Other Talk "Otterville" plus Religion/Politics

Lots of flags at half mast today.. why?

Old 01-03-05, 05:01 PM
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Lots of flags at half mast today.. why?

Noticed a lot of flags were at half mast today. Is it because of the tsunami that occured? If so, is that really an appropiate half mast scenairo? I remember this was discussed a bit after 9/11 and when Reagan died.
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Old 01-03-05, 05:04 PM
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Ever since Princess Diana died, everyone drops the flag as often as possible.

Whenever the media has one of those days where they put some tragedy on 24/7.
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Old 01-03-05, 05:04 PM
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I don't know about here in the US, but in Sweden flags are at half-mast because over 3,000 Swedes are missing due to the Tsunami in Asia.
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Old 01-03-05, 05:04 PM
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http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp...9480&sec=world

US flag to fly at half-mast for five days

CRAWFORD (Texas): President George W. Bush on Saturday ordered the US flag to be flown at half-staff for five days to honour victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami as a White House delegation prepared to visit devastated areas.*
A day after he raised the US tsunami aid contribution ten-fold to US$350mil (RM1.3bil) amid pressure from critics, Bush used his weekly radio address to emphasise the need for private relief donations to a region where giant waves killed nearly 127,000 people and left five million homeless.
*

Last edited by marty888; 01-03-05 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 01-03-05, 05:10 PM
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Seems appropriate to me. In fact, I'll go a step further. I know there are silly rules about when a flag should be flown at half mast and I know how much reverence there is about the death of a President. However, let's face it. The man hadn't been lucid in years and 140,000 people just died.

I am a big believer in the United States maintaining autonomy within the world community, in following its own course without too much meddling from the United Nations, etc. That being said, after a tragedy of the scope of what just happened in Asia, national pride and international borders cease to matter for a time. This was a horrific blow to humanity, of which we are all a part. Flying the flag at half mast was a hundred times more appropriate after the tsunami than when Reagan finally died.
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Old 01-03-05, 05:19 PM
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I'm trying to grasp 150,000 deaths... what is that, like, two football stadium-fulls? I can't even imagine...
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Old 01-03-05, 05:29 PM
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Yep the flags should be lowered
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Old 01-03-05, 05:31 PM
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I am a big believer in the United States maintaining autonomy within the world community, in following its own course without too much meddling from the United Nations, etc. That being said, after a tragedy of the scope of what just happened in Asia, national pride and international borders cease to matter for a time. This was a horrific blow to humanity, of which we are all a part. Flying the flag at half mast was a hundred times more appropriate after the tsunami than when Reagan finally died.
Exactly.

Though some would argue that flying the flag at half mass is appropriate for national tragedy. While there may be a humanity tragedy that is greater, the flag lowering is not meant for it. It's like a military funeral... it's no more special than a regular funeral, but it's one reserved for military.
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Old 01-03-05, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by JustinS
Seems appropriate to me. In fact, I'll go a step further. I know there are silly rules about when a flag should be flown at half mast and I know how much reverence there is about the death of a President. However, let's face it. The man hadn't been lucid in years and 140,000 people just died.

I am a big believer in the United States maintaining autonomy within the world community, in following its own course without too much meddling from the United Nations, etc. That being said, after a tragedy of the scope of what just happened in Asia, national pride and international borders cease to matter for a time. This was a horrific blow to humanity, of which we are all a part. Flying the flag at half mast was a hundred times more appropriate after the tsunami than when Reagan finally died.
When is the appropriate number? 1000? 100,000? 1,000,000? Massacres occur in Africa on a monthly basis, and I'm safe in assuming there will never be a half-staff for them. Why is that. Is it because they are not the current ethnic race that is to be empathized for due to political correctness?

As to Reagan, he was OUR President. Not Indonesia's, not Sri Lanka's, not Thailand's, but our's. He deserved to have the flag lowered, regardless of his condition.

I just think it's an unwise gesture, when there are many other deaths worldwide.
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Old 01-03-05, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
When is the appropriate number? 1000? 100,000? 1,000,000?
Like pornography, I know it when I see it. I think 140,000 in one afternoon qualifies.

Massacres occur in Africa on a monthly basis, and I'm safe in assuming there will never be a half-staff for them. Why is that.
Because virtually no one in our country gives a shit and they get scant media coverage? I don't equate this collective shortcoming on our part with an unworthiness to honor such a tragedy, do you?

Tragedies even in the ballpark of this magnitude hardly occur every month in Africa. Would you have been opposed to lowering the flag to half mast to honor the one million dead in Rwanda in mid-1994?

As to Reagan, he was OUR President. Not Indonesia's, not Sri Lanka's, not Thailand's, but our's. He deserved to have the flag lowered, regardless of his condition.
I didn't saw his death was unworthy of the honor. I said it was not nearly as worthy as the recent tragedy in the Indian Ocean. I also never suggested that we should lower our flag for the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. One has got nothing to do with the other.
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Old 01-03-05, 07:26 PM
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So, if a tragedy of 10,000 people die in an incident outside of the US, should the US lower its flag again? If not, are we saying that 140,000 people are more important than 10,000?
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Old 01-03-05, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by JustinS
This was a horrific blow to humanity, of which we are all a part. Flying the flag at half mast was one million times more appropriate after the tsunami than naming September 11th "Patriots Day".
fixed.
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Old 01-03-05, 07:35 PM
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I understand what has happpened and have donated...but I do not agree.
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Old 01-03-05, 08:01 PM
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just curious (not trying to make a point).. were flags lowered for the following events?

