Five days after a Muslim extremist murdered five American military members in Chattanooga, Tennessee, President Barack Obama has finally given in and ordered flags at the White House to be flown at half-staff. Obama has ordered the flags to remain at half-staff until the end of the day on July 25. The move comes after Republican lawmakers, presidential candidates, and most of the country expressed outrage that Obama has done little to show respect to the victims of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
On Thursday, July 16, Mohammad Abdulazeez killed four marines and a sailor at a Navy operations center, after shooting up a military recruitment office in a local strip mall. Abdulazeez was later killed in a shootout with police.
Even though it became clear quite quickly that the murders were a domestic terrorist attack by a Muslim extremist, President Obama refused to heed calls from Republican lawmakers to lower the flags at the White House to half-staff. Obama had previously lowered the flags during previous mass shootings, including Virginia Tech, the Colorado theater tragedy, and the Sandy Hook shooting. In the case of Sandy Hook, Obama lowered the flags mere hours after the shooting. The President has also used the White House to acknowledge significant events, including lighting up the presidential residence in rainbow colors the day the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.
In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Tuesday morning, President Obama addressed the attack, saying to those who support such actions (although he never mentioned terrorists or Muslim extremists): “You cannot divide Americans. You can never change our way of life.”
The President, however, seems to be doing a good job of that on his own.