Skip to comments.On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs -LTC Dave Grossman (ret) - (excellent!)
Posted on 06/29/2011 1:46:17 PM PDT by STARWISE
On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs - Dave Grossman By LTC (RET) Dave Grossman, author of "On Killing."
Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost.
In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always,even death itself.
The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? - William J. Bennett - in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997
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 who 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, that 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, can not and will not ever harm the sheep.
Any sheep dog 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.
There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. - Edmund Burke
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. It is a conscious, moral decision.
If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay.
When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you.
If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love.
But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.
For example, many officers carry their weapons in church. They are well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt holsters tucked into the small of their backs.
Anytime you go to some form of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf appears to massacre you and your loved ones.
I was training a group of police officers in Texas, and during the break, one officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The other cop replied, "I will never be caught without my gun in church."
I asked why he felt so strongly about this, and he told me about a cop he knew who was at a church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999.
In that incident, a mentally deranged individual came into the church and opened fire, gunning down fourteen people. He said that officer believed he could have saved every life that day if he had been carrying his gun.
His own son was shot, and all he could do was throw himself on the boy's body and wait to die. That cop looked me in the eye and said, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?"
Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would probably scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for "heads to roll" if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids' school did not work.
They can accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards against them.
Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain.
But the sheepdog quietly asks himself, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones (were) attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?"
It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up.
Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: you didn't bring your gun, you didn't train. Your only defense was wishful thinking.
Hope is not a strategy.
Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by your fear helplessness and horror at your moment of truth.
Gavin de Becker puts it like this in Fear Less, his superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our current world situation:
"...denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn't so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling."
Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level.
And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes.
If you are warrior who is legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today. No one can be "on" 24/7, for a lifetime.
Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself...
This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum.
On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between.
Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously.
The degree to which you move up that continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved ones will survive, physically and psychologically at your moment of truth.
From above link.
Exclusive: Terrorists Plans For Mass Murder At American Schools
Grossman, the popular law enforcement motivational speaker, and Todd Rassa, a trainer with the SigArms Academy and an advisory board member for The Police Marksman magazine, shared a full day’s agenda on the danger to U.S. schools.
Should we be surprised?
Not when Al-Qaeda has publicly asserted the “right” to kill 2,000,000 American children, Rassa explained, and has warned that “operations are in stages of preparation” now. Rassa played videotapes confiscated in Afghanistan, showing al-Qaeda terrorists practicing the takeover of a school.
The trainees issue commands in English, rehearse separating youngsters into manageable groups and meeting any resistance with violence. Some “hostages” are taken to the rooftop, dangled over the edge, then “shot.”
“Any place that has given [Islamic terrorists] trouble, they’ve come after the kids,” Grossman said. Muslim religious literature, according to Rassa, states clearly that the killing of children not only is “permitted” in Islam but is “approved” by Mohammed, so long as the perpetrators “are striving for the general good” as interpreted by that religion.
He cited actual recent instances in Indonesia where girls on their way to school have been beheaded and in other countries where children have been shot, mutilated, raped or burned alive.
In this country this year [’06], Rassa said, there have been several school bus-related incidents involving Middle Eastern males that raise suspicion of terrorist activity.
These include the surprise boarding of a school bus in Florida by two men in trench coats, who may have been on a canvassing mission, and the attempt in New York State by an Arab male to obtain a job as a school bus driver using fraudulent Social Security documents.
The latter gave an address in Detroit, home to a large colony of fundamentalist Muslims.
Rassa stated that floor plans for half a dozen schools in Virginia, Texas and New Jersey have been recovered from terrorist hands in Iraq.
Our nation was gripped by the massacre at Columbine High School a few years ago, committed by two deeply troubled students. As tragic as that was, imagine what several more truly fanatic and lethally-trained illegal alien terrorists could do in one of our schools. It has already happened in other schools to other peoples children, and you must read it to believe it:
This is a very good article.
If you haven’t heard this man speak, you are missing out. He’s brilliant.
Sure packs a wallop.
Fascinating. I wish he’d spend a bit more time discussing sheepdogs that aren’t LEOs, though. He mentions that sheepdogs that attack the herd are quickly cast out, but that is becoming less and less the case. Cops are starting to slaughter the herd.
Sadly possible, in today’s environment.
Current presentations and training sessions
Criminal justice news summary 6-28-11 and previous
“Cops are starting to slaughter the herd.”
