I’ve had dreams where I’m the hero against a villain.
Last night I dreamt that I tried shooting the villain but the gun didn’t go off. Just clicked. And after pulling the trigger I felt this overwhelming feeling of helplessness. It was awful.
Whenever I have dreams like that the gun never goes off and I always feel like that.
This is a common phenomenon with new officers. We were told about it in the academy. We were trained to role play common and dangerous situations in our mind to a successful conclusion, so when the unthinkable happens, we react instinctively instead of just becoming a victim and dying on the street.
As a new officer I had repeat dreams where my gun failed. When it goes ‘click’ in your dreams instead of ‘bang’, you feel just as sick inside as if it really happened. When I had those dreams before I took a proactive role in them to say, ‘now what?’, and find a way to bring the situation to a positive resolution. They call that ‘lucid dreaming’ these days. The dreams faded and became less frequent over the years, but they occasionally happen still.
My most vivid dream was where I was a passenger in a police car and we went to stop a red hatchback. The car did not just pull over but pulled behind a closed business. As I was passing this information over the radio for backup, the hatchback popped open and a man with a rifle opened fire on us. I remember the ‘pop! pop! pop!’ and the windshield spiderwebbing as we took rounds. Everytime I had this dream, I was stuck in slow motion trying to get my gun out. When I finally did, my gun went ‘click!’ It was the loudest click ever! Finally, after several years of this dream, I was able to take control and return fire and survive. The dream was so vivid it always left me feeling worn out.
Civilian friends who have been to training for their CCW (carry concealed weapon) permits have told me about similar dreams. In the CCW classes, you are trained in ‘shoot-no shoot’ situations, justification of ‘use-of-force’ and firearms handling including failed gun recovery training. I’m pretty sure it’s just your mind getting a grip on the responsibility of carrying a firearm. I guess it’s a necessary evil.