A staggering 34 correctional officer trainees were photographed throwing up a disturbingly familiar hand gesture: the Nazi salute.
Perhaps they thought the photo wouldn’t be a big deal… but it is. And as the story made national news, the consequences hit them hard.
Governor Jim Justice fired them all and fired their instructors, too.
The governor was clear that he condemns the photo “in the strongest possible terms,” but it’s important to delve deeply here, because this is far bigger than a bad white supremacist joke.
The Guardian reports that an investigation revealed these cadets “regularly gave the Nazi salute ‘as a sign of respect’ for their instructor in the weeks prior to the release of the photo.”
To show their leader appreciation, they used a universal symbol of hate - sound familiar?
The "HAIL BYRD!" written above their saluting hands in the photo references one of the training instructors, while the salute pays homage to a Nazi Germany under the rule of Adolf Hitler, whom many white supremacists idolize to this day, wholly identifying with his racist zealotry.
There are plenty more Nazis working in law enforcement and corrections, according to federal data.
If there’s any doubt, take this story as one example of how even TEACHERS are likely encouraging the spread of white supremacist values among their ranks.
No wonder the system targets Black people.