Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Nightmares of Protection

The department of homeland security has finally made it into my dreams. Or nightmares, I should say. I had a dream last night of those predator drones. It was terrifying. There was no where to hide...

It started out with me, as a kid, playing a video game. In the game, I was controlling a fish trying to blow up a dam so he could make it to fresher water. The fish had to steal dynamite and then toss it at the dam, but you had to move him out of the way before the explosion, or pieces of rock would hit him. When it did, little x's showed up where your fish's eyes should have been, and he floated to the surface of the water. The game was so fun, that when I finally died, I decided to go outside and play it for real.

I found a couple of leftover fireworks to use as the dynamite. They were the round charges used in the PVC tube that launch high in the air before exploding in dazzling color displays. They make really cool grenade simulators when you light them and toss them.

As I tossed them, and watched them explode, I heard two distant explosions. Apparently, my dream was in the future, because modified predator drones were 'patrolling' our country for terrorists. I instantly knew that it was the drones hitting some terrorist on the other side of town. It made me feel safe. Settling back into my 'game', I tossed a firework over a concrete step sitting in the yard, and then hid behind it, to avoid debris.

As I did this, I heard a noise in the air, and turned to see the predator drones making a swooping turn going back to their patrol. I stopped to watch them. As they were slowly turning, one broke off quickly. In an instant, I knew he was headed in my direction. Standing up from behind the steps, I strained my eyes to see what they were going after.

The craft leveled at me, and I saw flashes coming from it's nose. The ground around me came alive, as clods of dirt and grass erupted high into the air. I dove for cover as the craft flew over, and quickly circled for another pass. "It's strafing me!!!", I thought out loud.

Before I finished the sentence, it was already turned, making another run at me. It wasn't easy to avoid the rounds as I dove behind a building. Just as I thought I had evaded the one drone, I noticed the other had returned, and they were now coming at me from two angles, like scissors closing on paper. I closed my eyes.

I woke up in a very cold sweat.

The first thing that struck me when I awoke was how helpless and hopeless I felt. There was no way to surrender. There was no way to explain that I was just a kid playing with fireworks. To the people operating these drones, I was just a heat source with terrorist intentions.

It reminded me of some video footage I saw a while back of Iraqi farmers who were gunned down as they carried parts to their broken tractor. Each one of them were executed from a long-distance, infrared viewpoint. They had no chance to surrender, and, as they tried to hide behind trucks and under vehicles, they were blown apart.

I understand that the soldiers thought the men were carrying an RPG. But once they were down, it seems like there could've been a better way of finishing the situation than, "Hit 'im." If these men were truly carrying an RPG, then CAPTURING them might have revealed the source that supplied the weapon. I don't mean to cast dispersion on the soldiers, though. In their position, I might have done the same thing. They don't have the manpower to send troops down there to check/arrest these guys. We have 8 years of military downsizing under Clinton to thank for that.

I don't know exactly what inspired that dream. It's been a LONG time since I saw that footage, so I don't think it influenced my dream. I did hear a few months ago that predator drones were going to start doing border patrol, but I don't think that was it, either. NPR had an interview with soldiers suffering from PTSD day before yesterday. It may have been a combo of all those things, or just something I ate before I went to bed. Or, maybe it was my mind warning me of what it's afraid will happen to our country.