On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

Let me start by saying I was thinking of this just today and because it was requested by another member I have decided to dig it up and post it. If you wonder where some people get their strong positions from this will help you. Usually they have served in a position that they are willing to put their life on the line to protect others, police, military are the two biggest groups where this shows. But anyone who stands up for the less fortunate, the oppressed, the persecuted can be counted among the sheepdogs.

The original author of this is a retired combat veteran by the name of Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and was part of his book, On Combat. Now the little preface is from a Mr. William Bennet in a lecture before the US Naval Academy in Nov. 1997.

"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?"

Now for the main attraction. The words of Lt. Col. Grossman

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.” Or, as a sign in one California law enforcement agency put it, “We intimidate those who intimidate others.”

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? Then you are 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.
Everyone has been given a gift in life. Some people have a gift for science and some have a flair for art. And warriors have been given the gift of aggression. They would no more misuse this gift than a doctor would misuse his healing arts, but they yearn for the opportunity to use their gift to help others. These people, the ones who have been blessed with the gift of aggression and a love for others, are our sheepdogs. These are our warriors.

One career police officer wrote to me about this after attending one of my Bulletproof Mind training sessions:

“I want to say thank you for finally shedding some light on why it is that I can do what I do. I always knew why I did it. I love my [citizens], even the bad ones, and had a talent that I could return to my community. I just couldn’t put my finger on why I could wade through the chaos, the gore, the sadness, if given a chance try to make it all better, and walk right out the other side.”

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 dozens of times more likely to be killed, and thousands of times more likely to be seriously injured, by school violence than by school fires, but the sheep’s only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their children is just too hard, so they choose 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.

I did not ask to be a sheepdog but I do believe that is exactly what God had in mind for me. I was trained for that all my life. My Dad taught me to stand up for myself in physical fights and my Mom in all other. Ultimately they taught me that such fights are not meant for me to be a wolf but to look out for others. Even when I got married I was blessed with a very determined wife who continues to show me the value standing on principal.

So while I like it or not, grrrrrrrrr ruff, ruff grrrrrrrr.


@BayouBushi…my ornery little brother is a retired law enforcement offcer, he is a kind (although he still likes to annoy both his sisters), humble, honest, sincere man, a good and loyal husband, a wonderful, loving father, gentle and compassionate BUT he is also that sheepdog. Always looking out for others even if they don’t want him to. Always willing to defend and protect those who cannot defend or protect themselves. Even though retired, he is still that way and always will be. I am thankful for those sheepdogs and I keep those sheepdogs in my prayers as they need the Lord’s protection and encouragement. God bless you !..


@SherryM Well you little brother is not alone. I too am the last of three and the elder two are sisters. I too am still that annoyance. So he is not alone. I suspect he will have a special place in eternity for his selfless life on earth. Kudos to him.

God has blessed you with a good brother. Count yourself fortunate.


love this story, thanks for sharing.

doesn’t get much more real than that.


I’m confused… who is the sheepdog…?

/+ checks Bible for sheepdog reference… finds only the Good Shepherd…

:sheep: :poodle: :man_shrugging:t3:

Reminds me of a corny joke…

  • Q: Where do sheep go to get their hair cut…?

  • A: The baa-baa shop.

…never mind me :grin:

Isaiah 53:6 - All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

John 10:11- I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

John 10:14 - I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.


Hey @BayouBushi they even got a patch for it.

1 Like

LOL the poodle you put there.

1 Like

I loved your post and I THANK YOU for being a sheepdog.

You may sound mean and gruff but you truly care and inside you have a heart like a marshmallow. Hee Hee.
Love you brother. :two_hearts: :two_hearts: :two_hearts:

1 Like

Ok first look at the context of who wrote this and why the wrote it and who they wrote it to. This is generally given out to police comin out of the acadmey, or to soldiers going into battle, or other LEOs having to deal with the public. The Sheep Dog is the person who is not afraid of facing physical force in the defense of others. That is what a sheepdog dogs, he faces the wolves to keep the sheep safe from attack.

In a more general sense a sheepdog is a person who is watchful for violence and is ready to intervene even at that risk of personal injury or even lets say run into a burning building to rescue someone. That is a sheepdog. They are willing to risk their lives for others.

Now I could take this as a snarky remark but I will just dismiss it as not educated in some areas. There was never meant to be any connection between the piece by Lt. Col. Grossman and anything Biblical. But it turns out there is. In many places shepherds utilize sheepdogs in work of raising sheep. Like the sheepdog and as pointed out in John 10:11-12 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

While not a direct one to one correlation the basic concept is the same, who is someone willing to give their life for another, to protect, to serve. That is who the sheepdog is and he works for the Good Shepherd.

1 Like

Oh… no, not a snarky remarky… just a factual observation… but ya… you’re right… I’m dumber than a ham sammich… :drooling_face:

(on a separate note… prayers for your stomach troubles) :pray:t3:

1 Like


Ewe are wooly funny. :smiley:


@Gigi :grin: :laughing: :joy:

…ewe shear are funny too :rofl: :sheep:


I am thankful for sheepdogs. But yes, a good explanation of why folks are uncomfortable around them. I definitely feel their aggression and am wary. I grew up when/where most people, even those within my home, showed a propensity toward violence. So no denial of violence in me but watchfulness… does that make me a neurotic sheep?


No it does not. Sheepdogs are humans too. Some have a higher breaking point than others. But when you live the violent life long enough it will take its toll on you and you can snap. In general your average sheep dog, the local policeman for instance is usually pretty laid back but always on alert. I see it often in their reaction when I approach them for any reason. Living on such pins and needles eventually gets to the most stalwart warriors. It is a hard place to come back from. Sadly it is one of the few jobs you cannot leave at the office. It goes wherever you go. Had an uncle who was a big city cop. I remember him coming to visit. He carried his service revolver everywhere. Saw it on the dresser once and asked why. He said nothing but scowled at me. Dad pulled me aside and explained he has to be alert at all times because he will never know when someone might attack him. You put enough people away some of them will seek revenge. Fortunately that never happened but for the rest of his life he could never rest comfortably.

I am no where near that level of alertness but probably way more than the majority of most people. But I am fortunate enough to be able to put it away when I am at home and inside the house. In some cases I am the sheep as well but there is nothing neurotic about having strong situational awareness. It is a good thing to practice always because you never know when you might walk into a dangerous situation. If your senses tell you danger ahead, pay very close attention to them and don’t go there. May be nothing or it could be your last day. Just not a good idea to take a chance. Does not mean you can’t enjoy yourself in this life, just that enjoyment shares equally with alertness.