Is John Walsh Showcasing A Felon?


Maria Heil

I first met Sylvia in the hallway outside of the NBC studio where they tape the daytime talk show The John Walsh Show. She hadn’t been in the “green room” with Tiffany, Lisa, my two daughters and me. Sylvia had been kept separate from us.

We all had our makeup touched up yet again, and then we went out on stage for a pre-show taping of all of us, in profile. Afterwards we all went back to our green rooms.

As it turns out, Tiffany was on the show because she armed herself after a brutal attack in her own home, and she is from the Baton Rouge, LA area where that serial murderer is still at large. I am on the show because I am a “gun-advocate” and I have taught my children about firearms. Lisa is on the show because she armed herself after getting away from an abusive ex-husband. She is also in the May issue of Marie Claire magazine about “Women & Guns”. According to what we had been told about Sylvia, she was an ex-gangbanger who carries 24/7 when she goes back to her old neighborhood. She too was in the Marie Claire magazine, although she blames guns for the grief in her life, I was told by the producer.

Showtime! John Walsh introduced all four of us as being gun-owners. We were seated in order of our segments, Tiffany, Lisa, myself, and then Sylvia. When Tiffany was telling her story, Sylvia started to say something a couple of times, but stopped herself. We went to break. Someone brought out a glass of water for Sylvia, apparently upon her request, but none was offered to the rest of us.

Now it was Lisa’s turn. Lisa never got to tell her story because Sylvia constantly interrupted. At one point Lisa said, “Excuse me, but I am speaking.” To which Sylvia replied, “I’m talking now.” Poor Lisa was spitting nails by the time we went to break.

My segment was next. They started with my brother and his concerns about my owning a gun. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. Then they introduced a woman from the so-called “Million” Mom March, although I had been told that this was not supposed to be a debate! During my answers to the MMM’r, Sylvia felt compelled to interrupt me over and over. She even said that I was a criminal because I owned a gun!

She went on to say that, if she had a gun, and I made her mad, she would shoot me!

At one point she also said something about “rich white women who own guns.” Sylvia is black and the three of us are not. We took another break.

I looked at Sylvia after the break and she was perky and dry-eyed. When John Walsh started introducing her I looked at him as he was out among the audience. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Sylvia put her head between her knees. I thought that maybe she was nervous. When John Walsh finished introducing her, I turned to look at her and I got quite a surprise. Sylvia had pools of what looked to be tears under her eyes and running down her face. She had reached under her chair for her glass of water and used it to fake tears! I think my jaw dropped!

But there was more to come….

Sylvia started out by saying that she doesn’t own a gun, which is contrary to what John said during the show introduction. She also blames guns for all the grief in her life. It was quite a show she put on. She was crying about having done some bad things with guns but mostly she was upset because her younger brother was shot in the back of the head and died instantly, and he wasn’t even “a banger”. Then she went on the say that her other brother was in jail for supposedly murdering his wife, and “if” he had done it, he never would have done it if he hadn’t had a gun! I pointed out that “if” he did it, then he had murder in his heart, and the gun was not responsible. She was soooo mad! At the end of that segment the Executive Producer came over and grabbed both arms of Sylvia’s chair and told her to calm down.

After the show Sylvia went to her own green room and we went to ours. We saw her again a little while later when we were taking pictures with John Walsh backstage. Sylvia said nothing to us, and we said nothing to her.

Later, back in the green room Lisa told me about the Marie Claire magazine article (the May issue), and told me to buy one at the train station on the way home, which I did.

Once the girls and I were settled on the train I pulled out the magazine and found the article. On page 138 is Sylvia’s story. The very first sentence states, “When I go back to Compton, CA, I stay strapped 24/7….” But, I heard her say on the John Walsh Show that she doesn’t have a gun, what gives?? There is a large picture of Sylvia, standing outside what appears to be her door, with a gun in her hand and her finger on the trigger.

I read on and was shocked to read, “I have done things with guns I regret. I spent three years in prison for attempted murder….”

As the train moved through the darkness and the girls dozed, I started thinking. Someone is a liar. Either Marie Claire magazine lied about Sylvia owning a gun and her story, or Sylvia lied to the magazine about owning a gun, or she lied on the John Walsh Show about not owning a gun. Troubling thing is, there IS that picture in the magazine with a gun in her hand…

It had been a very long day and very draining, so my brain wasn’t firing on all cylinders. About midnight it finally clicked… she did three years in prison for attempted murder that is probably a felony. If she is a convicted felon, and hasn’t had a Presidential Pardon, or gotten her rights restored through the “redress of grievenesses” then she is not even allowed to even hold a gun! That picture is most likely a picture of a felony! It looks like that gun is going to bring her more grief. She chose to be in the article, and if she is breaking the law, she will have to answer for her actions, again.

Obviously, someone lied here somewhere.

If it was Marie Claire magazine messing up Sylvia’s story, then I hope they have the integrity to clarify their mistake in an upcoming issue. But there IS that picture of Sylvia with a gun.

If Sylvia lied to Marie Claire about wearing a gun 24/7 in Compton, CA because she just wanted to be in the magazine, then she owes the magazine an apology. But there IS that picture of Sylvia with a gun.

Prior to the taping, if Sylvia lied to the John Walsh Show about having a gun, then she owes them an apology. But there IS that picture of Sylvia with a gun.

If Sylvia told the John Walsh Show that the magazine had messed up, and that she doesn’t own a gun, then the John Walsh Show owes the three gun-owning women an apology for misrepresenting her. But there IS that picture of Sylvia with a gun.

If Sylvia lied on stage about not owning a gun, then she owes everyone in that studio an apology. But there IS that picture of Sylvia with a gun.

Bottom line here is that someone lied. The big question is, who is the liar and will there be repercussions?

I wonder how John Walsh, of America’s Most Wanted fame, feels about showcasing a possible armed felon on his daytime talk show.

I wonder how the editor at Marie Claire magazine feels about publishing a picture of a possible felony.

Maria Heil is the National Spokesperson of Second Amendment Sisters.