There is a popular story on Politifact today about memes and internet fallacies regarding when and why President Obama has or has not ordered flags to be lowered to half staff. The meme they featured is marked with “Right Wing Rants & Raves” and a quick look at their facebook page shows that it is virtually a fact-free zone.
A cursory Google search of, say, “regulation to flag fly at half staff” (which takes literally 0.53 seconds) will turn up various results including the first one from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs which details that there are six such categories:
- On Memorial Day from sunrise until noon.
- For 30 days after the death of the President or a former President.
- For 10 days after the death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice, or the Speaker of the House.
- From the day of death until internment for an associate justice of the Supreme Court, a member of the Cabinet, a former vice president, the president pro tempore of the Senate, the majority leader of the Senate, the minority leader of the Senate, the majority leader of the House of Representatives, or the minority leader of the House of Representatives, or upon the death of the governor of a state, territory or possession.
- For the day and the day after the death of a United States senator, representative, territorial delegate, or the resident commissioner from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
- The president may order the flag to be flown at half-staff to mark the death of other officials, former officials, or foreign dignitaries. In addition to these occasions, the president may order half-staff display of the flag after other tragic events.
Governors may also choose to lower flags in their states, just like Chris Christie did in New Jersey when Whitney Houston passed in 2012. Once again, a cursory Google search could have saved these fact-free zones from further proving that they are simple-minded racists.
Among other things Politifact points out:
Ultimately, Obama decided to order flags at half-staff, though he waited five days after the July 16 attack. The flag will remain at half staff for five days, a day longer than similar shootings at the Washington Navy Yard and Fort Hood.
Experts agreed that while the delay was longer than usual, duration is often a more potent symbolic gesture of mourning.
They also provided a breakdown of proclamations issued by President Obama, from most recent to present:
|Date of incident||Date of proclamation||Incident||Duration of flag at half-staff|
|Sept. 16, 2013||same day||Washington Navy Yard shooting||4 days|
|April 17, 2013||7 days later||Explosion in West, Texas||1 day|
|April 15, 2013||1 day later||Boston Marathon bombing||5 days|
|Dec. 14, 2012||1 day later||Newtown, Conn., shooting||4 days|
|Sept. 12, 2012||1 day later||U.S. Embassy bombing in Benghazi, Libya||4 days|
|Aug. 6, 2012||1 day later||Oak Creek, Wis., shootings||4 days|
|July 20, 2012||same day||Aurora, Colo.. shooting||5 days|
|Jan. 9, 2011||1 day later||Tucson, Ariz., shooting||5 days|
|Nov. 6, 2009||1 day later||Fort Hood shooting||4 days|
Another interesting tidbit that the fact-free RWNJs ignore is pointed out by Wes Williams over at Addicting Info: These servicemen were killed in the line of duty. If we lowered the flag every time a service member were killed in the line of duty — even if it were for only one day — our flags would have been flying at half staff for almost all of the last 14 years.
Again, Google which is readily and equally available to just about every human on the planet, should be consulted before you decide to summarily make an ass out of yourself on the internet. And even if you remove your completely fact free meme from your Facebook page or Twitter feed, the internet never forgets.
Featured image is a screen capture from actual Google search.