John Leo

Critics have noticed that nobody is responsible for anything anymore, since almost everyone is a victim. Here are the top 10 victim stories of 2005

Children of witches are victimized by Halloween. Coming to class dressed as a witch on Halloween is a violation of  “equitable schools policies,” according to the Toronto district school board. The board said it feared “traumatic shock” if children treat “the Christian sexist demonization of pagan religious beliefs as ‘fun.’ ”

British Muslims are victimized by Piglet and piggy banks. Novelty pig calendars, toys, and even a tissue box featuring Winnie the Pooh and Piglet have been banned in the benefits department at Dudley Council, West Midlands, out of deference to Muslim sensibilities.

Students are victimized by the disappearance of low weekend prices in bars. Pressured by the University of Wisconsin and a federal campaign against binge drinking, 24 bars near the Madison campus agreed to end cut-rate weekend prices. Three students and a Minneapolis law firm failed to convince a Wisconsin circuit judge that this represented conspiracy and price fixing. But they are suing again in federal court. Legal costs to the bar owners so far: $250,000.

Hit-and-run victim offends police. A woman struck by a car while standing on a sidewalk in northern England ran afoul of police when she described the errant driver as “fat.” “I was given a frosty look and told . . . I could have said lardy, porky, or podgy,” said Mary Magilton, 54. “I don’t think she was severely reprimanded,” said a police spokesman, citing a firm policy of “appropriate language” in police reports.

Fired CBS employee is victimized by Viacom, CBS, vicious bloggers, the panel that investigated her, and a “McCarthyite” panel member who asked if she is a liberal. Mary Mapes complained last week that people were saying mean things about her and the discredited 60 Minutes II segment she produced about President Bush’s military service. She felt “extremely battered” by “having my head kicked around a soccer stadium by much of the western world.” No apology, though. For unknown reasons, Mapes’s new book is titled Truth and Duty rather than I Messed Up Big Time and I’m Sorry.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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