I am on my village's city council. The council when they appointed me to the board on December 3 also made me the person responsible for lowering the village's flags to half-mast when required (by law, or proclamation). I am the disabled vet here, so it seemed reasonable to the village to give me that particular collateral duty.
So December 7, Pearl Harbor Rememberance Day, I was out in the cold.
But yesterday, when an E-mail came across my computer from a flag company noting the Presidential proclamation to lower the flag to half-staff to honour the school children and adults gunned down in a horrific orgy of violence, I was unaware of what'd happend.
Off to the BBC, where live coverage of the events was being posted. Wonderful, audio and video in real time of the aftermath of a school shooting.
So out the door, and the 70 yard walk to the flag in the park across the corner from my house. Bring myself to attention, release the halyard from the cleat.
This is something you are supposed to do for such days as Memorial Day. There should never be a reason to have to do it for unarmed defenseless children.
Then the slow, deliberate drawing down of the flag to half-mast. Rewind the halyard on the cleat. Back two places, render a military hand salute (as the law allows veterans to do now in honour of the flag, or in this case its lowering and who it represents).
There should not be a need for me to lower the flag for such a senseless act. No, not that I am opposed to lowering the flag, but that the act should not be necessary.
There are fifteen murders by gun every day in this country, but those people are not so honoured.
With a heavy heart, I returned home. There should not be a need for this. The politcos and the NRA will say "now is not the time to discuss this." But if not now, when?
When will we address this issue?
I too own a gun. I am not a "take away all the guns" sort. But I have to wonder, when we hold an old document from an ancient time as holy and unchanging (think the Bible or the Second Amendment of the Constitution), when does this become a religious view and not a putative right?
The NRA conveniently leaves out the first part of the Second Amendment when quoting it. They always quote it as "The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The same Texas sharpshooter fallacy (cherry-picking) the religious use.
Go back and look up the Second Amendment for yourself, and read the real text. On a law site, not the NRA. Then ask yourself if we really have the gun-rights that the Founders of the nation actually envisioned.
The first school massacre was July 26, 1764. As long as we continue to say "now is not the time for that discussion" I guarantee there will be another.
If you fly a flag from an angle bracket at your home that cannot be lowered, the American Legion recommends a black ribbon equal in width to one bar and length to the flag be affixed to the peak of the staff.
The proclamation ends sundown Tuesday. (Weekend days do not count on proclamations of this sort.)
I don't want to make that walk again. But I know I will.