Winston Churchill said
Si Vis Paceum Para Bellum

Sam Adams, more than beer

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, — go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen”
Samuel Adams

Lincoln on power

"We must prevent these things being done, by either congresses or courts — The people — the people — are the rightful masters of both Congresses, and courts — not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it —" Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdog

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


"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, cannot 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


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


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


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..."Baa."

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.

If It Weren't For The United States Military There Would Be NO United

States of America

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