Two nights ago was only the second time I had to shoot someone. Dreams can be good or bad, the bad ones are called nightmares.
I grew up around guns. To say I was afraid of them would be putting it mildly. Maybe because I was a girl I had no interest in them and had no desire to even see or touch one. My father kept his guns handy and knew how to shoot. He was a pistol champion. As a child I always saw dad cleaning his pistols. He also used to mimic shooting the bad guys on the black and white TV set we had in our living room. There wasn’t much room in the four room apartment that held the seven of us, and there wasn’t really any place to go to not be around the guns.
At some point in time, I started dreaming about being shot every night. No one ever made a move to actually shoot me, or even threatened to do so in real life but the dreams became more regular and came more often. I was sure that one of these days after dreaming this night after night that it would come true. It made me want to avoid any and all firearms. It almost made me want to avoid sleep. It certainly could be called a reoccurring nightmare. Until one day they stopped, after I was married, out of my parents house and maybe because of the distance from the actual guns?
Fast Forward … 2004
Ever catch someone trying to break into your home? How about a second attempt? The first time we experienced this and tried to catch the intruder — we didn’t succeed. The second time, we were able to get a license plate number. With the help of several friends and a series of coincidences, which I prefer to think was divine intervention, we found out what was going on. A neighbor rallied the neighborhood to file a lawsuit against us, making up charges and opening a dummy corporation “representing” the homeowners association. The reason was one particular man who wanted us “out of his neighborhood”. Nothing more, and nothing less would satisfy him. He was wealthy and thought he could control everyone and everything. He made up lies about our family and spread them as gospel truth to the other homeowners. He even had another man strong arm the neighbors into signing – mostly by lies and intimidation. They hired private investigators to follow, track, record, film and to break into our home.
Because we were not guilty of any of the dozen charges he made up, we did what we felt was right. We stood our ground. This was the last thing he expected. Surely the power of a seriously wealthy man would intimidate most, but not us. We have no “dirt” to dig up, no skeletons in our closet we haven’t dealt with, no secrets to hide. I believe he found and used things like that against others in our neighborhood but with us there was nothing to find, so he resorted to making them up.
When someone is “out to get you” and makes it pubic knowledge that they are, the options are almost always either fight or flight. Since flight wasn’t going to be our choice, we decided to get our concealed carry gun licenses. We wanted to be prepared should he decide to escalate his efforts. Here in Virginia, you don’t actually have to have a concealed carry license to have or wear a gun on your side. Virginia is an open carry state. As long as the gun can be seen, and not carried into prohibited places (schools, etc) – you can holster your gun and wear it while you go about your day. The requirements for concealed carry (where your gun is hidden from view) in our area of Virginia, is to take an 8 hour class, then pass a written and a shooting test. After that, a judge has to sign off on your request to carry a firearm and your concealed carry license is issued.
I wanted to start my gun journey at the beginning and we did. We bought 9mm glocks with consecutive serial numbers, and signed up for introduction to firearms. By the time we were done, we had taken every course up and through tactical training. Tactical training was the best. Our teacher was a former Navy Seal, and we learned to shoot every which way, from sitting, standing, around corners, on the ground, within inches of someone. We learned the best ways to disarm someone, how to draw and shoot fast and accurately, how to unjam your gun in seconds and how to assemble our gun in the dark! I was the only woman in the class and to my astonishment and surprise, I also turned out to be a natural shot. That means on the very first night in the introduction course when they were showing us 4 different firearms and showing us how to shoot them, I actually hit the center of the targets. The one instructor asked, “Why are you here?” I said “What are you talking about?” He said “You are obviously already a good shot.” I said, ” I have never fired a gun before today”, and he replied “Who are you kidding?” Turns out I am good shot and can hit a target moving or stationary. Who could have known it was in my genes!
Along this journey I wore my gun openly around my property, and even posted no trespassing signs (which really infuriated this man). We let all the neighbors know we were taking gun classes and that no one was going to try breaking in again. That doesn’t mean I could actually shoot anyone. In Virginia, you really have to avoid that at all costs. In fact, you cannot say you were in fear of your life (acted in self defense) if for example you shoot someone in the back, or if you shoot someone because they are taking your TV or computer. In fact, you can yell at them and tell them to drop it or leave it, you can tell them you have a gun and should, but you cannot shoot them inside or outside your house if they are just stealing your possessions. In order to use your firearm against another person, or even discharge it in this county, you have to be in serious fear of your life or the life of a loved one. In tactical training, we had film strip scenario’s in which we had to decide if, when and why we would shoot.
My problem was, I wasn’t sure I could ever shoot anyone even if I was in fear of losing my life. I just always felt that I would rather lose my life than take the life of another person for any reason. Maybe if it was one of my children, but my life, I just really didn’t know.
When the training was nearly over, I had a dream. It was a situation where ‘in the dream’ I said to my husband, give me your gun. He did and I shot the person without seriously thinking about anything more that this has to be done. I woke up knowing that if and when the time came that I had to shoot, I would.
Fast forward: 2012
For no reason I can think of, I just had the second dream of shooting another person. This time several peoples’ lives were in danger including my own. The dream was pretty real, and pretty intense. The “threat” was another woman, and she had already shot out windows and shot at my car. I wound up in the front seat of the car, struggling with her — she had no idea I had a gun and I shot her through the neck at close range. She was trying to talk, gurgling really and trying to tell me she needed help, and I just held the steering wheel and the position we were in, and told we were staying just as we were till the police arrived. It really was a nightmare. It haunted me the entire next day. However in the end it reassured me, that if it came to it, and if I needed to I could use my gun to save my life.