Thank you very much. First off, it’s common knowledge that no actor or actress has had more on- or offscreen experience dealing with torture than me, Chuck Norris. Both ends, mind you. Certainly, I’ve been the victim of torture in many of my movies, but most people don’t realize that I’ve also dealt it out as well. Just ask the host of The Price Is Right, Bob Barker.
Bob was a karate student of mine in the mid-1980s, and one day, after he showed up late with an attitude to a lesson at my dojo in Brentwood, I swept his leg from behind and took him down hard. Then I crushed his testicles with my elbow until I heard him yell “PLINKO!” with sincerity. Let’s just say that, from then on, Bob was always 15 minutes early. But I’m not here to name-drop. I’ll move on.
What constitutes torture? That’s a question everyone asks, but rarely does anyone have an answer. I know first hand the pain and mental anguish that can be inflicted on a soldier by an administrator of torture. In Missing in Action, General Trau ordered me tied and strung up by my ankles from the nearest tree branch. He demanded I “sign a war-crimes confession with an admission of guilt— or else,” and I told him to go to hell. So he beat me with a stick like I was a piñata. Then I was like, “Is that all you got, General?”
Next, he punched me in the gut, and I spit a mouthful of blood at him, but since I was upside down I just sprayed the bottom of his pant leg. After that, he was like, “Braddock! You a goner!”
I pissed him off so bad he put a giant Vietnamese water rat in a pillowcase and secured it over my head with a rope. I yelled something along the lines of “What happened to the Geneva Conventions, General?,” but he couldn’t hear me because the rat was screeching and hissing inside the bag over my face. I bit that rat’s jugular before it could gnaw my face off, and the pillowcase ran red with its blood. The general removed the burlap pillow sack, hoping to reveal my skull half-eaten, but what he saw was a big-ass water rat in my mouth. He yelled my name so loud it echoed through the prison camp several times. After that, his fatso henchman beat me some more, then he tied me to some sort of bamboo rack contraption and left me out in the sun with no food or water for a week.
If that isn’t torture, then what is?
Back in the mid-‘80s, what you saw when we were filming Missing in Action—or, for that matter, in the ’70s, when the movie was actually supposed to take place—that was as bad as torture got. All the cast and crew would sit around in my trailer on set and brainstorm torture techniques while playing Sai Gon poker and listening to Cristy Lane records. That’s where we came up with the water-rat scenario. These days, a man eating puréed rat out of a blender on Fear Factor is called reality entertainment, not torture. Go figure.
We’ve all heard about the Abu Ghraib detention facility and how Americans tortured detainees. That’s a bunch of baloney. Abu Ghraib wasn’t nothing. Abu Ghraib wasn’t torture. That Al Qaeda guy who was standing on the box in a Christlike position with a black bag over his head and electrodes clamped to his fingers wasn’t in any real danger. He wasn’t even connected to a viable power source! In Braddock: Missing in Action III, I was hooked up to a car battery while I was held in a stress position with my elbows connected behind my back, elevated off the wet floor, while they made my son—whom I had just met—watch. Now that’s torture all right. Emotionally, I was a basket case. But, please, those Abu Ghraib snapshots of half-naked detainees in human pyramids with black sacks over their heads? That ain’t torture! That was clearly a homoerotic cheerleading porn video—far from torture in my book.
I’ve been tortured off the set of movies, too—like when I was self-medicating for my depression. One night, before I was to film an infomercial for my TotalGym Workout System®, I’d had one too many and was doing some late-night reps on the machine. I somehow got a leg strap wrapped around my neck, and a free weight dropped and busted my sternum. I passed in and out of consciousness for the next six to eight hours while I had the equivalent of 60 percent of my body mass pressing down on my crushed chest cavity. I was in the worst pain imaginable, until my ex-wife woke up the next morning and adjusted the equipment.
In closing, I’d like to thank the kind people of Waco for having me. I recommend, if you have time, checking out the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, off of I-35 near downtown. They have a group rate for parties of 10 or more. They’ve also got a great gift shop and a wonderful exhibit featuring memorabilia from my television show. I’d also like to thank the festival for their recognition. This award will be displayed, somewhere.
I know about torture, and I know about terrorists. As for terrorists, when it comes to them torturing, I’d like to leave you with a quote, from myself, something I said while filming on the set of Delta Force: “Don’t negotiate with terrorists—just shoot ’em!” Thank you.