A Murderous Gay iPhone App, or: How to Stoke Homophobes and Luddites With a Single Crime Story

An older man was beaten and stabbed to death by a younger man; they had arranged a date. The younger man was tracked down by police using the same iPhone social networking app that likely brought the two together. Updated

Ergo, the headline is not, "Older Man Allegedly Stabbed to Death by Teenager" or "'Date' Ends in Tragedy," but "iPhone's Gay Social Networking App Leads to Murder of Phoenix Man, Police Claim."

In fact, it's remarkable how much agency this Gay Social Networking iPhone has: "On Tuesday, police tracked down a suspect whose iPhone arranged the date with Woodland and matched the description of the man given to police." Not that the younger man was actually looking for a vulnerable victim, an apartment to ransack.

And this murderous gay app, "used by gay men to hook up" to do presumably gay things, it knows how to find you! "The app uses a GPS positioning system to locate 'dates' based on a person's proximity with other users." Not like regular dating sites—sans quotes around date—where you tell it where you are.

Oddly, while the paper names the 19-year-old who allegedly did the stabbing and the beating, Tommy Reed, and the victim, 54-year-old Mark Woodland, it doesn't name the app. It's so unseemly, it goes unspoken.

And everyone walks away satisfied, like at the end of a made-for-TV movie: People who know the internet and things like the I-Phone are the downfall of society, and people who know that gay things are bad and wrong.

Update: FWIW, here's the latest statement by the Phoenix Police Department, though it doesn't change the way the story was covered:

Hello all. Our detectives have learned through this continuing investigation that it was not the "Grinder" IPHONE application that was used by the victim to make contact with the suspect, it was in fact a different social network. Because this investigation is continuing, I do not have the information regarding the actual site that was used. I would ask that, as you continue to report this grizzly crime to your viewers readers and listeners, you use "unknown social network" in regards to how the victim and suspect were connected.

[Phoenix NewTimes, Thanks Ponies]