Are you a Sheep or a Sheepdog?
One of the finest essays I have ever read. I am reminded of a quote
I read by some GI a long time ago. There are men of a tough persuasion
who are willing to take care of the kinds of situations that ordinary
people can't. THEY ARE CALLED SOLDIERS.
Please read the whole letter. This is absolutely outstanding!!!!
>>> Are you a sheep, or a sheepdog?--Excellent
>>> article--the best I've ever read. This letter was written by
>>> Grennel and his comrades who are veterans of the Global War On
>>> Terror. Grennel is an Army Reservist who spent two years in Iraq and
>>> was a principal in putting together the first Iraq elections in
>>> January of 2005.
>>> It was written to Jill Edwards, a student at the University of
>>> Washington who did not want to honor Medal of Honor winner USMC
>>> Colonel Greg Boyington.
>>> Ms. Edwards and other students (and faculty) do not think those who
>>> serve in the U.S. armed services are good role models.
>>> To: Edwards, Jill (student, UW)
>>> Miss Edwards, I read of your "student activity" regarding the
>>> proposed memorial to Col. Greg Boyington, USMC and a Medal of Honor
>>> winner. I suspect you will receive a bellyful of angry e-mails from
>>> conservative folks like me.
>>> You may be too young to appreciate fully the sacrifices of
>>> generations of servicemen and servicewomen on whose shoulders you
>>> and your fellow students stand. I forgive you for the untutored ways
>>> of youth and your naivete. It may be that you are, simply, a sheep.
>>> There's no dishonor in being a sheep - - as long as you know and
>>> accept what you are.
>>> William J. Bennett, in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy
>>> November 24, 1997 said: "Most of the people in our society are
>>> sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt
>>> one another by accident." 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.
>>> Then there are the wolves 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
>>> good or safety in denial.
>>> Then there are sheepdogs 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 uncharted path. Someone who can walk into the heart
>>> of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out
>>> 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? 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." 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 they learned of the other three passenger planes
>>> that had been used as weapons, Todd and the other passengers
>>> confronted the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation
>>> occurred among the passengers - athletes, business people and
>>> -- 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.
>>> 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. Its ok to be a sheep, but do not
>>> kick the sheep dog. Indeed, the sheep dog may just run a little
>>> harder, strive to protect a little better and be fully prepared to
>>> pay an ultimate price in battle and spirit with the sheep moving
>>> from "baa" to "thanks".
>>> We do not call for gifts or freedoms beyond our lot. We just need
>>> a small pat on the head, a smile and a thank you to fill the
>>> emotional tank which is drained protecting the sheep. And when our
>>> number is called by "The Almighty", and day retreats into night, a
>>> small prayer before the heavens just may be in order to say thanks
>>> for letting you continue to be a sheep. And be grateful for the
>>> thousands - - millions - - of American sheepdogs who permit you the
>>> freedom to express even bad ideas.
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