September 16th, 2004 03:47 PM
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
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
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!
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
They would still be sheep, but they would not be food!
January 8th, 2005 05:58 PM
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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