By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
By Jeff Balke
In your November 21 edition, you very kindly informed us about your three "new film guys." However, I did not see anything about what happened to your "previous film guy," Joe Leydon. Will you still be running his most excellent reviews?
Editor's reply: The Press is now running the movie reviews of Andy Klein, Peter Rainer and Michael Sragow, who are based at other weekly papers owned by New Times Inc. in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Joe Leydon continues to review movies locally for Channel 2, where he can be seen on Saturday mornings between 9 and 11 and Sunday mornings between 9 and 10.
Spare the Pity
Brian Wallstin took up a full ten pages of your paper attempting to have us pity poor Gayland Randle ["Gayland's Choice," November 14]. He refers to Jon Buice and says that he stabbed Broussard during a "fight." This was not a fight. This was an ambush. This was gay bashing.
At one point early on in the article, Mr. Wallstin makes it sound as if Gayland Randle were arrested for probation violations. Randle was one of ten youths from The Woodlands who knowingly went to Montrose in the vicinity of Heaven, a well-known gay club, with the purpose of attacking gays. He was not, initially, arrested for a probation violation, but for murder.
Wallstin says that once Randle had been given a second chance, that he called the probation office and no one answered -- and he also did not answer his probation officer's page because he did not recognize the number.
Remember that Randle was on probation for murder. He went 30 days without contacting a probation officer. He violated the terms of his probation and had to accept the sentence initially handed down. Isn't this the same rule applied to all probationers?
Wallstin goes on to say that Parents of Murdered Children addressed five young men involved in a senseless murder (not a fight) with a rage that pushed the envelope of healthy reason. If any people on this planet are entitled to rage, they are the members of POMC.
Further on, poor Randle is quoted as saying a fight is a fight, man, but, you know, nobody really gets hurt. Poor Gayland Randle also chased away one of Paul Broussard's companions. Could this companion have helped Broussard live if he hadn't been chased away by Randle? We will never know.
Randle had run away from home and was spending nights at different friends' homes. He was not an angel. He acknowledged that if he had caught Broussard's friend (whom he did not know, and whom he claims he didn't even know why his friends were fighting) that he probably would have beat the shit out of him! He also admits that he just pretty much does what he wants to do. Well, he needed to abide by the law, he needed to follow the guidelines of acceptable behavior. He didn't.
Gayland's parents don't know why he is imprisoned for murder. After all, didn't Gayland say he was sorry? There is, and was, so much talk about gay bashing -- but, after all, these boys didn't go to Houston just to harass gays, according to Wallstin. That must make all gays in Houston feel a lot better, and it must console Paul Broussard's mother as well.
These fine boys were also intent on going to Numbers and shooting off fireworks at the abandoned rice towers at 3 a.m. Surely they were not full-time gay bashers, but just took it up as a part-time hobby when they were not doing drugs or breaking curfew or shooting off illegal fireworks on posted private property. After all, according to Wallstin's article, there were only two, possibly three, other incidents involving gay men. I assume these incidents didn't involve murder, but merely a sound thrashing of their victims.
The point I'm trying to make is that I do not find Nancy Rodriguez or any member of POMC despicable. I'm confused as to why Randle's parents are looking for someone to blame for his incarceration -- and pick racism as the culprit. The young man was convicted of murder. He was put on probation. He broke the terms of his probation. He was put in a prison ten hours away from his parents for this crime. Convicted felons are rarely given a choice of prison.
The entire tone of this article and the underlying current are disturbing. Just as Texaco cannot say 'I'm sorry' and expect to be cleared of blatantly breaking the law, neither can Gayland Randle. But the Houston Press might be able to salvage some of its readers and regain a modicum of respect if it quickly distances itself from this piece, which was, at best, poorly thought through and misleading. It is, at worst, an undeserving slap at Parents of Murdered Children, Nancy Rodriguez and the gay community (who will be well warned to look out for part-time gay bashers who aren't in Montrose just to harass gays).
Name withheld by request
Editor's reply: Just for the record, Brian Wallstin's story in no way portrayed Nancy Rodriguez or any other member of Parents of Murdered Children as "despicable." You must have been reading some other article.