Category Archives: gun control

Ode to Orange

California Poppies


California Poppies

Chromatics, or colorimetry, is the science of color. This is not about that. Although to the extent that chromatics includes the perception of color, I guess it is, as color can affect both our moods and behavior. My relationship with the color orange goes back a ways. It wasn’t always friendly. It was, in fact, uneasy. Those were the years when if I had to name my least favorite color, hands down, it would have been orange.

I considered orange too assertive. I thought it attention-grabbing. Well sometimes that is just what is needed, and this is such a moment.

The US is the most heavily armed country in the world with the highest murder rate of any developed nation. Since 2021, guns have been the leading cause of death among our 1-19 year-olds. As I write, March for Our Lives rallies are occurring across the nation to advance gun control.

“We don’t have to live like this!” cried Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser at the largest rally of them all.

#WearOrange, how it began

One week, fifteen year old Hadiya Pendleton had the privilege of performing as a majorette in a band at President Obama’s second inauguration in Washington DC, 2013. The following week, back in Chicago, she was fatally shot on the playground of her school. To commemorate her, classmates at King College Prep High School started Project Orange Tree and began wearing orange shirts. Their actions helped to create National Gun Violence Day, and the color orange was championed as well by Everytown for Gun Safety. 

Orange demands to be heard and seen and offers a clear emergency and “don’t shoot!” message. Orange is for caution signs and cones, and orange for the vests worn by hunters in the woods to keep themselves from being shot by other hunters. 

Before #WearOrange, I worked on embracing the color. Remember I didn’t care for the color orange. I did it with plants in pots upon a deck. Plants were my color palette. I potted orange dahlia, lantana, viola and zinnia. I found that orange worked well with purples, and planted Salvia Maynight, a dark violet purple bloom. The greens grew in interest against the oranges, everything from emeralds to chartreuse and the deepest of greens. Then at my nursery I stumbled upon Nonstop Mocca Deep Orange Begonia with leaves so bronzed, they look black. It worked. I submerged myself in the color orange and I fell in love.

How had I misread orange so horribly? Today, in light of this crucial movement, I could paint the town orange. 


Filed under gun control, gun laws, orange

The Long March

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”  Mahatma Ghandi

I can’t believe that we are here. That it has come to this. My head still pounds from the chanting: “Olympia, hear our cry, no more children need to die! Olympia, hear our cry, no more children need to die!….” 

We were 1,500 protestors strong, standing on the grassy Seattle Center Mural Amphitheatre at the base of The Space Needle. We had walked up 4th Avenue from downtown escorted by a police motorcade. A cold snap gripped the region, but for once it wasn’t raining. Gloved hands held signs, gripped coffee cups, and some held the hand of a child along for the march.

A small boy’s handmade sign in the crowd read, “Don’t Sell Guns to Bad Guys.”

The Stand Up Washington March and Rally for Gun Control on January 13th was an event for recognizing that we had reached a tipping point. For turning grief and anger into action.

It was the day before the opening of the 2013 Legislative session, and civic, religious and education leaders assembled to show support for sensible gun legislation. Having drafted the bill to ban assault weapons, State Sen. Ed Murray assured us, “We are going to see movement in Olympia.”

Music threaded throughout the rally, all the old familiar songs: “We Shall Overcome” and “Down By the Riverside” sung by the Seattle Peace Chorus. How many times? I thought. How many times?

Mayor Mike McGinn took the podium. The Space Needle loomed large behind him and a trace of blue in the marbled sky.

“This is the spot of The World’s Fair fifty years ago, where we dreamed of the place where we would want to be one day,” he said. “And once again, today, we are dreaming of the place where we want us to be fifty years from now.”

That’s how it goes, I thought. Inching on, inching on….

How did we get here?

I feel I’ve been here before. Our system is broken and we are shattered.

Longtime gun control advocate Ralph Fascitelli of Washington Cease Fire reminded us that NRA members comprise only 1% of the population in the U.S. Similarly, NYC Mayor Bloomberg insists that “The NRA’s power is more myth than reality.”

Many of us didn’t see this one coming, this war with ourselves.

And yet, we did it before and we will do it again. Didn’t we break the back of segregation, end the war in Vietnam, obtain women’s rights, and most recently, marriage equality in our state?

Easy to feel fellowship at a rally. It really wasn’t until the event was over and we all fanned out in various directions throughout the city, that I fully appreciated our shared community, our humanity. Could it be that we, primarily, are it?

While walking away with volunteers in white Cease Fire shirts, Grandmothers Against Gun Violence, the handsome man in the royal blue turban from SIKHS United Against Gun Violence, various Veterans for Peace, and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship members who squeezed into a small blue sedan, I thought, this is my city, this is my country.


Filed under gun control

Days That Never Go Away

For days now I have had an unshakeable identity I hadn’t felt for a long time, and that is that I am a Connecticut girl born and bred. However much I ventured off and adopted other regions, it all came back to Connecticut for me this week with the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I think everyone felt this way. We all became Connecticut citizens at that moment.

I thought I could see my old neighborhood in the images. It looked familiar enough, all the parents and children, houses and trees. I saw my bucolic childhood. A time when no one locked doors. When no one other than hunters owned guns, and they took them away to wherever it was they went to hunt. While we were growing up the only guns we saw were in television shows, cop dramas and westerns, Dragnet and 77 Sunset Strip, Rawhide and Bonanza. In other words, when you saw a gun, you knew it was a toy.

And that is where I reached the end of the road in resemblance. No home then would have possessed assault weapons as this one did in Newtown, Connecticut. The Right to Bear Arms has become unbearable. Our children deserve the right to be safe. The British aren’t coming, and hunters can hunt in designated reserves where their arms are checked in, just as we leave our boats in marinas.

Gun control has long been an issue in my house. Twenty years ago when I was despairing over all the guns that were already out there, even if we could stop the sales tomorrow, my seven year old at the time said, “That’s easy, mom. They just have to stop making bullets.”

I knew she was right; if we wrap our heads around it, we can do anything. Now a woman of twenty-seven, nothing has happened in our nation in this regard. Nothing with the exception of more casualties. But just this week in the intro to her blog she wrote, “It seems like there is enough momentum to create some real change in the coming years.”(

Let’s topple the gun lobbyists who have held this country hostage for far too long. Let’s put our technology to the task. And let’s see that our country runs more like a National Park, realizing that we are at once both the caretakers and the precious wildlife.


Filed under assault weapons, childhood, gun control, gun lobbyists