First Things First, I am not a writer!!! Yet, I have had a desire for some time to share some of the things I have experienced. I’m coming up on a decade of experience in law enforcement. These years have had some low lows and extremely high, highs. This week has been an interesting one for me and so I thought I would give it a go
In the early part of my career I would have dreams. The settings of these dreams would always be in a work setting. There would be a perpetrator of some sort of crime trying to hurt or cause serious bodily injury on myself or some innocent person. In these dreams it required me to use deadly force to stop the criminal and save someone’s life. These dreams always ended in an open ended manor. They always ended with me waking up after trying to stop the threat yet for some reason all attempts failed. The bullets just would not stop the threat.
The frequency of the dreams varied. They happened every so often until the day they stopped. They stopped September 25th 2013. They stopped when it became more than a dream. They stopped when in the line of duty I had to put into use the skills and tactics I had trained on so many times. They stopped when I had to put to use the very skills and tactics that seemed to never work in my dreams.
September 25, 2013 while trying to apprehend an armed meth addict in a stolen truck, with self-inflicted box cutter wounds to his neck, arms and abdomen, pointed his 40 caliber pistol at me. The details of this can wait until another post. For this post let it suffice that I fired my weapon in the line of duty to protect myself, 4 fellow officers, and the general public. An arrest was effected on this known criminal. A man who through much of his life had committed crimes with complete disregard to the life and liberty of others. This was an individual who had an extensive criminal history that had led him to previous stints and several years of time spent in state prison.
To this day those recurring dreams have stopped. This leads to another discussion in and of its self. However, this week a new dream emerged. This dream I find myself responding to the scene of a train vs automobile accident. As I arrive on scene I find a man still belted in his severely damaged pickup. He tells me he is ok aside from a possible broken arm. Then from the peripherals I see a white passenger car with a female laying on the ground and a man standing next to her that I assume to be her significant other. As I strive to render aid she stares deep into my eyes as if seeing through me. I begin to ask her significant other what had happened and as he began to speak she latches on to me and will not let me go. At some point in the dream he presents a gun. I give him commands to drop the weapon and he won’t. Repeatedly I ask him to drop the weapon and every plea goes unanswered. He begins to fire off rounds. After a lengthy retreat and repeated attempts to get him to drop the weapon I am forced to return fire to stop the threat and save the lives that had become endangered. In this dream the attempts to stop the life threatening acts of another are successful and I wake up from the dream. This created a large amount of anxiety in me for a good part of the next couple hours.
Tonight I found myself watching the new Super Hero Movie with my kids and their cousins and friend. I watch the struggle as an immerging super hero grapples with what he wants for his life and what the world needs from him. These experiences caused me to think about the millions of dollars we spend in celebration of these make believe heroes.
In the last 6 month I have been directly or indirectly involved with 4 critical incidents or shootings. One of the incidents involved an officer who has also served our country as a soldier. I have also watched as everyday citizens have rendered aid to victims of serious accidents with mangled masses of metal that were once cars.
I wonder is it normal? Is it normal for everyday people to leave their homes with no regard for their own welfare and risk their lives for others? Is it normal for normal everyday individuals to run into danger in your very neighborhood or in foreign lands to save others, and even maybe save us from our own bad choices?
No, it is not normal. These men and women are not normal. These, Ladies and Gentlemen, are the true heroes of a real world in which they too often struggle with desires that they want but give up because a life of service is not something they do. It is something they are.