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Actor and WND columnist Chuck Norris says society should “embrace” and help youthful offenders, not “distance ourselves” from them.
His comments came today after reports from the Philadelphia Inquirer that two students from Pennsauken High School in New Jersey were arrested after a teacher discovered an alleged “hit list” that included Norris’ name.
A report in the newspaper said Jason Laughlin, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Camden County, said the list also named three students and a member of the school staff.
No one was hurt and authorities reported the two students were not found to have had any weapons. Supt. James Chapman confirmed that the boys described the list as a joke, but he said school officials and police were taking it seriously.
The two, who were not identified because of their age, were accused of “writing and sharing” a hit list, and were facing both police and school responses to their actions, authorities said.
“When I learned yesterday of the story about a high school student in New Jersey faced with expulsion from school and possible other problems after being charged with compiling a ‘hit list’ that contained my name, my first instinct was to say nothing. Not to risk making something out to be bigger than it is,” Norris said in a prepared statement.
“But I realize that is not the best course, for such behaviors are exactly the warning signs we have ignored for far too long, emanating from a growing at-risk population of young people in this country,” he said.
“In today’s world, we must always be vigilant, not just in stepping up protection and emergency preparedness in schools, but in reaching out to those lost souls who feel marginalized and disenfranchised by the world around them,” he said.
“It is what I have been doing for more than a decade with my ‘KickStart’ program, which began in Houston, Texas, teaching 150 at-risk children martial arts as part of the PE curriculum. Since that time, our program, which instills discipline and respect and raises self-esteem, has grown to serve more than 6,000 youngsters year round at 37 schools in Dallas and Houston, Texas. To date, KickStart has graduated more than 50,000 students with many going on to college and becoming successful in their own right,” Norris said.
“My hope is that, should there be substance to these charges, we will not distance ourselves from this young man, but embrace him and give him the help he needs to get on the right path.”
WND reported earlier when the case was revealed that the students’ judgment was questioned by a WND reader, who wrote, “Don’t they know who they are messing with?!”
Norris made his name as a renowned teacher of martial arts and was a six-time undefeated world middleweight karate champion. He is the first man from the Western Hemisphere in the more than 4,500-year tradition of tae kwon do to be awarded an eighth-degree black belt grand master ranking.
By the 1970s, Norris had completely revolutionized martial arts in the United States and was in the process of taking this exciting individual sport to a new level by transitioning it into a team event when he was faced with a career choice: continue to build upon the team combat martial arts format he had pioneered or commit himself to a film acting career.
Norris is one of the most enduringly popular actors in the world. He has starred in more than 20 major motion pictures. His television series “Walker, Texas Ranger,” which completed its run in April 2001 after eight full seasons, is the most successful Saturday night series on CBS since “Gunsmoke.” It is syndicated in more than 80 countries worldwide, ranking as one of the top U.S. shows in both sales and audience.
He also founded the United Fighting Arts Federation with over 2,300 black belts all over the world. And in 1991, he and his powerboat racing team won the World Offshore Powerboat championship. Then he went on to setting a new world record by racing a 38-foot Scarab boat 605 miles across the Great Lakes, from Chicago to Detroit, in 12 hours and 8 minutes.
But the context in which many people know him is Chuck Norris jokes. In recent weeks even the Google search engine joined in.
WND reported that typing in the search term “find Chuck Norris” and hitting the “I’m feeling lucky button,” resulted in: “Google won’t search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don’t find Chuck Norris, he finds you.”
The rest of the page displays the following: “No standard web pages containing all your search terms were found. Your search – Chuck Norris – did not match any documents. Suggestions:
- Run, before he finds you
- Try a different person”
As such jokes circulate on the Internet, WND created the Chuck Norris Laughlines Forum to compile some of the favorites.
Among some of the highlights:
- “Chuck Norris has already been to Mars; that’s why there are no signs of life there.”
- “There is no such thing as global warming. Chuck Norris was cold so he turned the sun up.”
- “Chuck Norris does not “style” his hair. It lies perfectly in place, out of sheer terror.”
- Ninjas want to grow up to be just likek Chuck Norris. But usually they grow up just to be killed by Chuck Norris.”
- “They wanted to put Chuck Norris on Mount Rushmore, but the granite wasn’t tough enough for Chuck’s beard.”
- “Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink.”
- “Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming that ‘Law & Order’ are the names of his left and right legs.”
- “Chuck Norris sleeps with a night-light because the dark is afraid of him.”
- “Superman owns a pair of Chuck Norris pajamas.”
- “There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.”
- “When Chuck Norris does push-ups, he doesn’t push himself up. He pushes the Earth down.”
- “When the boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.”
There are some 40,000 of these jokes, er, “facts” floating around the Net – many of them collected at the granddaddy of all Chuck Norris “fact” sites – ChuckNorrisFacts.com.
In real life, Norris has served as:
- A spokesman for United Way, for whom his eight-minute commercial helped bring in over $2 billion.
- A Veterans Administration spokesman, visiting V.A. hospitals and speaking with World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans – including one from World War I.
- supporter for the Make A Wish Foundation for 29 years.
- winner of the Jewish Humanitarian Man of the Year Award.
More recently, Norris and his wife, Gena, joined the board of directors of the National Council on Bible Curriculum In Public Schools with the quest of helping students understand the Bible’s impact on history and literature. Both Norrises are featured in a popular television public service announcement that encourages citizens to bring the Bible back to America’s public schools as an available elective course of study. The announcements are aired on several national networks.
The Norris announcements inform viewers that they can call the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools to receive information on how any citizen can help their local school board implement the NCBCPS curriculum.