I was walking the dog by Village Hall in the old leafy suburban paradise a while back, and in a single glance saw the entire 180 degree spectrum of human behavior.
You've got the sign, warning passersby against going into Village Hall with handguns, those hard metal mechanisms of instant death. And no doubt there are people carrying guns who need the warning, even in Northbrook. A reminder that, for every individual who carries a gun for legitimate purpose, cops and bank guards and such, there are 100 who use them as totems, as lethal blankies, to calm their fears within and protect themselves from enemies without, real and imagined.
Mostly imagined. Especially in Northbrook.
And the baby's shoe. Take a good close look at it. Gorgeous, really. A beautiful shoe. Two-tone real leather—or what looks like real leather. Artistic stitching. Comfortable, user friendly Velcro straps. The toddler wearing that shoe chose his parents well.
A shoe that somebody designed, and somebody made, and somebody bought, and a fourth person found in the street—babies, as anyone who has ever raised one knows, have a genius for kicking away their footwear undetected, and the more expensive a shoe is, the more prone a little fat foot is to fling it away, unseen.
So some big-hearted good Samaritan found the shoe, and placed in this obvious spot, where mom or dad would be likely to find it. A pleasing marriage of concern and cleverness. Oh look at that, poor kid, poor mom! I'll just jam the shoe above this sign, where it'll be seen. The sign warding away those who might be carrying handguns around the mean streets of Northbrook because, gosh darn it, they just don't feel secure without one, and if somebody, perhaps driven insane by how badly Northbrook has botched its commercial development, goes bursting into the Village Hall and starts shooting up a zoning board meeting, they'll be ready, maybe.
In the meantime, their gun is posing a hazard, of some degree, to themselves and their loved ones, 24 hours a day.
Quite the range of possibilities. People. Including myself, walking the dog, seeing the shoe and sign and trying to synthesize it all. I try to focus on the shoe makers, wearers and returners. But those gun makers and buyers and users, they have a way of spoiling the fun, don't they?