INDIANAPOLIS – Jim Lucas knows many things.
The Republican state representative from Seymour knows so many things that he never needs to apologize, except grudgingly, or acknowledge that he has made a mistake.
Jim Lucas knows, for instance, that black Americans are way too sensitive about the whole lynching thing. When he posted a photo of nooses underneath a WISH TV story about an African-American rapist, people accused Jim Lucas of being a racist.
Jim Lucas knows that’s not right.
That’s why he told reporters that he has posted the same image many times before, regardless of whether the offender is black or white. He said he doesn’t see “color,” only the crime.
But, because Jim Lucas knows many things, Jim Lucas knows that blacks and whites have had exactly the same experience in America and that the gallows mean the same thing to people of both races. Jim Lucas knows it’s not like conservative white Americans might see the noose as a symbol of frontier justice and African-Americans just might view it as a reminder of a time when they could be strung from a tree for refusing to bow their heads or step off the sidewalk when a white person passed.
Jim Lucas knows these things because Jim Lucas is sensitive to other people’s feelings.
That’s why, three years ago, Jim Lucas posted a joke on social media about locking his wife and his dog in the trunk of a car to see which would miss him most. He followed that thigh-slapper with another joke about pepper-spraying female protestors at Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Women and women’s advocates accused Jim Lucas of advocating or at least trivializing domestic violence.
Then, when he counseled a rape victim that maybe she could have avoided being assaulted if she had carried a gun – Jim Lucas loves, loves, loves guns – rape survivors and others accused Jim Lucas of “victim blaming.”
Jim Lucas knew that he was being treated unfairly.
Who wouldn’t want to laugh about a little violence against women?
Jim Lucas knew that the women who weren’t laughing were just poor sports.
Jim Lucas knows that, just like black Americans, rape survivors and battered women need to lighten up a little bit. Or a lot. They act as if they have reason to complain.
And Jim Lucas knows they don’t.
After all, Jim Lucas knows people are much too “politically correct,” way, way too easily offended.
That’s why Jim Lucas is – always – the real victim in all these episodes. Jim Lucas knows people, regardless of how historically disadvantaged they may have been, just need to get over themselves. Everyone should stop being so touchy.
Everyone but Jim Lucas, that is.
Because Jim Lucas knows so many things, he knows it’s not nice or fair for anyone to criticize or make fun of him.
When that happens – when someone takes issue with or pokes fun at Jim Lucas – his knickers twist faster than Chubby Checker in his prime. He fires off long, impassioned comments or letters that whine – er, assert – that it is either mean or evil for anyone to disagree with or joke about Jim Lucas.
Other people are other people.
But Jim Lucas is Jim Lucas.
And Jim Lucas knows that everyone else – particularly the disenfranchised or often disparaged – need to develop thicker skins.
But Jim Lucas?
Not a chance.
His skin can stay so thin it shouldn’t ever be exposed to sunlight.
Other people should get used to being laughed at.
But not Jim Lucas.
No, not ever.
Jim Lucas knows he’s being criticized not because he said oafish, inconsiderate and ill-thought-out things, but because he’s Jim Lucas, a guy who knows many things.
Oh, so many things.
John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.