A certain segment of the population exists solely to be outraged and will find offense wherever they can. Earlier this week, a photo emerged of some high school students giving what appeared to be a Nazi salute. Naturally, these people freaked out. But a closer look reveals what’s really happening in this photo.
As it turns out, these students were simply waving. Waving isn’t quite as salacious as Nazis, so it’s unlikely this simple explanation will reach as many people. Outrage spreads like wildfire, while the debunking of that outrage tends to be ignored.
On Monday Law & Crime reported that a picture of students from Baraboo High School in Wisconsin was circulating on social media and working people into a frenzy. The shot, taken last spring, showed a group of male students giving what appeared to be a Nazi salute.
This picture was taken off of school grounds at an event that was not sponsored by the school, but that didn’t stop the district from threatening legal action.
“The school district is investigating this situation and is working with parents, staff and local authorities. If the gesture is what it appears to be, the district will pursue any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal, to address the issue. With that, we want to be very clear: the Baraboo School District is a hate-free environment where all people, regardless of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin or ancestry, are respected and celebrated,” wrote Baraboo Schools Superintendent Lori Mueller.
What legal action could the school possibly take with this? As was already stated, the picture was taken off school grounds at a non-school-sanctioned event. The school has absolutely no jurisdiction here whatsoever. On top of that, even if the students really were doing a “Sieg Heil” kind of thing, this is still America where people have the right to express themselves even in disgusting and offensive ways.
The students, however, were not giving a Nazi salute so everyone can relax. Peter Gust, a local photographer, is the one who took the picture. As he explained to Madison365, this was no display of racism.
In a phone message left for Madison365, Gust said the photo was “taken out of context” and “as innocent as the boys and girls going to the prom.” He said he simply told the boys to “wave goodbye, heading off to prom.”
Gust had also posted this explanation on his website, but apparently, people weren’t buying the non-outrageous reason and bombarded him with hate. He changed the content to a plea for sanity:
Updated page: due to malevolent behavior on the part of some in society; this page has been modified. It is too bad that there are those in society who can and do take the time to be jerks; knowingly and willingly to be jerks! The internet can be a wonderful tool but for some there is an overwhelming urge to destroy. The destruction may not be physical but instead, it can be bullying that is intellectual or emotional. To anyone that was hurt I sincerely apologize.
To those who have harmed them, we as society often ignore them I have chosen not to do that. YOU ARE JERKS! Grow up!
Despite this perfectly logical explanation, the school district has doubled down that they are investigating the students and considering legal action.
“The District is investigating at this time to determine who is all in the photo. The photo is not endorsed by nor reflective of the educational values and beliefs of the School District of Baraboo. The District will pursue any and all available and appropriate actions, including legal, to address,” said Superintendent Mueller.
Adding to the insanity, the Baraboo Police Department has said they are assisting the school in their investigation. Presumably, there is no real crime in this town and the cops literally have nothing better to do.
The ironic thing here is, if these students were to be expelled from school or even charged with a crime for expressing themselves, that’s exactly the kind of thing that would have happened in Nazi Germany. It’s not a coincidence that the people who are most outraged by fascism are the most fascist anti-free thought bullies among us.