-columbine
- deaths of 1st ladies and vice presidents
- challenger explosion
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Old 01-03-05, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
So, if a tragedy of 10,000 people die in an incident outside of the US, should the US lower its flag again? If not, are we saying that 140,000 people are more important than 10,000?
140,000 is a much bigger tragedy than 10,000, all other factors being equal. If you want to translate that into "important", be my guest.
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Old 01-03-05, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by j123vt_99
just curious (not trying to make a point).. were flags lowered for the following events?

-columbine
- deaths of 1st ladies and vice presidents
- challenger explosion
- Yes
- No, Yes
- Yes
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Old 01-03-05, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
So, if a tragedy of 10,000 people die in an incident outside of the US, should the US lower its flag again? If not, are we saying that 140,000 people are more important than 10,000?

The entire "war on terror" is fought to save a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of people. We could save a huge percentage of more people by applying 5% of that focus to traffic laws and regulations. Shoot, a PSA on adoption would save more. I think it is glaringly obvious that surface importance is assigned to events that appear 'horrific' even if its all the same to the dead guy. Simple numbers are an easy way to pump up the horrific value.
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Old 01-03-05, 09:12 PM
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I realllly really, really don't like this business of comparing tsunamis to terrorist attacks.

What's the worse tragedy? 150,000 dead from natural catastrophe without malignity, or 3000 murdered in cold blood? How does one actually come to make such a comparison, or even attempt to?

There is no 'worse' in simple terms. One must qualify the comparison, and then it becomes something other than a comparison by the very nature of qualifying it.

9/11 was a horrible mass murder.
Boxing Day 04 is a horrible natural disaster.

It simply doesn't fucking compare. Sorry for the cliche, but it is apples and oranges.

Last edited by Mutley Hyde; 01-03-05 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 01-03-05, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Mutley Hyde
What's the worse tragedy? 150,000 dead from natural catastrophe without malignity, or 3000 murdered in cold blood? How does one actually come to make such a comparison, or even attempt to?
The 150,000, of course.

What's worse, 3000 murdered in cold blood or 1 million murdered in cold blood?
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Old 01-03-05, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Verbal Gorilla
The entire "war on terror" is fought to save a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of people. We could save a huge percentage of more people by applying 5% of that focus to traffic laws and regulations.
Or the UN could spend about $500,000 a year on oral rehydration salts and eliminate most of the 1.8 million deaths per year (the vast majority of them children) from diarrhea.
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Old 01-03-05, 09:31 PM
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I realize all those dead people aren't American, so they don't matter and aren't worthy of official mourning, but I'll point out that Colin Powell says up to 5,000 Americans are unaccounted for in this disaster. That's not to say they're all dead, but I would guess at least a few are. Maybe we can lower the flag for them?
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Old 01-03-05, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Verbal Gorilla
The entire "war on terror" is fought to save a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of people. We could save a huge percentage of more people by applying 5% of that focus to traffic laws and regulations. Shoot, a PSA on adoption would save more. I think it is glaringly obvious that surface importance is assigned to events that appear 'horrific' even if its all the same to the dead guy. Simple numbers are an easy way to pump up the horrific value.
Until a nuclear device is detonated in Manhattan.
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Old 01-03-05, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by JustinS
The 150,000, of course.

What's worse, 3000 murdered in cold blood or 1 million murdered in cold blood?
I still don't think you can compare. Sure, if your criteria is simply loss of life alone, then the tsunami wins. Happy?

As for the topic of the thread, and maybe you read into my post that I thought otherwise, I see nothing wrong with the lowering of our flags for this. As mentioned, yes, there are Americans unaccounted for, and dead Americans accounted for, however, even beyond that the loss of life in general is staggering, and I have no trouble recognizing that in such a capacity.

Last edited by Mutley Hyde; 01-03-05 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 01-03-05, 10:28 PM
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The President is the only one who is supposed to order flags down...anyone have a site for when and how many times this has been done. Also any flag etiquette pages could help. (Like how you are supposed to raise the flag to full mast and then lower to half mast.)....

As far as America goes...I think it has to be something that changes things on our shores....these tragedies have affected the world...no reason to complain about what should be done, just be respectful and pray for the best.
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Old 01-05-05, 12:23 PM
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From US Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Section 175(m):
By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law. In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the United States, the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff. The flag shall be flown at half-staff thirty days from the death of the President or a former President; ten days from the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives; from the day of death until interment of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory, or possession; and on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress.
And Section 178:
Any rule or custom pertaining to the display of the flag of the United States of America, set forth herein, may be altered, modified, or repealed, or additional rules with respect thereto may be prescribed, by the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, whenever he deems it to be appropriate or desirable; and any such alteration or additional rule shall be set forth in a proclamation.
Link: http://www.usflag.org/us.code36.html

My comments:

Whether it's appropriate to display the flag at half-mast for the tsunami victims or not is a moot point. It is within the President's power to have ordered this be done, and it's been done. This power, as with all other powers vested in any body of our government, descends to them from the people via the Constitution. We the people have within us the right to change the Constitution whenever we see fit. If you don't like it, talk to your Congressman and begin the process of changing the law.
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