Hammer on victims

Boy, this time of year sure can be tough on some of us. I feel like I’m always too hot because I bundled up too much or too cold because I didn’t. And then when the furnace in the office kicks on with the intensity of a noon-day sun, well, I was glad the place was deserted as I started peeling off sweatshirts. Even after that, I was still poring sweat so I thought I might go fiddle with the thermostat when boom – I ran straight into the chest of none other than John Hammer – the big hulk of a man whose neck is red and who bleeds red, white and blue.

“People want to be victims,” he boomed. “I’ve decided that’s just who we’ve become. That kid who was on trial for the shooting in Wisconsin, the one who got acquitted? I was listening to all the talking heads from the entertainment and sports worlds lose their minds. They said him being found innocent was just another example of how the system is broken – how they are oppressed and what an injustice this is . . . never mind the fact that most of the ones talking could buy and sell everything I have 100 times over and not skip a beat. And never mind the fact that not one of them sat through the trial and heard all the facts of the case like the jury did. The point is that in this country, at this time, everyone wants to be a victim.”

I thought about replying but was spending most of my time trying to catch my breath after going from near heat stroke to just near a stroke.

“They are being bullied,” he said in a falsetto voice that sounded really weird coming from his natural deep bass. “They are oppressed. They are fat because the food industry profits from that. They are on medications because the pharmaceutical companies are crooked.”

The falsetto ended.

“Everything that’s wrong in their lives is someone else’s fault,” he boomed again. “They are victims. Hell, Timmons. I remember a time in this country when no one wanted to be a victim. Maybe we had too big of chips on our shoulder, maybe we were too insensitive. I don’t know. I just know that being a victim meant that you couldn’t do anything about it, and nobody I knew wanted to be in that boat. When did that change? When did we decide we’re all victims?”

“I don’t know John,” I said, finally catching my breath. “I mean there are some awfully valid points about minorities historically being victimized by-.”

“Oh stop it!” he yelled. “I don’t disagree that there have been wrongs, huge wrongs, wrongs I can never make up for. But where is it getting us focusing on that? You think teaching little kids that because they are different colors that it’s going to change anything. Let the little kids see us all working together and that’s how you impact it. Besides, you see any racism on a playground with 5-year-olds? Hell, no! They just want to play.”

He had a point.

“Look, you’re never going to eliminate racism. Just like you’re never going to eliminate stupidity. But good Lord, quit focusing on the idiots. What was it one of those comedians said, you can’t fix stupid. That’s right. But if we stop this insanity where all we do is rant and rave about being victimized then we’re sure not fixing anything either. Do you think LeBron James, one of the biggest complainers ever, got to where he is by complaining all the time about what’s wrong with basketball? I’m guessing he just worked harder. And by working harder he made a name for himself, and is earning more money than his grandchildren can spend. And good for him for doing it. But now, he wants to mouth off and tell people the system is broken? Kind of hypocritical, ain’t it?”

“Well, maybe John. But you have to agree that there’s some validity to the question of why this kid was even in Wisconsin because-”

“Timmons, lucky for you and him that being stupid ain’t a crime,” Hammer jumped in. “I agree that he should have never been there in the first place and if I was his daddy, we’d be having a pretty frank talk about that – and I don’t care how old he is. But that doesn’t have a dang thing to do with whether or not he was guilty. And it sure as hell doesn’t have anything to do with all this crying about being victims.

“I’ll tell you what,” he continued. “This kid is going to win a whole lot of money over, what’s the term, libel and slander? And you won’t hear much about that in the news. But what’s worse is while we all sit here and wring our hands and cry that we’re victims, we’re just getting weaker and weaker as a nation. We got enemies, Timmons. We got countries and terrorist organizations out there who hate us, who want what we got. If we keep this up, if we don’t be careful, somebody is going to come along and teach us what it’s really like to be a victim.”

Hammer stomped off. I felt a chill. Had the furnace quit blowing? Sadly, I didn’t think that was it.

Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Wednesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at