In The Belly
of the Beast
I got on the plane to fly to New York City, to
be a guest on the John Walsh Show I was just one woman with
one story. I felt alone, but I was not afraid. I had no
expectations, but I had hope. I thought that maybe if I
can touch or inspire one other woman to be strong in the
face of adversity by sharing my story I would have accomplished
a great thing. Little did I know that I would leave New
York with a battered spirit. I had been harrassed, humiliated,
belittled and used, all by a group of people who had promised
to protect and encourage me. As a sick and uneasy feeling
settled in the bottom of my stomach, I felt the self-doubt
and questions about what did I do wrong creeping through
my brain. But soon I realized that I DID NOTHING
WRONG!, and all of that self-doubt and uneasiness
suddenly turned into seething fury and anger at the people
who had betrayed me.
I like many
other people had a great respect for John Walsh, for the
tragedy he had lived through, and the way he chosen to turn
his grief into a crusade to help others. But I think he
has either let his public image distort his connection with
the human condition, or he has lost touch with his own personal
integrity. Why else would he allow two women who have suffered
through so much abuse,and tragedy, to be abused on his show
in front of a live audience. Only someone less than honorable
would permit such insult to his guests. No matter what set-up
or plans were devised behind the scenes, John Walsh himself
has control over what transpires on his show when the cameras
are rolling, and he did nothing to stop the gross display
of inconsiderate, ignorant, uncivilized, abuse that was
thrown at Lisa, Maria and myself.
I would like to share with you the course of events as I
saw it from the bowels of the belly of the
beast (The John Walsh Show), because as
I have been reading many angry publications about the outcome
of the show, I have read many lies that were given as official
statements by a representative of the show.
another guest and I were picked up at noon the day of the
taping and brought to NBC. We were brought to separate green
rooms to wait until it was time for our show to be taped.
Lisa and I were luckily placed in the same room, and this
is where we first had a chance to talk and meet each other.
We instantly bonded because she is one of those unique people
that are so genuine, honest and caring you can't help but
to reach out to her.
Soon Jennifer, who I believe is one of the production assistants,
came and removed us to another room so we could go over
the questions John would ask us and rehearse our answers.
Everything appeared to be standard, and I felt very comfortable.
Then someone asked Jennifer to step out into the hallway.
Walsh is widely recognized as a tireless
advocate for victimís rights and missing children
as host of the nationís number-one crime-fighting
show, Americaís Most Wanted
When she left
the room we could hear them talking right out side the door,
and we were shocked to hear a conversation about how
much Sylvia was going to be paid for her lost wages while
she was in New York. No one had offered to compensate us
for our lost wages. We had just come to the show
with the hope that our story would inspire other women to
be strong and take action not abuse. When Jennifer came
back into the room she told us once again that this was
not a debate but a show about our individual stories of
I was then
sent to hair and make-up. That is where I met Maria and
her two beautiful girls. After we all looked stunningly
beautiful, it was time to return to the green room to wait,
and wait and wait. For some reason the taping was delayed,
but this only gave the production staff more time to prep
us and answer our questions. I can't count the amount of
times we were reassured that we would only be telling our
stories of inspiration to John and maybe answering a few
questions from the audience.
As the golden
hour finally approached we had a meeting with Andrew the
producer. Before he came in we were told to look perky and
full of energy, because he gets worried if the guests don't
look energetic. Well, if any one of you had sat in the same
room for six hours you would look a little less than perky,
don't you think? Despite our effort to look "perky"
apparently that was not good enough, so Andrew decided to
spice things up a bit. He asked me and Lisa to tell more
dramatic details of our abuse and trauma. Soon we were both
holding back the tears. I think Andrew liked that.
Then we were
told to interact with each other during the show if we had
questions or comments for the other ladies. No problem.
But apparently Sylvia interpreted that as carte blanche
to leave her manners in the green room, (if she had any
in the first place. Hmm... I doubt it.) Now, as we were
lining up in the hallway to the entrance of the studio,
waiting "excitedly" to meet John Walsh and to
have our microphones checked for sound, Maria heard someone
thanking a surprise guest for coming on such short notice.
