Obama On "Most Wanted"? Ugh

Please tell me it's not true. Tell me President Obama did not appear on the 1000th edition of America's Most Wanted. Tell me he did not succumb to the fear-mongering hysteria that seeks to transform worst-cases scenarios into norms of public policy.

But it is true. The president sat for an interview with one of the angriest and most self-righteous men in the United States, John Walsh. He's the father of Adam Walsh, a little boy abducted and murdered several decades ago. Since then, we've all felt the pain of the Walsh family.

Is it only in America that we transform those undone by grief into celebrities?

Walsh is a hero to many Americans. His son was abducted and killed by a stranger. Because this should never have happened, Walsh wants to make sure it never happens again. He's been instrumental in playing to the moral panic that has made our nation's over-inclusive and draconian sex offender laws the target of international criticism. Human Rights Watch has taken note; last summer the Economist carried a front page story of our war against the very forms of desire we stoke with advertising and a culture drenched in cheap, easy and vulgar sensuality.

President Obama's decision to appear on America's Most Wanted was not the reasoned and measured response of a commander in chief committed to rule of reason. Obama sat with Walsh and was lectured by the talk-show host about the need to take DNA samples of every person accused of a felony. The president listened to a man who has lent his son's name to controversial federal legislation that has been declared unconstitutional in some federal courts and is destined for a Supreme Court challenge. What was Obama trying to accomplish with this appearance?

Obama promised change. But it's looking more and more like the same old stuff. Pandering to fear to keep the plebeians at bay; bailing out those too big to fail to keep the elite fat and sassy; promising to close Guantanamo, but now folding in the face of those critics who want men tried in secret. It's looking more and more like the same old stuff in D.C.
Comments (5)
Posted on March 8, 2010 at 8:02 am by Donna S
I agree, what was our president thinking? I am so...
I agree, what was our president thinking? I am so disappointed in him. He always seemed to be the voice of reason but now I fear that he is not the man I had hoped. Mr. Walsh is angry for the loss of his son and who can blame him? But how can we lump all alleged sex offenders in the same group. And as Bennie mentions we don't know if the assailant was a sex offender.
If you factor in the families and loved ones of the almost 700,000 offenders on the registry the total number of people affected by these laws reaches into the millions. And we are creating a whole new class of homeless, unemployed people. How do they get jobs to support their families and themselves? How to they get the treatment so many of them need? We are setting them up for failure. We are supposed to be the land of opportunity but only for some.
Thank you Mr. Pattis for your views.

Posted on March 8, 2010 at 2:41 am by Bennie
There is absolutely no evidence the the son of Joh...
There is absolutely no evidence the the son of John Walsh had been abducted by a "sex offender", or more precisely as sexual predator. One can make the inferential leap, but it would not be factual or evidence based.

What is known is that his son was abducted and murdered and apparently only his head was found. No one in law enforcement or the legal profession directly familiar with the case spoke of O'Tool as a sex offender, or sexual predator.

Posted on March 7, 2010 at 9:57 pm by Sex Offender Issues
Yep, he sure did. Guess his Healthcare plan isn't...
Yep, he sure did. Guess his Healthcare plan isn't working out very well, so he has to have some legacy before he's kicked out, so he took the easy target.

Obama on AMW

Marc Klass on Huckabee the same night

How to get elected?

Posted on March 7, 2010 at 4:33 pm by toniat
I agree. I was quite surprised by Obama's comments...
I agree. I was quite surprised by Obama's comments and was floored when he agreed to offer money for the Adam Walsh Act. Cant they see what this will do to hundreds of thousands of offenders? Dont they realize how many lives they are about to ruin. And most importantly, why cant they see that not all those on the registry are a threat to anyone. Most so-called sex offenders have never hurt anyone (especially a child). If we dont change our current laws, before you know it, half of America will a sex offender (for one so-called crime or another). Well, I was hoping Obama would be a turning point for America, I was sadly mistaken.

Posted on March 7, 2010 at 3:53 pm by Rebecca
Bravo, Mr. Pattis! I, too, am hideously disappoint...
Bravo, Mr. Pattis! I, too, am hideously disappointed in Mr. Obama, who should know better than buy into the hype and hysteria. John Walsh is an angry man; I understand his anger, and I understand why he can't be rational, even though there was never any actual proof that Adam's killing was sexually motivated. What I don't understand is why those who should be less emotionally crippled by personal tragedy are equally irrational. Let's hope that when (not if) the AWA does get to the SCOTUS the justices are not as blinded to what is right, what is effective, what is honest.
For Display:
(Won't be displayed with comment)

Comment must be approved,
then will show on this page.

What color is the ocean?

About Norm Pattis

Norm Pattis is a Connecticut based trial lawyer focused on high stakes criminal cases and civil right violations. He is a veteran of more than 100 jury trials, many resulting in acquittals for people charged with serious crimes, multi-million dollar civil rights and discrimination verdicts, and scores of cases favorably settled.

Personal Website


Law Firm Website


I believe that the state is a necessary fiction and that failing to combat it is the first step toward tyranny.
– Norm Pattis


Nothing in this blog should be considered legal advice about your case. You need a lawyer who understands the context of your life and situation. What are offered here are merely suggested lines of inquiry you may explore with your lawyer.

Pattis Video