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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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