Most superheroes created by Marvel or DC have similar backgrounds. Some had super powers (Spiderman), others did not (Punisher), but they faced a
traumatic situation. In Spidy's case, his uncle was killed. The Punisher watched his family get murdered (I think, it's been a while since I've
read that). Following the traumatic event, the soon-to-be Superhero withdraws from society, makes a decision, and ends up fighting for justice in
their city/country/planet/galaxy despite risks and in some cases even being hated.
We all know these are just stories, though, right? Maybe not. Superheroes really do exist. What constitutes a superhero? A hero is someone who goes
above and beyond the call of duty to selflessly put another's welfare before their own. A superhero is one who makes this a career.
May I present John Walsh, host of America's Most Wanted. On July 27th, 1981, his picture perfect life with his wife and 6-year-old son, Adam, came to
a crashing halt with the abduction of his son. He worked closely with police to try to find the scumbag who abducted his son, but really felt helpless
and unable to do anything. Eventually, they found his son, but he had been murdered. There was a primary suspect who was likely guilty, but that
suspect died in jail (serving for other crimes), taking all the answers with him before he could be called to task for his suspected actions. John
Walsh had no rock hard idea who did this to his boy, and no justice for the fate of his boy would ever be served.
John Walsh was faced with a decision. Would he pick up the broken pieces of his shattered life and try to move on, or would he go forward and ensure
others wouldn't have to suffer the same fate his family did. Walsh chose the path of the superhero.
He started with the government. He battled through beurocratic red tape and legislative nightmares to be a key player in the creation of the Missing
Children Act of 1982 and the Missing Children's Assistance Act of 1984. He also started the Adam Walsh Child Resource Center in memory of his son,
which pushes for legislative reform.
The battle he began waging caught the eye of some people. As is the case with most superheroes, a bit of luck is always involved. ABC ended up airing
a show about what he went through and did as a result called Adam. A few years later in 1986, they aired Adam: His Song Continues. John Walsh was
then offered his superpower -- access to all the people of America and across the world. He was given the show, America's Most Wanted, which is
still, today, the most popular real crime fighting show out there.
Every week, John Walsh would take on those criminals the FBI had dubbed our nations most wanted fugatives. Constantly being threatened by the criminal
element, he continues to bring justice to those who would try to avoid it. He has also, through that show, saved countless children from the hands of
I've seen interview after interview where some criminal is sitting behind bars and the interviewee asks them when they knew they were going to get
caught. The answer? "When I saw myself on America's Most Wanted, I knew the running was over." AMW has become the reality of what Superman was in
the movies (never read the comics
). When Sup puts his eyes on you, the running is over. When AMW put's you in its crosshairs, your run is over.
John Walsh is, by all definitions, a true American superhero. Turns out they do exist.