After prior speculation, it has been confirmed that Caden Blum, the three-star Air Force tight end recruit, was not in Baraboo at the time that his classmates took part in a photo that appears to show the entire current male senior class offering a Nazi salute.
With Blum’s absence, that group was apparently the male senior class, minus one.
Blum’s father, Gordie Blum, told USA TODAY that his son was not at the junior prom last spring, where the photos were taken. He couldn’t be there because he was attending multiple football camps and touring universities throughout the weekend of the prom.
In particular, Blum was in the midst of a Tour de Ohio, with stops at Toledo, Ball State, Miami of Ohio and Bowling Green. At the time, he was still two months away from committing to Air Force, and multiple schools in the MAC had expressed interest in his commitment, leading to the family trip to Ohio.
For his part, the younger Blum was unequivocal in his stance about the photo and how it doesn’t represent him as a person or his hometown.
“This is a terrible time for Baraboo,” Gordie Blum wrote to USA TODAY in an email. “There are many good people in the town and are welcoming and inclusive, not what is represented by the photo.”
That’s surely true, though the photo itself has elicited striking, visceral responses from across the country. According to Blum’s other parent, the threats of violence have grown so significant that a number of students opted against attending school on Friday, instead focusing on staying safe at home.
One ugly incident does not deserve another. Hopefully the threats of violence and any others against Baraboo will disappear. Until then, it’s clear that the students who did take part in the now globally controversial photo have had plenty of time for soul searching.