Governor Hopes Texas Television Ranger
Fares Better in PSA than Officers at Uvalde
Capitol Inside August 16, 2022
Twelve weeks to the day after a real Texas Ranger and 90 fellow state police officers failed to confront a teenager gunman at a mass school shooting in Uvalde, Governor Greg Abbott revealed on Tuesday that he'd enlisted the help of an aging actor who played a fictional member of the legendary law enforcement division on television for help with a new school safety campaign.
Abbott cast former TV star Chuck Norris in the part of a public service announcement with a pitch for IWatch - a web site and telephone app that can be used to report suspicious behavior to the police.
A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and judo who served in the U.S. Air Force, Norris had been known for martial arts movies and television roles before scoring the role of Cordell Walker in the series Walker, Texas Ranger for eight seasons in the 1990s until it ended in 2001.
“Parents, teachers, and students deserve to feel safe and secure returning to school this fall, and who better to help spread the message about the iWatchTexas reporting system than ‘Texas Ranger’ Chuck Norris?" Abbott said in an email.
Decked in dark beard and cowboy hat, the 82-year-old entertainer explains the complications of police work in reality in the PSA for Abbott. police work in reality. "I'm Chuck Norris," Norris says at the start of the 30-second message. "I love bringing bad guys to justice. But law enforcement can't stop the bad guys if they don't know who they are."
Norris doesn't venture off the script with comments about the heat that the Republican governor is facing amid growing calls for a special session to tackle a gun violence epidemic that's included six mass shootings on his watch as the state's top leader for almost eight years. That should comes as no surprise given Norris' history as a Donald Trump loyalist who received a plug at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas this month from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban - an autocratic leader who's been likened frequently to the Nazis.
Orban told his audience at CPAC that Hungary's position on the LGBTQ community is “less drag queens and more Chuck Norris.” While the Norris love affair with Trump is hardly a secret, he's denied speculation that he attended the rally that triggered the riot that killed five people including a police officer at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 last year.
Abbott appears to see Norris as potential cover for his steadfast refusal to summer lawmakers back to Austin to raise the legal age for rifles from 18 to 21. The killer in Uvalde had the ability under the current Texas age limit to buy an AK-15 assault rifle on his birthday a week before the rampage at the school where he used it to murder 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary on May 14.
Abbott defended the status quo a week after the killings in a remark that seemed more like an endorsement for an age limit boost.
“Ever since Texas has been a state, an 18-year-old has been able to buy a long gun. It’s only in the last decade or two when we had school shooting. So for a century and a half, 18-year-olds could buy rifles and we did’t have school shooting, but we do now. Maybe we’re focusing our attention on the wrong thing.”