She was from the Million Mom March. And contrary to a statement
given by the show, she was being wired with a microphone.
Let the lies
begin. So not only was Maria told not to mention that she
was affiliated with Second Amendment Sisters, but I was
told not to mention that I was sexually assaulted by an
off-duty police officer. They said, "John
doesn't want you to mention you were raped by a cop.",
and to Maria, "John doesn't want you to
mention you are with Second Amendment Sisters, and he doesn't
want you to talk about numbers and statistics, just tell
your personal story." The stage was being
set for our attack.
My last measure
of hope was in John himself. Jennifer said John is in control
of what happens once the taping begins, and I knew that
he would treat us with dignity. He has done many shows about
Baton Rouge and what we are all going through because of
the Serial Killings, and I thought that would warrant me
some level of respect. I guess not. Maybe if he could go
back in time and ask the five women in Baton Rouge and Lafayette,
who had been beaten to death, strangled, and had their throats
slit if they wished they had a gun to defend themselves,
would he have treated them with the same disgrace and disregard.
Or does he prefer stories about dead women over
women trying to preserve life for everything it is worth.
Needless to say after this point all hell broke loose when
taping began, and everything we were told not to do, John
or some other invited guest did to us.
talking about statistics, he walked over to the lady from
the Million Mom March and agreed and encouraged her to thrust
her statistics and opinions down our throats, he never let
Lisa finish her story, and he let Sylvia run her mouth like
an untrained, unchained dog, but most of all he turned the
show into one about children and guns. His point seemed
to be that women are not qualified or capable of handling
the responsibility of owning a firearm, without contributing
to kids killing kids. He allowed us to sit on the stage
so that we could be blasted with accusations, but he showed
pictures of my children, and used Maria's children to his
advantage without any thought of how the outcome of the
show would hurt them.
We are all
wonderful, devoted mothers who would never endanger our
children. It seemed that our children were more hurt by
John Walsh than they will ever be by a gun. Why didn't he
ask Sylvia the former criminal and thug about her children.
She was so poorly raised (she said on the show her father
was a hustler) and she was a gang member (she referred many
times to her "homeboys"), that I am sure she is
not the kind of role-model John would want influencing his
own children. But yet he encouraged her to continue her
blithering display of ignorance. Was he simply amused at
her stupidity, as we all were, or was he oblivious to the
humiliation he was allowing us to suffer through?
Either way what's done is done. We can not go back and change
the course of events that brought us to this point today,
but I can speak out to all who want to know what happened
that day and seek the truth. Owning a gun is my choice.
It was an informed decision that I made after being the
victim of a violent sexual assault, which was committed
by an off-duty police officer, (who is still on the force),
and because of the serial killer who is picking off women
in my city like rats in a freshly cut cane field. I feel
there is no other choice but to be armed, alert and prepared
for anything. I guess anything that is except for talk show
hosts who lure their unsuspecting guests into a pit of snakes.
Since the show
was taped I have had several weeks to wonder what I would
or could have done different that fateful Thursday in New
York, only to realize that I am not the one who needs to
change at all. I believe if anyone should do anything different
it should be John Walsh, himself. He needs to take a stand
one way or the other and get down off of the fence.
Either he is
pro-women responsibly arming themselves against an attacker
or anyone who wishes to harm them by using a firearm if
necessary, or he is against women responsibly arming themselves
with a firearm, against an attacker or anyone who wishes
to harm them-, and would rather see them physically struggle
in some form of hand to hand combat with a man who has twice
or three times their strength, or perhaps use a stun-gun
which would probably knock her to the ground as well, or
maybe he would ultimately prefer that women only be allowed
to carry Mace by law (then maybe all of the children would
stop killing each other).
this his idea of female Natural Selection (only
the lucky ones will survive) or just his idea of politically
correct gender discrimination? If John Walsh is the honorable
man he professes to be then he will right this wrong he
has committed and apologize formally on his show for the
emotional trauma he inflicted and allowed to be inflicted
by others upon Lisa, Maria, myself, and our children. We
will see what he represents; friend or foe.