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New Jersey shouldn't have flown flags at half staff for Whitney Houston

February 18, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
I'm very sorry that Whitney Houston died at the far too young age of 48, but it still bothers me that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie ordered flags be flown at half staff across the state in her honor during the funeral. Veterans groups in New Jersey have objected and I don't blame them. Ordinarily, I think a flag at half staff is merited for a fallen soldier or statesman or law enforcement officer. It isn't a public honor due to a celebrity.

Houston was a well-known singer and occasional actress who had a long-standing drug addiction problem. Her official cause of death is awaiting toxicology results, which might not come in for a few weeks, but it seems likely that her death was due directly or indirectly to that long standing addiction. Rumor has it that she squandered much of her fortune on that addiction.

I can pity her for those problems and I have enormous sympathy for Houston's aged mother and particularly for her devastated and grief-stricken teenage daughter, who collapsed following her mother's death and had to be hospitalized twice to be treated for stress and anxiety the day after Houston was found dead. Unfortunately, it was probably a death that could have been avoided and Houston might still be there with her family had she not fallen prey to the disease of addiction.

I also wouldn't want to pay undue public honor to Houston and send the wrong kind of message to impressionable young people who might be inclined to glamorize that death. I'm afraid that might be what Christie's action will do.


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