Vaya con Dios, Billy Jack

1931-2013

I had always hoped to meet Tom Laughlin and shake his hand. For those who’ve read my books and have seen the Billy Jack films, it should be no surprise I owe a great debt to Mr. Laughlin. When I first spoke to my editor at Putnam about creating a new series, I told him I wanted to write a post 9/11 Billy Jack. The films are ass-kicking action, thought-provoking, and socially relevant. Billy Jack takes on greed, bigotry, and corruption. He is a moral man in an immoral world who lives with dignity, teaches racial tolerance, and knows to never conform or give up the fight. Laughlin’s character continues to inspire and entertain and will do so for endless generations to come. As you’ll read in the many obits this week, the actor and creator of Billy Jack lived in the same quiet, simple way — with dignity and toughness. Thanks, Tom! You were the real deal. — Ace

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