Baldwin County Commissioner Tucker Dorsey’s decision not to order flags lowered to half staff in the wake of Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando, Fla. has drawn criticism in national media, including a recent article posted on CNN’s website.
Traditionally, Dorsey has cited the United States flag code as his reason for not lowering flags on county buildings after terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif. and now in Orlando.
The flag code stipulates that flags should only be lowered on Memorial Day and in the event of the death of a government official. This week, both President Barack Obama and Gov. Robert Bentley issued orders that United States flags at both federal and state buildings be lowered.
Dorsey, the Baldwin County Commission president, issued a statement on his Facebook page, saying “I realize that the President and Governor may make the order, but I believe and interpret their order inconsistent with the adopted flag code.”
Dorsey has been in Montgomery this week for meetings related to the I-10 bridge project, Zika virus, snapper fishing regulations and other issues.
Dorsey’s statement is reprinted in full here:
“Once again I have to copy this post regarding lowering the flags because another follower of Islam decided to shoot up a bunch of innocents in a place where they didn’t have the chance to defend themselves or flee. When are we going to acknowledge the truth? When will we stop the PC and identify the enemy?
“I have been asked why the County Commission has not lowered its flags in respect for the victims of both the Paris and San Bernardino terrorist events (and now Orlando). The Chairman of the Baldwin County Commission has the privilege of setting the flags at half-staff, and I, serving as chairman, have deliberately chosen not to lower our flags. Please allow me to share those reasons.
“First and foremost, my soul aches for the families of the innocents killed, and my family prays for them and the world. Evil exists in the world, and it seems to be expanding at a rapid rate. It is evil, not guns, killing innocents, but that is a different essay.
“Lowering the flags to half-staff after a mass shooting or terrorist event is not a valid circumstance or memorial as specified in the U.S. flag code (usflag.org), Section 175, paragraph (m). I realize that the President and Governor may make the order, but I believe and interpret their order inconsistent with the adopted flag code.
“Secondly and principally, our flag code specifies that ‘no other flag shall be above the flag of the United States’, and I characterize that as US citizens holding our head up with courage above all others. When the flag is at half-staff, our country’s head is figuratively held low, and quite frankly, I am not willing to hang my head down because of a terrorist attack against our people and our allies. I am not willing to hang my head down because evil shoots up a church, school, or movie theater. We need more than a gesture as a response. I want us, as Americans, to stand tall, courageously, and fight back against the forces of evil, and let’s fight like we intend to win.
“Moving forward, please join me in regular prayer for peace, for our military, law enforcement, and first responders along with their families.”
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