Should Confederate flag fly near SC state capitol? - CBS46 News

Should Confederate flag fly near SC state capitol?

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBIA, SC (CBS46) -

As the state mourns the loss of the nine people gunned down inside a Charleston church, flags are being flown at half-staff. All of them except for the Confederate flag.

Some call it a symbol of hate and oppression. To others, it's a symbol of free speech and heritage.

But many are saying there is a direct link to the gunman that killed those 9 people at Emanuel A.M.E. church in Charleston.

A photo of 21 year old Dylann Roof adds more heat to a controversy that's divided the country for decades.

In the photo, Roof is see posing in front of a car with a South Carolina license plate depicting the Confederate flag.

The American flag and South Carolina's Palmetto flag fly at half staff on top of the state house but a nearby Confederate flag on a Confederate monument flies high.

"Some will assert the Confederate flag is merely a symbol of years gone by. A symbol of heritage and not hate," says NAACP President Cornell William Brooks. "But we see that symbol lifted up as an emblem of hate, as a tool of hate, as an inspiration for hate, as an inspiration for violence. That symbol has to come down. That symbol must be removed from the state capitol."

But U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina says the flag is just a symbol and not the cause of Wednesday's deadly attack.

"We're not going to give this guy an excuse about a book he might have read, or a movie he watched, or a song he listened to, or a symbol out anywhere," says Graham. "It's him. It's not the book. It's not the movie. It's not the flag. It's him."

But the Daily Show's Jon Stewart painted a critical portrait of confederate images across the state.

"The Confederate flag flies over South Carolina and the roads are named after Confederate generals, and the white guy is the one who feels like this country has been taken from him," said Stewart.

President Obama maintained his stance on the Confederate flag controversy, saying it belongs in a museum.

And on social media, the hashtag #TakeItDown was trending on Twitter, calling for the removal of the Confederate flag.

Copyright 2015 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.