Alabama county won’t lower flags for Orlando victims

BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (CBS News) – Despite an order from President Obama and Gov. Robert Bentley, one Alabama county has decided not to lower its flags to half-staff in honor of the 49 people killed in the Orlando nightclub massacre.

Tucker Dorsey, chairman of the Baldwin County Commission, said he had the right to make the decision, according to the U.S. Flag Code.

“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,” Dorsey began a Facebook post explaining the decision. “When are we going to acknowledge the truth? When will we stop the PC and identify the enemy?”

Dorsey said flags in Baldwin County weren’t lowered after the Paris attacks in November or December’s mass shooting in San Bernardino. He said according to the Flag Code, “Lowering the flags to half-staff after mass shooting or terrorist event is not a valid circumstance or memorial.”

“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 wrote.

Orlando Survivor“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,” Dorsey said. “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.”

A county in central Missouri initially made a similar decision, but lowered its flags Tuesday. CBS affiliate KRGC reported commissioners in Cole County disagreed about the observance, with two commissioners saying lowering the flags too frequently would diminish the gesture.

“Where do you draw the line: one, 10, 49 in this case? I think one life individually, even in a smaller group, we should mourn then,” Eastern District Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher told KRGC. “There’s people getting murdered every day, hate crimes whatever, so we should leave the flag at half-staff every day? I mean it’s losing its value of being half-mast.”

Hoelscher remained firm on his stance, but was out-voted when Western District Commissioner Kris Scheperle changed his mind.

*Photo via CBS News

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