A tragic day of innocence lost

This morning I woke up to a jarring story in the newspaper.  The killer of Adam Walsh was finally identified.

On July 27, 1981, Adam went into a deparment store with his mother.  She lost track of him for just a second…and he was abducted by the person we now known as his killer, Ottis Toole.  Adam’s head was found two weeks later in a nearby canal.  His body has never been recovered.

This story gripped America.  It was one of those turning points in which a singlular event caused massive, but subtle changes in our society.  I was still a teen when Adam was abducted.  As I look at his picture now, I automatically recognize him.  I’ll never forget him.  In a way he became everyone’s little boy.  The freckled-faced gap-toothed baseball cap wearing kid.  The picture was the type of picture that parents and grandparents would have on a coffee table or a fireplace mantle or on the living room wall.

When I was a kid in junior high, I’d walk to the bus stop alone.  Today, by habit, I walk my son to his.  (The bus comes at 6:30 a.m. so it’s completely dark out).  Each kid there has a parent nearby.  It’s as if each of us has a feeling that we should be there.  I can’t help but think that unconsciously we’re doing it because of Adam

I have to say that I admire John Walsh and the way he made this a crusade.  He had to.  Now we’ve got systems in place that, while not being able to prevent these tragedies, can make them more rare.

Today, I’m going to say a special prayer for the Walsh family and, most especially, for Adam.  And my son is going to get extra hugs for a reason that he knows nothing of.


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