Flag honor is reserved for specific occasions
Maybe I'm just a little too darned sensitive, or perhaps I may not be sensitive enough, but I believe that the flying of the flag at half-staff (or half-mast if you're a Marine or sailor) has been allowed to get out of hand and worse yet has become a direct violation of the United States Flag Code.
With all due respect to those moviegoers who lost their lives in Aurora, Colo., I think President Obama issued the half-staff order from his heart, not his brain.
Let me quote directly from the U.S. Flag Code Section 175 Paragraph (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.”
Nowhere in the code does it say that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for civilians who may become victims of an act of violence or for rock stars or sports heroes. The honor of flying a flag at half-staff is indeed just that and it is clearly outlined in the United States Flag Code.
Remember that line in the Jaycees Creed I've often cited: “Government should be of laws rather than of men.”
With that being said, I ask everyone to pray for the victims of the Aurora tragedy and I ask that God be with their families.