WASHINGTON — Officials in an Alabama county refused to lower flags to half-staff to honor the victims of the Orlando mass shooting this week even after President Barack Obama and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley ordered flags to be lowered.
Citing the U.S. Flag Code, Baldwin County Commissioner Tucker Dorsey told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “OutFront” that while he is “certainly heartbroken in the face of tragedy,” the code states that the flag should only be lowered “for instances where there are the passing of individuals who have given significant distinguished service to our country.”
Dorsey added that the code states that the flag is to be lowered on Memorial Day and to commemorate the deaths of government officials.
In a Facebook post published Tuesday, Dorsey wrote that Baldwin County also didn’t lower the flags after the Paris terror attacks in November and the shooting in San Bernardino, California, in December by a married couple who pledged allegiance to ISIS.
“I look at the terrorist events and I think about our flag and about how it identifies and characterizes the mood of the country,” Dorsey said. “When I think about, for instance, 9/11, I kind of picture the three firemen raising the flag in the rubble the next day after the event. That’s really how I feel about it.”
When Burnett asked whether Dorsey believed the flag should be flown “high in the face of terror in order to fight back,” he responded, “That’s exactly my heart on the issue.”
“I’m certainly broken-hearted, my family is broken up about it,” Dorsey added. “I’m also mad. I’m tired of us being attacked by extremists of certainly different kinds.”
Baldwin County is located along the Mobile Bay and Gulf of Mexico shores and includes the popular tourist destination Orange Beach.
Obama ordered the flags to be flown at half-staff Sunday following the mass shooting at Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday that left 49 dead and 53 injured.
“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 told the New York Daily News.
The Orlando tragedy is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.