Considering the numbers of LEO’s, that is a pretty sweeping statement...and untrue. The “bad apple” count is pretty low, in percentage, in real life and pretty high in, well, Hollywood and major media.
Yep, can’t ignore the truth.
I have not attended Grossman’s 8 hour lecture but I understand it is outstanding. It is generally reserved for LEO’s. However, the impact this has may be beneficial. LEO’s need to know their responsibility as sheepdogs.
Yes, some LEO’s go bad. My agency just had one go to prison this month and another under investigation. In my 31 years associated with this agency, this is a first.
I believe a great deal of the quality of LEO’s depend on the quality of the Chief or Sheriff. We currently have a Chief of unquestionable moral and integrity. I wish I could so that about his predessor. I think the current chief is paying the price of poor moral leadership of the past.
Most of all the civilian population has to hold LEO’s accountable. We can be angry but we cannot paint all with the same brush.
Again, almost all problem LEO’s can be identified easily in their backgrounds.
But to go back to civilian sheepdogs: I agree. Civilian sheepdogs are equally important. Note the CPL guy in the Arizona shooting involving the congresswoman. He is a sheepdog.
It only takes a few “bad apples” to foster so much distrust the system breaks down. I am sure most of the LEOs in my hometown are swell, but a bad experience or two and I don’t trust a damned one of them. They’re screwed if they’re depending on me to help them do their jobs by being their eyes and ears.
It didn’t used to be this way...but now I am the most unobservant “civilian” you’ll ever see. If I see a threat to life or limb, I’ll gun them down myself.
Denial Kills- Sums it all up.I remember being taught something like He who hesitates invites the enemy to advance.Those who freeze at the sound of guns die where they stand.Run to the guns and silence them.
Excellent article bump!
Coincidentally, Glenn Beck today showed clips from Robert Kiyosaki’s video, wherein he mentions his self-protection preparation for what’s coming.
Rich Dad Advisors Discuss Food Storage for the coming 2012 Depression
Glenn’s prescience in foreseeing these global events has truly been really stunning. I’m very grateful to him .. have learned so much .. truly eye opening insights and such a critically important and valuable education. God bless and protect him and his family.
Pen, see the video above ...
Thanks...very sobering. We don’t have near enough food stored up, but I know how to grow and store the stuff if need be. Scary times indeed.
I agree that it’s good, but it is insulting. I’m more inclined to agree with the rebuttal.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Of Sheep, Wolves, Sheepdogs, and Mutts
I’ll say right off that I was reminded of this subject, and in particular this very annoying analogy, by this excellent William Grigg essay on the Lew Rockwell site, which I was re-reading this morning. Grigg is writing specifically about a highly-publicized and of course videotaped beating of a fugitive by a couple of cops.
In the course of the article, Grigg makes the hardly controversial observation that, regardless of anything police apologists say, police brutality is a current, pervasive problem which is if anything getting worse rather than better, and that at least part of the reason for this is that police are encouraged to think of themselves as a warrior caste, an elite among men who are enabled by their noble yet aggressive natures to protect the ... well, the sheep.
Grigg reminds us of an article that I, at least, would like to forget. But for today I can’t forget it. Excerpted from a police training course called The Bulletproof Mind and a book titled On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict, In War and In Peace, it’s written by a man named Lt. Col. Dave Grossman who has apparently made a good living for himself training police officers to think of themselves in this way. It’s possible that Grossman is among the principal contemporary reasons policemen no longer think of themselves as civilian peace officers, but instead dismissively refer to those they once claimed to serve and protect as “civilians.” They themselves are the Warrior Elite, and warriors are soldiers, and soldiers are not “civilians.” They’re better than that.
Grossman popularized the characterization of criminals as “wolves,” police and soldiers as “sheepdogs,” and everybody else as “sheep.” He loudly proclaims that police officers, as “sheepdogs,” are morally obligated to pursue practices they would cheerfully arrest “sheep” for getting caught at. Example:
If you are a warrior legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today. No one can be on 24/7 for a lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself, “Baa.”
Grossman’s view of the “sheep” is instructive:
We know that the sheep live in denial; that 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 kids’ 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 to deny that it could happen. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their children is just too hard for them to fathom.
