The Sheep Parable

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Thread: The Sheep Parable

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    Bravo3
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    The Sheep Parable

    Not so long ago and in a pasture too uncomfortably close to here, a flock of
    sheep lived and grazed. They were protected by a dog, who answered to the
    master, but despite his best efforts from time to time a nearby pack of
    wolves would prey upon the flock.

    One day a group of sheep, bolder than the rest, met to discuss their
    dilemma. \"Our dog is good, and vigilant, but he is one and the wolves are
    many. The wolves he catches are not always killed, and the master judges and
    releases many to prey again upon us, for no reason we can understand. What
    can we do? We are sheep, but we do not wish to be food, too!\"

    One sheep spoke up, saying \"It is his teeth and claws that make the wolf so
    terrible to us. It is his nature to prey, and he would find any way to do
    it, but it is the tools he wields that make it possible. If we had such
    teeth, we could fight back, and stop this savagery.\" The other sheep
    clamored in agreement, and they went together to the old bones of the dead
    wolves heaped in the corner of the pasture, and gathered fang and claw and
    made them into weapons.

    That night, when the wolves came, the newly armed sheep sprang up with their
    weapons and struck at them, crying, \"Begone! We are not food!\" and drove off
    the wolves, who were astonished. When did sheep become so bold and so
    dangerous to wolves? When did sheep grow teeth? It was unthinkable!

    The next day, flush with victory and waving their weapons, they approached
    the flock to pronounce their discovery. But as they drew nigh, the flock
    huddled together and cried out, \"Baaaaaaaadddd! Baaaaaddd things! You have
    bad things! We are afraid! You are not sheep!\"

    The brave sheep stopped, amazed. \"But we are your brethren!\" they cried. \"We
    are still sheep, but we do not wish to be food. See, our new teeth and claws
    protect us and have saved us from slaughter. They do not make us into
    wolves, they make us equal to the wolves, and safe from their viciousness!\"

    \"Baaaaaaad!\" cried the flock, \"the things are bad and will pervert you, and
    we fear them. You cannot bring them into the flock!\" So the armed sheep
    resolved to conceal their weapons, for although they had no desire to panic
    the flock, they wished to remain in the fold. But they would not return to
    those nights of terror, waiting for the wolves to come.

    In time, the wolves attacked less often and sought easier prey, for they had
    no stomach for fighting sheep who possessed tooth and claw even as they did.
    Not knowing which sheep had fangs and which did not, they came to leave
    sheep out of their diet almost completely except for the occasional raid,
    from which more than one wolf did not return.

    Then came the day when, as the flock grazed beside the stream, one sheep\'s
    weapon slipped from the folds of her fleece, and the flock cried out in
    terror again, \"Baaaaaad! You still possess these evil things! We must ban
    you from our presence!\"

    And so they did. The great chief sheep and his council, encouraged by the
    words of their advisors, placed signs and totems at the edges of the pasture
    forbidding the presence of hidden weapons there. The armed sheep protested
    before the council, saying, \"It is our pasture, too, and we have never
    harmed you! When can you say we have caused you hurt? It is the wolves, not
    we, who prey upon you. We are still sheep, but we are not food!\" But the
    flock drowned them out with cries of \"Baaaaaaddd! We will not hear your
    clever words! You and your things are evil and will harm us!\"

    Saddened by this rejection, the armed sheep moved off and spent their days
    on the edges of the flock, trying from time to time to speak with their
    brethren to convince them of the wisdom of having such teeth, but meeting
    with little success. They found it hard to talk to those who, upon hearing
    their words, would roll back their eyes and flee, crying \"Baaaaddd! Bad
    things!\"

    That night, the wolves happened upon the sheep\'s totems and signs, and said,
    \"Truly, these sheep are fools! They have told us they have no teeth!
    Brothers, let us feed!\" And they set upon the flock, and horrible was the
    carnage in the midst of the fold. The dog fought like a demon, and often
    seemed to be in two places at once, but even he could not halt the
    slaughter.

    It was only when the other sheep arrived with their weapons that the wolves
    fled, only to remain on the edge of the pasture and wait for the next time
    they could prey, for if the sheep were so foolish once, they would be so
    again. This they did, and do still.

    In the morning, the armed sheep spoke to the flock, and said, \"See? If the
    wolves know you have no teeth, they will fall upon you. Why be prey? To be a
    sheep does not mean to be food for wolves!\" But the flock cried out, more
    feebly for their voices were fewer, though with no less terror, \"Baaaaaaaad!
    These things are bad! If they were banished, the wolves would not harm us!
    Baaaaaaad!\"

    So they resolved to retain their weapons, but to conceal them from the
    flock; to endure their fear and loathing, and even to protect their brethren
    if the need arose, until the day the flock learned to understand that as
    long as there were wolves in the night, sheep would need teeth to repel
    them.

    They would still be sheep, but they would not be food!

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    Sheepdogs and Wolves

    Not sure this will format well, but here goes:

    On Sheep, Sheepdogs, and Wolves
    By Dave Grossman

    One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel,
    once said this to me: \"Most of the people in our
    society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive
    creatures who can only hurt one another by
    accident.\" This is true. Remember, the murder rate
    is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated
    assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this
    means is that the vast majority of Americans are not
    inclined to hurt one another.

