Category Archives: gun laws

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

We Are Trayvon Martin

Many of us will never know what it would be like to be watched walking into a store, watched as we walk around the store, or watched as we walk away from the store. It can’t be easy being young, male, and black.

Seventeen year old Trayvon Martin was unarmed. Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman was carrying a gun, and that is what shot Trayvon.

Since then on any walk in my neighborhood, I have thought that if I were black, the key chain or cell phone in my hand might easily be misconstrued for a handgun. Especially on a rainy night. And especially if that is what you are looking for, or what you expect of me. We’re talking racial profiling.

Impressive, the solidarity for Trayvon Martin we are seeing, not only at the televised marches across the country, but on local school yards, at bus stops, and downtown in the hours after school. All the young, black and white, are donning the hoods on their sweatshirts. Now, hooded sweatshirts are as ubiquitous and American as blue jeans and baseball caps, and I had no idea until this incident, that many black parents have pleaded with their sons for some time to please, not pull up the hood. But of course they do, just as parochial school girls like to roll up their plaid skirts at the waist. It can’t be easy being a black parent.

How can we help? We can teach our children not to hate. And as a country, it’s the gun laws we need to go after. For anyone in the sight of a gun isn’t any more capable of dodging the bullet than a deer walking in the woods. Which is just how it was on that february night in Sanford, Florida between the hunter and the hunted.


Filed under gun laws, racial profiling