Sheep, wolf, or sheepdog
Sheep are kind, gentle, productive creatures who only hurt one another by accident. They are peace-loving, avoid violence, and it takes a lot to provoke them into violence. They may fight back if directly attacked but they are oblivious to the predators that hunt them. Even if they do fight back, they lack the skills or the will that it takes to fight effectively. They are at the mercy of predators.
Surrounding these sheep are wolves, fierce predators that hunt, attack, and feed on the helpless sheep. Sometimes there may even be wolves in sheep’s clothing that may seem to be a part of the flock, but at the first opportunity, they will kill and eat sheep. After all, they are wolves, not sheep.
The only thing that protects sheep from wolves is the sheepdogs. The sheepdogs help keep the sheep organized and content, and when needed, they confront the wolves, run them off, and if necessary, fight them to the death. Sheep tolerate the sheepdogs because they need them for protection, but they do not associate with the sheepdogs. The sheepdogs do not care if they are not accepted by the sheep; they just continue to do their duty, most times unnoticed.
Warriors are the sheepdogs of society
If you have no capacity for violence and only feel compassion for others, then you are a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and feel no compassion for others, you are a wolf. If you have a capacity for violence and feel compassion for others, you are a sheepdog.
Just as sheep are a little afraid of the sheepdogs that protect them, society is a little afraid of its warriors. Sheep need not be afraid of sheepdogs because sheepdogs will not harm them; it is not in their nature. However, sheep see a little of the wolf in the sheepdog and it reminds them that there are wolves out to get them, and they do not like being reminded of this because it interferes with their idyllic concept of life.
They would rather spend their days in ignorant bless, living in comfort, while being protected by the sheepdogs to which they show disdain. As Edmund Burke once said, "There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men."
Then the wolves come! The sheep run around in circles, crying out in vain, begging for protection. However, they have little to fear, the sheepdogs they loathed during so much during their peaceful times are still there–willing and ready to protect them.
On September 16, 1999, Larry Gene Ashbrook, armed with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun and a .380-caliber handgun, and shouting anti-Baptist rhetoric, opened fire in Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, killing seven and wounding seven others before killing himself. In his article, On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs, Lt. Col. (Ret) Dave Grossman, author of the book, On Killing, writes about an off-duty police officer who was attending the church on this day with his family. The officer’s son was shot, and all the officer could do was throw himself on his son's body and wait for him to die. Grossman says the officer believed he could have saved every life that day if he had been allowed to carry his gun into the church.
Before the massacre occurred, some church members would have been horrified if they knew any member was carrying a weapon in church. They would have called him paranoid and demanded he either leave the church or not carry the weapon in church. During the same month of the massacre, Vice President Al Gore was attacking George W. Bush, then the governor of Texas, for signing legislation that permitted guns to be carried into Texas churches as concealed weapons. Throughout his presidential campaign, Gore constantly asked, ''How can we allow guns in churches?''
On Sunday, December 9, 2007, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a group of church-going sheep gathered for service at the New Life Church. They were peace-loving, and felt safety in numbers, especially since things such as “evil” guns were not permitted in a church. Then a wolf named Murray came hunting for prey! He had an assault rifle, lots of ammunition, and a desire to kill. Luckily, for the sheep, there was a sheepdog present.
After an early morning shooting at a local missionary school, Jeanne Assam, a church member with a concealed weapon permit, had volunteered to carry her gun and be on the alert for trouble. Although Murray did manage to kill two young girls coming out of the church before Assam arrived, once she arrived, she shot Murray several times, causing him to take the usual mass murderer way out and kill himself—except her actions caused Murray to take his life before he had originally wanted to, thus saving numerous lives.
How did the sheep feel about the sheepdog protecting them? At first, all were thankful, but after the shock of the events wore off, some again began to express their disdain for the sheepdog, digging into her past to find she was an ex-police officer who had been fired, and by saying she had only “wounded” the wolf and did not actually kill him. Then they revived their call for a ban on firearms in the church.
We need sheepdogs
When a wolf threatens, the sheepdog comes out of the shadows, protects the flock, and then fades into the shadows until needed again. The sheep gradually forget what happened, resume their disdain for the sheepdog, and live in ignorant bless again until the next wolf attacks.
To sheep, sheepdogs are strange creatures. Sheepdogs are always alert, sniffing the air for danger, and reacting to the slightest sounds. They are lovable animals, kind to the lambs and respectful of older sheep, and always obedient to their masters. Though not violence by nature, they love to fight to protect their sheep and will do so until the death of the wolves or themselves. While sheep pretend that wolves do not exist or that they are in another forest than theirs, the sheepdogs know that wolves exist and are always ready for them.
In the 1920s, Shoeless Joe Jackson, a phenomenal baseball player for the Chicago White Sox and a hero to many young fans, was caught up in the Black Sox Scandal, where he and a few teammates conspired to throw the 1919 World Series. As Shoeless Joe emerged from the courthouse one day, a young fan called out the immortal line, "Say it ain't so, Joe!”
The line is now quoted whenever people are in denial about the downfall of something which they once believed. When faced with a potential threat, many people deny the threat and cry out “Say it ain’t so!
Then, if the attack occurs, their denial leaves them defenseless. Even if they survive the attack or the threatened attack never occurs, they are psychologically shattered by the fear and feelings of helplessness they experienced when they had to face reality. Deniers think they are getting by, by saying it isn't so, but denial is just a buy-now-pay-later scheme. You may feel content for the moment, but at some point, you will have to pay the price.
When there is news of some wolf attack where a sheep was killed, other sheep say, “I am glad I was not there.” However, the sheepdog says, “I am sad I was not there.” Sheepdogs protect, that is what they do. Just as the sheepdogs, warriors do not seek violence, but they are not afraid of it and they train to confront it whenever and wherever it occurs. When there is gunfire, just as Jeanne Assam on that cold December Sunday, warriors run toward it, not away from it. Warriors protect, that is what they do.
There is nothing wrong with being a sheep, and there is nothing wrong with being a sheepdog. Sheep tend to think they are morally superior to the sheepdogs, but the sheepdogs do not think they are morally superior to the sheep; they realize they can survive and thrive in situations that would kill most sheep and they just accept that it is their duty to protect sheep.
In nature, sheep behave like sheep, wolves behave like wolves, and sheepdogs behave like sheepdogs; they do not have a choice in what they are or how they behave. From birth, they instinctively behave as their species behaves. As humans, we have control over how we behave; we have a choice as to whether we will be sheep, wolves, or sheepdogs.
- Grossman, Lt. Col. Dave. Are You A Sheepdog?