Let us stipulate that there may be some truth to this. We all know people who don’t like to think about violence, who deny that bad things can happen to them and theirs, and who are shocked into uselessness when those bad things happen anyway. But why is that exactly? Grossman claims that a sheepdog is “what you choose to be,” and yet supposedly sheep are just born that way. It doesn’t, it couldn’t, have anything to do with public schools that teach from kindergarten to college that violence and the weapons of violence are so completely unacceptable that a child who merely draws a picture of a firearm is suspended from school and stigmatized as a deviant. No, that couldn’t be it. It couldn’t be because a young person’s college career is more likely to survive his being caught with heroin in his backpack than with a tool of personal protection on his belt. No, of course not. There’s no conditioning involved here; that’s just paranoid. Bad Uncle Joel. And it couldn’t have to do with the many, many people who have been prosecuted by the state and then sued into poverty by their would-be aggressors, with the sanction of the state, for the criminal sin of taking self-protection into their own hands. The cries of vigilantism from the mainstream media and predictions of ‘blood in the street’ should “civilians” be allowed to possess and carry the tools of personal protection, those couldn’t have anything to do with it. Sheep are just born that way, and need the protection of the state “sheepdogs.” If they weren’t the way they are, they’d be cops.
Well, no. Not right. I’m not a “wolf,” who feeds on his fellow man. I’m not a “sheepdog,” who protects the flock and keeps it herded together for the benefit of the shepherd between fleecings. And I’m sure as hell not a “sheep,” one of Grossman’s “healthy, productive citizens” with “no capacity for violence.” I reject the metaphor absolutely and in detail, unless I get to add a character to his little cartoon show myself.
I’m a mutt. (I’ve used this analogy before, and it always drives dog lovers nuts: They prefer “mixed breed.”) I couldn’t care less about herding sheep, or about oppressing them. I have no interest in sheep at all. I know exactly on which end my teeth are kept, and I keep them sharp. I reject all demands that I have them pulled for the benefit of the flock. The flock, as I may have mentioned, does not interest me. I reject aggression, and to the extent my circumstances allow I reject violence, but if violence is forced upon me I will not delegate its use. In that case I’ll do it myself. And in that case my aggressor will find me perfectly capable of dishing it out. I’d rather avoid a fight than engage in one, but it would be a terrible mistake to class me among those you consider to have “no capacity for violence.”
Mutts are not sheepdogs, and they are not showdogs. I’ll never be pretty, and I’ll never be rich, and you’ll sure as hell never catch me in a blue uniform or any other kind of uniform. All I want, from sheepdogs or wolves, is to be left alone to pursue my life. As long as I get that one little thing, I’m as harmless as a sheep. When I stop getting it, from sheepdogs or wolves, the differences will become apparent. Neither sheepdogs nor wolves should try to speed that day, for neither are my allies. Aggressors all look alike to me; they look like food. I’m a mutt.
And I’m way not the only one.
If you’re a mutt, you’re a sheepdog. It’s just that the only sheep you’re looking out for is yourself.
The brainwashing of the kids to think that violence is unthinkable even in self-defense is the combination of 2 things: sheep who are pushing their views onto all kids, and wolves who are pushing all kids to be sheep. Ultimately, though, we don’t have to be putty that is molded to whatever the other sheep and the wolves want us to be. The former wants us ignorant and happy, whistling past the graveyard; the latter wants us in their stomach. We don’t have to be either. We can protect ourselves (in which case we are the “mutts” that you talk about) or we can protect ourselves and others (in which case we are sheepdogs).
I think the ultimate point being made is that wolves are as real as fires, and there is nothing noble in refusing to be prepared or equipped and available whenever the danger exists (which is always). Fires need to be fought; wolves need to be fought. Fires can arise at any time so the protection ALWAYS has to be at hand; wolves can arise at any time so the protection ALWAYS has to be at hand.
I am not offended by this guy’s analogy at all. I have spent the last few weeks as a sheep but inwardly conflicted because I know the wolf is devouring everything I love and I can’t stand to watch it. I am torn between wanting to live a quiet life pretending that the current lawlessness is just a figment of my warped, conspiratorial imagination (as so many people who can’t give any facts to counter mine would have me believe) and wanting to fight for what I love. In law enforcement terminology, I am torn between red (fight mode) and black (acceptance of defeat). I want to live in yellow mode (alert), with no wolves attacking. But the wolves are already here, and I see it as clear as day.
I see your point. I was thinking of the “sheep dog” from more of a mindset standpoint. Be ready to defend yourself, or be prepared to accept whatever your attacker going to dish out.
However, I now like the “mutt” analogy better. Thanks for pointing it out to me.
These two articles need to be re-posted! God Bless and have a Very Merry Christmas, Patriot!
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