John Walsh / AMW Safety Center | April 28, 2008

Talk about good timing!

We decided to shoot an episode of America’s Most Wanted in Sacramento this month, because of two big cases in the area that I really hope we can help solve. One is the cold-blooded murder of a man and his seven-month-old son, the other a series of brutal sexual assaults by “The NorCal Rapist,” a vicious predator who’s attacked at least ten women since 1991.

While we were there, I also wanted to meet with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who’s a leader on an issue that’s very important to me: DNA testing. The governor worked hard for the passage of California’s Proposition 69, which will make his state one of a handful where DNA samples are taken from felony suspects when they’re arrested, not just from people convicted of crimes. That’s something I want to be implemented nationally, because a national, unified DNA database will not only lead to many more crimes being solved – it’ll help protect innocent people from being wrongly convicted. I’m working toward that goal, and I wanted to interview Governor Schwarzenegger about it for an upcoming episode of America’s Most Wanted.

I was delighted when he accepted my invitation – and delighted by the invitation he then extended to me. April 13-19 was National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, obviously a topic that’s near and dear to me. It’s also the week we were in Sacramento, and Governor Schwarzenegger’s schedule included a ceremony to present his Crime Victim Advocacy Awards to several courageous Californians. When he asked me to be part of that ceremony, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Governor Schwarzenegger and I have worked closely together on many important issues and initiatives over the years, and it was great to be able to share the stage with him once again.

The governor’s comments at the ceremony really struck home. “The pain and other terrible effects of crime do not end with convictions or sentences,” he said. “Lives must be rebuilt. Innocent people must heal.”

He added, “I’ve been told by victims that you come to a point where you hit rock bottom. You feel like you’re going to break down from overwhelming anger and sadness. Or, you can turn that emotion into something very positive.”

I know that from painful personal experience, and it’s something I often speak about. With your help, I’ve tried to turn the awful tragedy that struck my family, the abduction and murder of my beautiful son, Adam, into something positive. It was wonderful to be with Arnold Schwarzenegger that day to honor others who’ve dedicated themselves to making a difference.

You can find out more about the governor’s Crime Victim Advocate Awards, and see a video of the entire ceremony, here.
Stay Safe.

-John Walsh

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