LTC Dave Grossman author of On Killing wrote of an analogy told to him by an old Retired Colonel. This analogy compares the general population, Law enforcement/Military, and people who wish others harm, to sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves. In short, this comparison talks about how the vast majority of the population are sheep; in that, they would never intentionally hurt anyone. Law enforcement and Military are the sheepdogs, who watch over the sheep, ready to do violence to anyone that may try to harm the flock. Lastly, the wolves, these are the people that prey on the innocent through crime and violence. This has become a very popular analogy, especially in the law enforcement community, complete with cool t-shirts and bumper stickers so we can constantly remind ourselves that we are noble heroes that will charge toward danger at a moments notice. Don’t get me wrong, I love the analogy, and it fits within context. The problem I see is that people fail to recognize that this analogy is more of a mindset comparison and not a physical comparison. LTC. Grossman talks about being a sheepdog is a decision, not an assignment handed out by some genetic code. You see, unlike real sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves, people are all physically the same creature. Merely by deciding to go from sheep to sheepdog does not automatically make you grow fangs and long claws, with the speed and agility to hunt the mighty wolf. You’re still physically a soft, fluffy sheep.
The thing that truly separates us other than our mindset is education and training. As I began to commit myself to teach the law enforcement community, I began to see a pattern. A pattern of officers, who are great human beings, who would run toward danger at a moment’s notice, who are true sheepdogs. With one problem. They do so with all the training of an everyday sheep, sheep chasing down the wolves. I would make an argument that this is even more dangerous than simply being a sheep wandering about the field minding my own business and simply hoping that the wolf never comes. Law enforcement, however, does not have the option. We all raised our hand, voluntarily, and said we will find the danger, seek out the bad and violent and run straight toward it. So how is it that the people that have chosen such a path in life are so reluctant to prepare for this moment? To put time on the range, draw your pistol from your holster and get some dry fire time in, to put added time and money into learning self-defense or a martial art or simply lift some weights. It truly bothers me to see brothers and sisters from all over have to be dragged into a defensive tactics training, and reluctantly go through the motions to the absolute minimum. When in reality, they might learn something that could save their life. From the bottom of my heart, I truly have a deep-seated love and respect for anyone that would choose the life of a sheepdog. Sheepdogs are not only Police Officers, Soldiers, but anyone out there prepared to defend their fellow man. But, I implore you to make sure you’re not just a sheep chasing wolves. Be prepared, get more sleep, eat a little cleaner, workout, train with and be proficient with all your weapons, and learn something about how to effectively put your hands on someone. Do these things even if it means a sacrifice of money or time. You, your partners, your family, and your community are worth it. Run toward enough wolves you’re going to catch one eventually, know what to do with it. I write this, knowing that I have a lot of work to do on myself. I will never be satisfied with the level at which I operate, and I have so much room for improvement. My business partner and I are always students first, looking to learn new things.
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