When people die, especially when they die public deaths, we offer flowers. First Atlanta, then six days later, Boulder. Who will be next? Who have we already forgotten?
The tulips arrived at my house in late February and offered me a chance to remember how we bud, blossom, and die. The brevity of their lifespan gave me a great opportunity, a chance to see and feel the brevity that defines us all. I dedicate the tulip series to those whose lives were months, years and decades cut short by a gun. There’s no other way to say it. I’m tired of removing the gun from the equation. Without the gun, with a knife, say, or a sword, or the bare hands of any confused, deluded, lost or mentally ill someone, the odds would be different. The cards wouldn’t be stacked against a young couple shopping for the perfect lemon in the produce aisle of the grocery store. Come on.
“It’s easier to buy a gun in this state than it is to vote.” Chilling words from a Colorado man who witnessed last Monday’s massacre. And that’s another thing. Let’s not call these shootings anything less. The definition of a massacre is the indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of people.
All week I’ve waited for the petals to fall. I anticipate they’ll make a pleasing pattern around the base of the vase. But this can’t wait. Not a day longer. It’s time to offer them. The flower heads are heavy, the stems are weak. They appear to be praying.
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