Home > The Goofy Book 3: The Real Thing > Subconscious / Dreams (One Week Before April 16th, 2007’s VT 32)

Subconscious / Dreams (One Week Before April 16th, 2007’s VT 32)

(Read my Prelude to this narrated dream, pre-April 16th, 2007 VT 32 massacre, before continuing as it explains a great deal more and why this particular chapter/post has always bothered me)

April 10th, 2007

If you and everyone around you were in immediate danger, where do you see yourself? Do you imagine you would find yourself running away with the pack or standing up to protect them?

I often have dreams that put me up against the worst kinds of moments. I like to believe that the decisions I make, and the way I act in these dreams, is how I would be if these defining momenst of truth occurred in my life. Of course, I do not wish harm on anyone and do not wish to personally experience the roughest situations, but maybe it is good to have a little mental preparation.

The most recent testing dream I have had involved shooters in a public setting. Now, I know there were two main causes for this scenario. The first is seeing the movie Flight 93 about the passengers that took back control of a plane on September 11th and me wondering that if I had been in that situation, would I have done the same. Secondly, and more relevant to this particular dream, was sometime in the past few months clicking on a link to a horrific video that I wish I never clicked on.

This internet video was filmed from the point of view of grainy security cameras in a school, with an audio overlay of frantic phone calls to police. The camera’s focus was on the two gunmen lose in the school. There were some community comments on whether this video was real or whether it was supposed to be a reenactment of historical school shootings like Columbine. We tend to not believe horrors when we see them. Denial is the first stage of grief, after all. Regardless of its authenticity, I honestly stopped watching after the first person hiding under a desk was shot point blank multiple times. Unfortunately, at this point in time, I’m not the best at being fully able to illustrate what thoughts and feeling surged through my mind as I was watching the video. However, I can say that as time elapsed in that video, you will definitely lose any sense of the ‘nothing can hurt me’ and ‘ignorance is bliss’ feelings you might have once held in comfort.

My recent dream was basically reliving what I saw in this video, except that instead of currently sitting at my computer, I’m in the crowd running deeper into the library, jumping over couches and chairs, and trying to find the quickest and best way to hide from the gunmen trailing behind. Lying on the floor and breathing heavily, this is when and where the decision to act is made.

I do not believe it is the thought of heroism that drives me in my dream, but instead the thought of protection; to protect others. It is the immediate sense of how best protect yourself and others… by removing the threat. One gunman just left the room and I can see the other standing in the middle not too far from me. His back turned away from the couch I’m ducking behind, and I begin to look around for anything I can use. There it is right next to me: a roughly five pound, sturdy wooden chair. The chair seems perfect for its light weight, yet ability to quickly disrupt a scene. Wait for the right moment when there is a second of distraction… now! Since this is only a dream, there are a few of the action details left out, but unfortunately these details are crucial in a real life situation… and how each action might not flow as easily in reality is that most important detail.

The time was right to make a move; I can’t wait any longer. I begin to swiftly rise from behind the couch, grabbing one leg of the chair, now my other hand on the other leg, and as the gunman slowly starts to turn around I gain enough momentum in one step forward to give the chair a good, forceful heave from all of the adrenaline pumping through me. It is all that is needed to successfully connect the flying chair with the target’s head and upper body. I don’t think anyone has fully grasped what just happened in the past second because I figured I would immediately have some help from at least one other person. There was no stopping as soon as the chair was released from my grasp as I keep moving forward in my obvious plan to get the gun out of his hands as quickly as possible, and the chair did a better job than I thought it would at disrupting everything. In the instant confusion and attack to the gunman, the grip on the gun is loosened just enough to reach for it as I’m still gaining more momentum running forward and wrenching it from him just before plowing into his body with us both falling to the ground.

Main decision number two: you’ve freed the gun from his hands and you both have just fallen to the ground… what’s next? The first thought is use the gun against him by shooting him in the leg so that at least he won’t be able to fight back as easy, and plus, I’m not one for hoping to have to take a life either. Although, now I see that forcefully striking him in the head with the butt of the handle grip probably did a better job of rendering him unable to cause any further harm. Unaware of where the second gunman might be and not exactly wanting to go find him, it’s time to get out of the room. Luckily, by now the others have quickly gotten up and we all run to the nearest outside exit door found further back in the library.

The very last decision I make as we get to the door is, what exactly what should I do with the gun? I’m afraid that if I took it outside with me, that there might be some people who don’t realize what has just happened and think I’m one of the shooters. What if the second gunman comes in this room in the next second and we all need it for our protection? It might be disastrous if I get rid of it before he comes back. What if I toss it away somewhere in attempt to hide it from the remaining gunman and also to avoid accusation by unknowing people I’m about to encounter, but then police can’t immediately tell who the original shooter was because of the fingerprints? No, I realize there is almost no way I would get confused with the gunman because there are plenty of people that would have seen what happened as well as cameras and any of the other proof in the scene. And the dream ends right here before that final decision with the gun is made.

Some aspects of the dream might seem too impossible to be successfully carried out in the same way if my version really happened, but the underlying point still remains. I often find comfort in believing a big part of my life is helping and protecting others. Even in a dream, where do you find yourself?


As my prequel/prelude mentioned, I had this fully detailed dream, true to the form in which it was written, exactly one week before my beloved Virginia Tech’s massacre.  I have no embarrassment in telling you that I physically shake and have to hold back tears every time this day comes to mind.  All I can ever ask is, What would I do if this situation were ever to take place before me? Nobody can have an honest answer as to what the experience would be like; all we can do is be strong in the face of danger and watch out for one another. Be safe, Hokies and all.

Candlelight Vigil on the Drillfield for the VT 32 Fifth Year Anniversary.
I wish I could have been there again with my Hokie Nation.

We Are Virginia Tech


  1. 2012/04/27 at 8:53 pm

    Remarkable that you had the dream a week before the shootings.
    I’m pretty sure I would be hiding with my eyes closed. Although, I was robbed once when I worked in a bank and I was very calm. I’m a lot older now, you’ll find me hiding with my eyes closed.

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