I’m in the Military. You may have picked up on that by now, but I state that in the vain hope that the population of my blog readers may have increased from 2 to 3 and that person is one that doesn’t know me. But, I digress.
Being in the military, I’ve been in a long time…and in a lot of different units. I have met a lot of people that think they are “sheepdogs,” but are, in fact, not Sheepdogs. They are sheep. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Sheep are good people. This isn’t a moral comparison. Allow me to explain to that one new reader the concept of the Sheepdog.
Humans can be broken down into three groups: sheep, sheepdog, and the wolf. The sheep that I am referring to are not the type of people who watch the news with a mindless acceptance. No, these sheep are honest people who go about their lives. They are kind, decent people who would never hurt anyone intentionally. That is noble, don’t ever forget that.
Then there is the Wolf. The Wolf is the person who is capable of violence. Wolves feed on the sheep without mercy. They are criminals, bullies, con artists, sociopaths. They come in many flavors.
And then we have the Sheepdog. Like a wolf, the sheepdog is also capable of violence. They live to protect the sheep and confront the wolf. They are only capable of violence to protect that which they love.
But being a sheepdog is not a job. It’s not a hobby, or a state of mind. It’s a calling. Like the wolf lives for the kill, the sheepdog lives to protect. Sheepdogs train when they are not engaged. Train, train, train. This is where people don’t realize the difference. Many in the profession of arms do not practice. Some Police Officers are good investigators, great with reports, but loath patrolling. The truth is, a lot of police officers don’t mess with their service pistols until it’s time for their annual qualification. Many in the military are happy not going on a combat mission. Supply Sergeants, Pay officers, clerks, mechanics, commo guys, even some armor guys and infantry seek out the easy jobs. Many who are in the tough jobs don’t train very hard. When it’s the earliest sign of quitting, they are tagging out. These guys are not sheepdogs, but they like to think they are. I have to push my Soldiers to actually do more than the minimum of training with their weapons. Scoring the lowest qualification is just fine with them, a validation of their mediocrity.
Personally, I like getting out of the foxhole. At my age, sleeping on the ground is pretty rough. But when I do a combat patrol, I want to rehearse and plan and rehearse some more. And then I want to act on that plan, and accomplish the mission by adapting. No excuses.
Likewise, a lot of people who have CPL’s (CCW’s for who are not blessed to be a Michigander), think themselves as a “sheepdog,” but also are not. Yes, they got a license to carry a pistol. But do they they train actively? I don’t mean going to the range and practicing marksmanship. Sheepdogs practice defensive marksmanship, accuracy, stress shooting, first aid, even Krav Maga or some other form of self defense. Like I said, Sheepdog live to protect and confront. If they aren’t fighting, they are training. It doesn’t have to be constant, or obsessive. But the vast majority of CPL holders don’t care to take any advanced training and don’t care to.
A sheepdog trains for the day. He looks forward to training with other people, to learn new tricks. He can also be a she, too. Just saying. Anyway…it’s a calling. It’s a condition of the heart. Dry fire drills, taking classes, reading books, training….it’s a never ending cycle. But then again, it’s a calling. And if you are not living that calling, then you are not a sheepdog. But you can be.
That’s the thing. There is a little sheepdog in all of us. And there is a lot of sheep in all of us. And the truth is, each of us is capable of being a wolf, too. So no one is morally superior to the others, not by a long shot. If you are a sheepdog and stop training, take your mind off the mission and…next thing you know, you are living a normal life of a sheep. A sheep can start training and become a sheepdog. It’s not a profession, it’s a calling. A sheepdog can be an accountant and still train and keep an eye out. And all of us can be a wolf if we let the darkness inside of us win the day. Being a sheep/wolf/sheepdog is not so much something that you are, but what you do.
So get out there and do it.