View attachment 14129 In the 1970s, being gay in America was a very tricky and sometimes very scary thing. Even in relatively accepting communities, prejudice could rear its ugly head at any moment—and one predator of young gay men of the era seemed to understand this with terrifying clarity. The “Doodler” or “Black Doodler,” as he was variously nicknamed by the press, was so-called because he carried out his murders thus: he would gain entrance to his victims’ abodes as a companion, then sketch them, before stabbing them to death. How creepy is that? Between January 1974 and February 1975, no less than fourteen young gay men were killed. Three more were attacked, but survived—yet the case remains unsolved, because the survivors refused to out themselves by testifying against the prime suspect. Despite the fact that these killings occurred in San Francisco, which was one of the most accepting areas of the US that existed at the time, these victims were more afraid of the ramifications of coming out than they were of the man who tried to murder them. Two of these survivors were public figures—an entertainer and a US diplomat. Harvey Milk, Mayor of San Francisco at the time and a gay man himself, stated, “I can understand their position. I respect the pressure society has put on them . . . my feeling is that they don’t want to be exposed.” Shamefully, the police never named or arrested a suspect, and the case has long since gone cold.