I don't REALLY live in the 'hood, but I kind of think that it is pretty legit to say that I live on the "fringe of the 'hood." To put it into perspective, a few years ago a young man standing under a street lamp with some friends got shot and killed in a drive by shooting about 50 feet from the front door of my building. Thankfully, such occurrences are rare enough that in spite of that experience, I still feel quite safe at home. I'm not a fool so I don't go waltzing down the streets after dark because we still do hear what sound like gun shots and the screech of tires off in the distance late on Saturday nights about once every six months or so. On the whole, however, the neighborhood where I live has gentrified and gotten cleaned up over the past seven years. With all of this in mind, I did a rather shocked double-take at what I saw while on my drive home earlier tonight. I was stopped at a light and a young man (looked like, perhaps, an eighth grader) was crossing the street in front of my car wearing what looked like a shoulder holster and handgun (like the ones that TV show detectives wear). On closer inspection, it was a novelty t-shirt with a photograph of a holster and handgun very realistically screened onto it. Now, odds are decent that this is probably a very nice young man, but the first thought that went through my mind was, "Why on Earth would a parent let a teenaged boy out of the house with a t-shirt like that in my neighborhood." I mean, the sad, but true fact is that something as stupid as a novelty t-shirt like that could easily get that young man killed by a gun-owning-near-sighted-neighbor, by a gang out to protect their territory, or a police officer passing by on a darkened street. I am usually not too bothered by teenagers clothing. I teach in a middle school and am not really ever bothered by teens' styles of dress, but why risk getting killed over a novelty tee? I think that, that young man SHOULD be able to wear whatever he wants, but the sad fact is that, sometimes, just because you have a right to do something doesn't mean that it is a wise thing to do.