The color orange symbolizes the value of human life. Hunters wear orange to alert other hunters that they’re there — as a way to take care of their own life and the lives of others. A couple of years ago, teens on the South Side of Chicago asked their classmates to wear orange in honor of a friend who was shot and killed. Now, we’re amplifying their call to action and turning orange into a symbol for the value of human life everywhere.
These types of events are not really my style, but I have to admit that I’m intrigued by this one.
The reason I say these types of events are not my style is that I’m never quite sure what awareness does. It’s impossible to not be aware of the rampant gun violence in America. It is all over the news every day. If anything, the ceaseless gun violence makes us numb to the problem. I don’t know if it is possible to be over-aware, but sometimes I feel over-aware.
The reason I’m intrigued by National Gun Violence Awareness Day is that it kind of reminds me of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. M.A.D.D. started when I was a kid. I didn’t understand it at the time. I remember seeing the commercials and hearing the presentations in elementary school. My friends and I would make jokes. We weren’t old enough to drink or to drive, so we couldn’t figure why they were wasting their time talking to us about drinking and driving. But, relatively quickly everyone had seen these messages and attitudes started to change. People who had never seen the inside of a bar knew what designated drivers were. People used to see drunken driving as a youthful indiscretion. After M.A.D.D., drunk drivers were seen as scumbags. And, M.A.D.D. almost cut drunk driving fatalities in half.
When it comes to gun violence, argument simply cannot change things. All of the facts are on the side of sensible gun control, but that doesn’t help. The only way things will get better is if there is real social change. Society needs to start seeing the people who are irresponsible with their guns as the scumbags they really are. I think wearorange.org may be able to help do that. I wore orange today. I hope you did, too.