    Some estimates say that two million Americans
    are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic,
    staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate
    of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million
    Americans, which means that the odds of being a
    victim of violent crime is considerably less than
    one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore,
    since many violent crimes are committed by repeat
    offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is
    considerably less than two million.

    Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp
    both ends of the situation: We may well be in the
    most violent times in history, but violence is still
    remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are
    kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting
    each other, except by accident or under extreme
    provocation. They are sheep.

    I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep.
    To me it is like the pretty, blue robin\'s egg.
    Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow
    into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive
    without its hard blue shell. Police officers,
    soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell,
    and someday the civilization they protect will grow
    into something wonderful. For now, though, they need
    warriors to protect them from the predators.



    \"Then there are the wolves,\" the old war
    veteran said, \"and the wolves feed on the sheep
    without mercy.\" Do you believe there are wolves out
    there that will feed on the flock without mercy? You
    better believe it. There are evil men in this world
    and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you
    forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a
    sheep. There is no safety in denial.

    \"Then there are sheepdogs,\" he went on, \"and
    I\'m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and
    confront the wolf.\"...


    If you have no capacity for violence then you
    are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you
    have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your
    fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive
    sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity
    for violence, and a deep love for your fellow
    citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a
    warrior, someone who is walking the hero\'s path.
    Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness,
    into the universal human phobia, and walk out
    unscathed.
    Let me expand on this old soldier\'s excellent
    model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know
    that the sheep live in denial, which is what makes
    them sheep. They do not want to believe that there
    is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that
    fires can happen, which is why they want fire
    extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire
    exits throughout their kids'schools.

    But many of them are outraged at the idea of
    putting an armed police officer in their kid\'s
    school. Our children are thousands of times more
    likely to be killed or seriously injured by school
    violence than fire, but the sheep\'s only response to
    the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of
    someone coming to kill or harm their child is just
    too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.

    The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog.
    He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the
    capacity for violence. The difference, though, is
    that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever
    harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms
    the lowliest little lamb will be punished and
    removed. The world cannot work any other way, at
    least not in a representative democracy or a
    republic such as ours.

    Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is
    a constant reminder that there are wolves in the
    land. They would prefer that he didn\'t tell them
    where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand
    at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues
    holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have
    the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself
    white, and go, \"Baa.\"

    Until the wolf shows up! Then the entire flock
    tries desperately to hide behind one lonely
    sheepdog.

    The students, the victims, at Columbine High
    School were big, tough high school students, and
    under ordinary circumstances they would not have had
    the time of day for a police officer. They were not
    bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop.
    When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT
    teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the
    officers had to physically peel those clinging,
    sobbing kids off of them. This is how the little
    lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at
    the door.

    Look at what happened after September 11, 2001
    when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how
    America, more than ever before, felt differently
    about their law enforcement officers and military
    personnel? Remember how many times you heard the
    word hero?


    Understand that there is nothing morally
    superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you
    choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a
    funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on
    the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at
    things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a
    righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn
    for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a
    little older and wiser, but they move to the sound
    of the guns when needed right along with the young
    ones.

    Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think
    differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never
    come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the
    attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep,
    that is, most citizens in America said, \"Thank God I
    wasn\'t on one of those planes.\" The sheepdogs, the
    warriors, said, \"Dear God, I wish I could have been
    on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a
    difference.\" When you are truly transformed into a
    warrior and have truly invested yourself into
    warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be
    able to make a difference.

    There is nothing morally superior about the
    sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real
    advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to
    survive and thrive in an environment that destroys
    98 percent of the population.

    There was research conducted a few years ago
    with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These
    cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of
    violence: assaults, murders and killing law
    enforcement officers. The vast majority said that
    they specifically targeted victims by body language:
    slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of
    awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do
    in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that
    is least able to protect itself.


    Some people may be destined to be sheep and
    others might be genetically primed to be wolves or
    sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose
    which one they want to be, and I\'m proud to say that
    more and more Americans are choosing to become
    sheepdogs.

    Seven months after the attack on September 11,
    2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of
    Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the
    man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his
    cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines
    about the hijacking. When he learned of the other
    three passenger planes that had been used as
    weapons, Todd dropped his phone and uttered the
    words, \"Let\'s roll,\" which authorities believe was a
    signal to the other passengers to confront the
    terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation
    occurred among the passengers - athletes, business
    people and parents. -- From sheep to sheepdogs and
    together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving
    an unknown number of lives on the ground.

    Here is the point I like to emphasize;
    especially to the thousands of police officers and
    soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep,
    real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born
    that way, and so are wolves. They didn\'t have a
    choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being,
    you can be whatever you want to be.

    ExSoldier762\'s personal note: Here I would add to this impressive essay for it does not address those of us NOT in the aforementioned professions of security or protection, but rather those who CHOOSE to be a sheepdog (I myself would categorize myself as a Newfoundland Dog...but it\'s the same thing, my family is just newfie nutz) by arming ourselves and staying skilled with those arms. For in this category, there are many more sheepdogs mixed into the herds of sheep than the wolves will ever know or recognize until it\'s too late for them. Witness the fact that our IDPA club match today was HUGELY attended!

    :kay:

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