Don’t jump to conclusion in Baraboo -- Wayne Shockley

November 25, 2018

Back in the 1950s, people were claiming to see communists almost everywhere. And there were a few. But the hysteria was way out of line.

Today the same mentality is leading many to assume that a bunch of high school boys were giving a Nazi salute in a photograph. But that salute is very similar to a high-five and to a plain old wave. So the critics need to calm done and apply three principles:

Don’t jump to conclusions. There are alternative explanations.Give people the benefit of the doubt. The photograph does show a lot of confusion among the boys.Images aren’t always reality. If the boys did not intend to do a Nazi salute, then there was no Nazi salute.

The media frenzy has resulted in a poor job of reporting. The obvious thing for reporters to do is to interview the boys involved and ask them what they thought they were doing. I have seen only one instance of that, and the young man involved was clearly puzzled about the reaction.

Critics are seeing Nazis in photographs the same way people used to see communists under the bed. Can we please get on to real problems?

Wayne Shockley, Brooklyn

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