Friday, July 27, 2012

Cheapening honor?

My very long break from blogging has been caused by our dear refurbished computer finally biting the dust.  I hope that the month break from easily accessed Internet has broken my daily Facebook and BabyCenter habit.  You'd think my house would be spotless now... not so much!  I did manage to read a lot, and given that I'm about to welcome child #2 in less than 7 weeks, I doubt that will be the case for quite a while!

This topic is one that I'm somewhat hesitant to publicly write about.  I don't want to offend, nor do I want to land on a list somewhere.  But I feel I owe it to others to at least voice my opinion. 

I don't think the flag should be flying at half mast right now.

*ducks head to avoid flying rotten tomatoes*

Is it safe to come out now? 

Okay, here are my thoughts behind that shocking statement. 

The point of half-mast, or half-staff, is to symbolize a nation in mourning, or to show respect.  For example, flags are to be flown half mast on Memorial day.  That is to show respect, and in a way, mourning, for the soldiers that have died fighting for our country.  They are to be flown half mast for a long period of time after the President or Vice-President has died, and for shorter periods of time after a member of Congress, state governor, or Supreme Court Justice dies.

The problem comes when we fly flags half-mast because of a presidential proclamation.  I'm not saying the President shouldn't have this right, not at all.  But it then becomes more personal as to what we honor and mourn.  Here is my question:  how do we decide what is worthy of national mourning?  And by default, what is not worthy?

My concern is this: we are showing that we are mourning the death of a number of people in a movie theater.  BUT:  How many active military have died in the last year?  I don't know the answer.  But we haven't mourned them, except by lumping them together on Memorial Day.   Where do we draw the line?  So a shooting is worthy of mourning, according to the current President.  All right... but how many have to die before it becomes worthy of national attention?  5?  10?  So if 3 people are killed before a concealed carry permit holder pulls his/her gun and shoots the shooter, that's not worthy of being mourned, but if 19 people are killed because concealed carry is banned in that place of business, we mourn those people?  (I'm not saying there's been 3 people killed and then the shooter stopped, I'm just throwing out random examples of what could be.)  Is it not the number of people dead but what they're doing?

I feel we are cheapening the half-mast symbol.  Yes, it is sad that all those people were killed.  But there are people shot every day!  The city of Chicago alone could cause us to fly half-mast the entire year!  I don't believe that people participating in a recreational activity have more right to be mourned than the soldiers killed in a training flight, training so that they can protect our country.   We should be sad, we should learn from this (private businesses that ban concealed carry are leaving the door wide open for mass shootings), but we should not cheapen the deaths of others who are worthy of national mourning.     

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