The Cole County Commission has reconsidered its vote, and now the flags at county buildings have been lowered to half-mast to honor the victims of the shooting at an Orlando, Florida night club, Sunday morning.
In an earlier vote, Presiding Commissioner Sam Bushman (R) was the lone vote for lowering the flags. He said his two fellow commissioners, Jeff Hoelscher (R) and Kris Scheperle (R), said they felt great sympathy for the victims of that shooting, but didn’t think it warranted the lowering of flags.
“To me this is probably the biggest terrorist attack since the twin towers, so that’s what I’m going by,” said Bushman. “To me when you have 100 casualties that’s pretty significant, and I think it’s going to happen more.”
The shooting in Orlando left 49 victims and the shooter dead, and more than 50 people were hospitalized.
Bushman said this afternoon Commissioner Scheperle changed his vote, so flags will now be lowered at county buildings through Thursday.
Bushman says his fellow commissioners’ earlier decision was not based on the shooting having happened at an LGBT night club.
“They can be gay, they can be African-American, they can be Hispanic, they can be … that has nothing to do with it. My fellow commissioners are not bigots,” said Bushman.
When asked about the criteria for lowering flags in Cole County, he quoted county ordinance:
“If it’s the death of a president or former president, a member of the armed forces from Missouri, Pearl Harbor, May 15, September 11 – Patriot’s Day, and the flag shall only be lowered to half-staff on other occasions on a presidential or gubernatorial proclamation upon approval and commission of the county commission,” said Bushman.
Bushman said he’s not happy about the attention the issue brought to the county.
“I’m just a little disappointed,” he told Missourinet.
Commissioners Hoelscher and Scheperle have not replied to requests for comment.