06 March 2008


Once upon a time, I don't remember where, I read about sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs.

I'm not going to explain the difference, I will instead direct you here to read about it.

Sometime later on I read, I believe it was in a comments section somewhere, someone saying he didn't believe all that stuff about sheep and sheepdogs.

Just like the moon landing, the earth as a globe, and the earth circling the sun, facts do not concern themselves with our ability or willingness to believe them. They just are, and they will always be, regardless of our feelings.

Some time ago I saw a video where a Marine was pontificating on the general public's inability to understand that cursing in boot camp is a relatively minor and trivial thing. His point was that training someone to be a warrior is not a nice process, and the cursing is the least part of it.

You can be transformed from sheep to sheepdog, but as the good Sargent said, it's not a nice process. Your entire worldview must be destroyed before your very eyes, your understanding of the world as a nice safe place full of fuzzy bunnies must be done away with and the understanding that the fuzzy bunnies exist only because the predators are being compelled to stay away must be drilled into you.

You must be brought to understand that the predators will stop at nothing to get their prey, it is how they exist. Then and only then may you be introduced to the concept of you as the shield that keeps those predators away from the fuzzy bunnies.

Something that the training leaves out is the fact that the fuzzy bunnies are largely unaware of the shield being in place, and that when they learn of the shield they are as fearful of it as they are of the predators - even more so in fact.

You see, they have never seen the predators, because the shield is there. Therefore they do not have to believe in the predators. The shield, however, is a real and tangible thing, something that they cannot ignore, and because of that they fear it.

Substitute "sheep" for "fuzzy bunnies", "wolves" for "predators", and "sheepdogs" for "shield" in the example, and the analogy is complete.

I highly recommend you read all of the essays at Bill Whittle's place because he explains all of this with the detail and elegance that I lack. Be prepared to spend a couple of days there.

Jack Nicholson's character in "A Few Good Men" explains this very well. Unfortunately, once again Hollywood has used it for a punchline. How ironic that they point it out in the movie. How ironic, as well, that Jack himself has used clips from that very film to endorse the Clinton candidacy. The height of that irony is most likely wasted on Mr. Nicholson. It was, after all, simply a role that he played.

I myself am a retired sheepdog, but I stand and salute all of you that are still out there, guarding that wall. Be you military, police or firefighter I salute you.

God bless you all for the jobs that you do.

Sheepdog and wolf image from Warner Brothers


Aaron said...

Retired sheepdog? I'm afraid not, shipmate. Like me, you took that oath for life. Maybe we're not getting deployed any more, but we still can and should do our part on the homefront.

Our blogs are just one small example of things we can do. Being willing and able to intervene to the benefit of a complete stranger is another.

Once a sheepdog, always.

Larry said...

You are right, of course. Perhaps what I should have said is I'm no longer in the game, although the instincts are still there.
Thanks for dropping by!