). 

Harris always refers to Manning as Chelsea and doesn’t convey the fact that the soldier then was Bradley Manning, legally male at the time when the leaks from the Iraq war started.  According to Wikipedia, Manning announced she was transgender in 2013, and completed transition surgery, litigated when she was an inmate, in 2018.  Manning had considerable grass roots protester-type support for recognition of her transition as early as 2013, but the gay press did not cover her case very much because of political opposition to “Bush’s war”. 

This leads my discussion to recalling the legal battle over Manning’s imprisonment for refusal to appear to a grand jury later in 2019.  Ford Fischer covered a lot of this for News2Share when other media outlets pretty much ignored it.  The Wikipedia article covers it.  I have a couple videos I took myself of the demonstrations outside the federal courthouse in Alexandria, VA in the good old days of March 2019.  I plan to edit and combine these into more professional videos later this summer, as I plan with some of my other mini-video sets (like on “stop the steal”). 

Video 1

Video 2

I can digress here one more time on Harris’s video, noting one conspicuous blue tattoo on one inner forearm (shows up later in the video).  Why does he disfigure himself? (He never impressed me as someone who would “need” body art.)  I love the orange beanie cap (as if paying homage to Tim Pool, but Harris has is own video style that adds a lot of in-the “visually compelling”-field fact finding to his subject matter, more than Pool usually does in his volume of Timcasts.)   Max Reisinger may well be on the path to developing a Harris-style reporting presence as he finishes his gap year.

Toward the end, Harris notes that “journalists” as such are not a legally recognized category with legal privileges (although there are such things as press passes). Journalism carries with the expectation of objectivity and intellectual honesty, which is both a duty and a privilege. That gets dicey when someone (like me) does journalism for self-expression, but is not willing to bond with others in a supposed marginalized group for organized “activism”. More about that is to come.

I’ll wrap up this one by making note of the Netflix film “Untold: Caitlyn Jenner”, directed by Chrystal Moselle.  This is part of Netflix’s “Untold” streamed film documentary franchise.  It had been reviewed on the “Media Commentary” site that has been sunset.  Again, journalists usually refer the Caitlyn as “she” for the entire life, although sometimes they will say “previously known as”, as with Chelsea.  It’s interesting that she wants to run for governor as a Republican and has some pretty sensible ideas as to how to prevent the GOP’s converting itself into ordered (or actually chaotic) fascism. As I recall, Caitlyn refers to her earlier male life in the third person, as a real person in the past. Time, after all, is a dimension.

trailer for Untold: Caitlyn Jenner

(Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2022 at 1 PM EDT by John W. Boushka)

“Mother” (short film review); some notes about trans-affirming care

Selma, AL 2014-5

In my new blogging environment, some posts may cover more than one topic.

Today, I want to share a short film from 2013, posted by TwistedReverie, om Arabic, apparently filmed in Pakistan, titled “Mother”.  There are subtitles but the closing credits are in Arabic script only (not on imdb).  The video quality (as to resolution) could be better.  The story is that a young man leaves his mother at an outdoor place with a note to give to others, and in the end we learn he does not want to have to care for her.  It is certainly a comment on filial piety.

The other topic concerns the mess in red states over, not just the “don’t say gay” laws, but specifically the anti-trans issues. 

Alabama, for example, has passed and a federal court has let stand a very draconian law felonzing the medical treatment of kids under 18 for gender dysphoria (Reuters).  Some states seem to want to stop even “social transisitions” while school boards in blue or even purple states have encouraged it (with pronoun and bathroom rules). 

I’ll cite for discussion a discussion of puberty blockers from an obviously reputable place, the Cleveland Clinic.   There is a discussion of an unusual condition of premature puberty where they are medically appropriate regardless of psychology.  The article says also that they are never given until puberty starts.

I would add that we know that generally normally puberty encourages continuation of brain development.  For some boys, issues like dyslexia or ADD sometimes improve with puberty.

Generally, drug (or possibly surgical) interventions for minors are pretty rare to start with, so states should not be going out of their way to score political points by banning them against medical advice. However some advocates on the radical left do seem to glamorize openness to their use.

Here are a couple more videos to site.

In Dark Horse Podcast Clips, May 6, 2022. Bret and Heather (and the cat and dog) encourage temperance in bringing up these topics with children in school, whatever the laws.

On UK channel Triggernometry, therapist and university graduate student James Esses gets canceled for questioning left-wing dogma recklessly encouraging aggressive gender transition treatment for minors.

It does seem that some of the battle concerns moral perceptions or philosophical beliefs surrounding fidelity to sex observed (or “assigned”) at birth.  Conservatives seem to see full development according to birth sex (laying aside intersex) as morally virtuous, partly because men and women are supposed to share certain gender assigned risks for their society (men go to war to protect women and children  — look at Ukraine now – and women bear risks in childbearing – look at the abortion issue now.  People (myself included) do not feel “attracted” to non-binary people usually, and may want to protect their inner value for the attractions they do feel. Along these lines, Esses notes that the far Left does not want to see transgenderism or non-binary status spoken of as a medical or psychiatric issue or disability; they want it to become a new identity to be proud of. But if it requires medical intervention, as argued by Leonard Sax in “Why Gender Matters” (2006, Harmony), then the Left stumbles into a logical contradiction, just like mathematicians do in proof by contraposition.

(Posted: Monday, May 9, 2022 at 10 AM EDT by John W. Boushka)