When I was a kid I remember playing a game with my friends that we called “hide-and-gun-seek.”
It was similar to the traditional children's game, only we were all packing toy guns and when we found whoever was “it” we filled him full of imaginary bullets.
At that time it seemed perfectly normal to pretend to kill each other. Toy guns were some of my favorite Christmas and birthday gifts when I was growing up. Of course, back then when we pulled the trigger nobody actually died.
Things are different now. Kids commit mass murder on their computers and the gunfire out on the streets is all too real.
The non-stop slaughter is giving me nightmares—literally. I actually dreamed the other night that I was in the middle of a mass shooting.
Given the number of shootings and the ever-increasing body count, it’s a wonder I don’t have bullet-filled dreams every night.
Nearly 2,500 people have died in America in gun-related incidents since the since the Sandy Hook massacre in December, according to the Huffington Post.
One of the latest atrocities happened in Georgia on Friday when two teenagers jumped a woman and her 13-month old son and demanded money.
“Do you want me to kill your baby?” the young gunman reportedly said before shooting the child in the head.
In my nightmare, I had gone to a school gymnasium in some unknown location to attend a memorial event for—irony alert—victims of an earlier mass shooting. Even my nightmares have nightmares.
The room was filled with people and as I stood there I heard some kind of commotion coming from the other side of the gym. I looked over and saw an African-American man in a wheelchair holding a gun on two police officers.
The cops had their hands straight up in the air and they were motionless, like statues. I remember thinking why can’t they do something? The guy’s in a wheelchair, for Christ’s sake, one of you should be able to grab him.
But the cops didn’t move, didn’t even blink. And then the man in the wheelchair started firing.
I heard people screaming and I tried to find cover, but I was stranded in the middle of this vast room.
I was actually hiding behind other people to keep from getting killed. I hated myself for my cowardice, but I didn’t want to die.
Bodies were hitting the floor, the gunman kept shooting and shooting and I had nowhere to run. That's when I woke up.
Psychiatrists say that you play every role in your dreams. So if you have a nightmare where you’re being chased by a monster, you are not just yourself; you are also the monster.
That would mean that not only was I a potential target in my nightmare, but the helpless cops, the other victims, and even the wheelchair-bound gunman.
I’m trying to decipher the meaning of the all this, particularly the figure in the wheelchair. I’ve had trouble with my back and maybe this, combined with my various emotional issues, sparked my subconscious to take away my legs.
I don’t know why the killer was black, when in reality the majority of mass shooters are white. I suppose this detail leaves me open to accusations of racism, but I can only tell what happened in the dream. If you think this makes me a bigot, there’s not much I can do to stop you.
I have to confess that there is a very dark part of my being that wants to get a gun of my own, so that when the lead starts flying in a movie theater, a shopping mall, or a high school gymnasium, I’ll have something like a fighting chance.
The realist in me knows that I probably shouldn’t own a gun. My problems with anger and depression could lead to one kind of disaster or another.
A handgun wouldn’t do much good against these monstrous assault rifles that seem so popular lately and do we want to live in a world where each and every person is carrying a gun?
The NRA says that more guns will make us safer, but it sounds to me like we’re lighting matches in a fireworks factory. Soon or later something is going to go off.
I feel like I and all of my loved ones are sitting ducks waiting for my bad dream to turn into harsh reality.
We’re all living in a nightmare, only we can’t wake up.