Mississippi state flag causes new debate after South Carolina shootings

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SOUTHAVEN, Miss-- Some people said the state flag was a symbol of racism and hatred.

At least, that's what Pamela Brown said she sees when she looks at it.

"It's not that we're not honoring  (confederate) soldiers who died, but it keeps the mindset going. You get what I'm saying? It keeps the Confederate mindset going having the flag up. If it comes down, it's out of sight, out of mind, " Brown said

But the majority of Mississippi voters said the controversial flag is a piece of history and one worth preserving.

Republican State Representative Gene Alday represents District 25 in Desoto County.

He said he understood both arguments.

"I don't see that it really hurt anything, but it has offended some people now. I am sure the discussion will come up because we hate all the stuff is happening around the country. It's heart wrenching and hurts your feelings just to think about it, " Alday said.

The flag flap took on new meaning after images surfaced online of South Carolina white supremacist and admitted church shooter Dylan Roof holding a confederate flag and a gun and telling police he wanted to start a "race war".

Rachel Booth said it was time for a change.

"We are all the same no matter what color or race. We have to keep our faith in God in order for us to move forward instead of living in the past," Booth said.

Fourteen years ago, Mississippi voters overwhelmingly decided to keep their flag as it is.

"I know the governor loves the flag, but I have to vote for what the people want," Alday said.

Supporters claimed it's a crucial part of the state's heritage while others said it's a painful reminder of the state's past that must be removed.

"Mississippi, we are past that. We are over it. We're over it," Brown said.

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