Saturday, March 15, 2014

[Review] Tears of Rage by John Walsh

Tears of Rage: From Grieving Father to Crusader for Justice: The Untold Story of the Adam Walsh Case by John Walsh
Publisher: Pocket Star Books
Publishing Date: 1997
393 Pages
Format: paperback, purchased


The host of America's Most Wanted, John Walsh tells for the first time the full story of the 1981 abduction and murder of his six-year-old son, Adam. This is the heartbreaking chronicle of John Walsh's transformation from grieving father to full-time activist - and the infuriating conspiracy of events that have kept America's No. 1 crime-fighter from obtaining justice and closure for himself and his family.

From the day Adam disappeared from a mall in Hollywood, Florida, John Walsh faced a local police department better equipped to track stolen cars than missing children - and a criminal justice system that would work against him in unimaginable ways. Outraged but determined, he ultimately enlarged the search for Adam's killer into an exhaustive battle on behalf of all missing and abused children, beginning with his efforts to put missing children's faces on milk cartons. Today, John Walsh continues the fight for legislative change and public awareness, driven by his own personal tragedy. TEARS OF RAGE is the story of a true American hero: a man who challenged the system in the name of his son.

My Review

Oh, this book gets me so fired up! Crimes against children and sex crimes have always been something I'm passionate about. It makes me so mad (and sad) to see what human beings can do to one another. John Walsh knows firsthand what a tragic crime like this can do to a family and I know how it can, too. My cousin was murdered 14 years ago, and to this day, it still haunts me even though they caught the offender.

One of the things I loved about this book is how straightforward John Walsh is. He tells the facts as they are, and backs up his knowledge with statistics and other sources. When he was talking about the movies made about Adam's death and the photos of missing kids shown at the end, I loved knowing how many kids were reunited with their families. After both movies aired, a total of 65 kids were reunited with families! It's simply amazing how much 2 movies can accomplish. John Walsh fought so hard every day to get justice for Adam and other missing and exploited children. But he didn't stop there; he helped locate so many criminals in other cases (such as burglaries) through America's Most Wanted. I truly think the work he did was amazing, and this book portrays the struggles they faced while working on these issues so well.

However, there are a few things I didn't like. The first is more of a personal issue that would bother me if I were in Reve's shoes. There was a paragraph or comment in the book about Reve not knowing too much about the investigation. She indicated that she was almost left out of everything, and was only told information about the case if it were absolutely necessary. She stated that it was probably because John was so protective of her. Now, I don't know if Reve liked being kept out of the loop, or if it bothered her, because it didn't really indicate in the book. But if that were me, I'd be furious with my husband. This case is about her son! I would want to know every single thing that was going on and every detail that they police or attorneys could share. Like I said, I'm not sure how she felt about this, and this isn't so much about the book, but just about the story in general.

Another thing that I noticed throughout the book was John kept referring to many of these criminals as 'pedophiles,' and it drives me absolutely crazy. People use that term too loosely and often over generalize what it actually means. John makes a comment that a pedophile killed Adam, but we don't actually know that because only part of his body was recovered and no one was ever charged with the crime. I have a background in criminal justice and psychology, and have learned a lot about these crimes and disorders. In general, pedophile or pedophilia, means to be sexually attracted to prepubescent children, generally under the age of 11. Just because someone murders or sexually assaults a child, it DOES NOT mean they are a pedophile. So many crimes against children are crimes of opportunity; children are often easy targets to persuade and control. And it's not just John Walsh that does this; so many people today claim that someone is a pedophile because they assaulted a child. I just wish people would think about terms like this before throwing them around. Don't get me wrong, I definitely think anyone who kills or assaults a child (or anyone for that matter) is incredibly sick, but its a pet peeve of mine when people incorrectly label or overuse terms like pedophile.

On another note, since that was kind of a rant, here is a quote from John that I thought was very powerful and true:

"No one seems to remember that a six-year-old boy was kidnapped and beheaded. No one seems to care about that at all. It's all about lawyers, about freedom of the press, and judges and covering your ass and bullshit. No one cares that Adam Walsh is going to be denied justice. No one except me....I demand justice for this little boy." pg 297

As my family has been a victim of a tragic murder, and I currently work in the criminal justice system, I think that the system and society tends to forget about the victims. We always talk about the offender and what he/she is like. But by constantly talking about the offender, we're making him or her more important than the victim, and that shouldn't happen. We need to remember the individuals, their families, their friends, what kind of person they were. We often lose sight of that my thinking only of the offender.

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