COPYRIGHT 2020 DEBRA LITTLEJOHN SHINDER
You don’t have to be a cop to be a sheepdog. But you ought to be a sheepdog if you’re going to be a cop.
I spent much of the 90s training cop wannabes in the law, practices, tactics, and philosophy of law enforcement, first at the NCTCOG Regional Police Academy in Arlington (where I got my own basic police training from some of the best in the field) and then in the Eastfield College Criminal Justice Center’s basic peace officer certification program.
The people who came into those classes ranged from former active duty military police to kids who knew little about law enforcement beyond what they’d seen on TV. My job was to teach them how to do the almost impossible job of being a good police officer. Another part of my job was to evaluate which of them didn’t belong in LE and help to ensure that only those fit for service ever put on a badge.
Every time a new class began, I knew I was standing up in front of a room containing a lot of sheepdogs, a few sheep, and maybe even a wolf or two. In the world of self-defense, we tend to divide humanity into those three categories — but it’s really not quite that simple.
Sheepdogs and sheep are easy to understand. Some of us are either born or have instilled in us at an early age the sheepdog mentality. Some others come to it later in life, through hard experiences. The sheepdog’s mission is two-fold: to be self-sufficient and able to take care of him/herself, AND to take care of others who aren’t able to do it for themselves.
Most people are born to be sheep. Sheep are generally gentle, kind, caring, and giving. They’ll give you the wool right off of their backs if you want it. They see the best in everyone, and they just want to spend their lives peacefully grazing on the hillside and following the crowd wherever it wanders (or is led).
They often don’t think they need a sheepdog, and sometimes they confuse the sheepdogs with wolves. After all, they look a lot alike in the dark.
Sheepdogs and wolves are both willing and equipped to fight — something sheep avoid if they can. They both often carry weapons, which scare the sheep. They’re both capable of deliberately taking a human life — albeit for very different purposes. Wolves have no hesitancy about killing to get what they want, to further their selfish agendas, to “make a statement,” or just because they enjoy it. Sheepdog will kill only if they must to protect their own lives or the lives of innocents.
The sheep, who don’t understand how vulnerable they are to the wolves, want the sheepdogs to just go away — or better yet, to learn to be sheep.
It’s important to understand that all wolves are not created equal. Some are aggressive high-profile predators who actively target the entire herd of sheep. They rove in packs, emboldened by their numbers.
Others are lone wolves who do their dirty work alone, who enjoy going one-on-one with their victims. Some wolves pretend to be sheepdogs and some pretend to be sheep. Some proudly display what they really are for all to see. Wolves are dangerous – but, believe it or not, they aren’t the most dangerous personality types out there in the wild today.
To complicate things further, there are human animals who don’t fit neatly into the three common categories above.
For example, some folks are Cape Buffalo. They’re pretty benign as long as you leave them alone, but heaven help you if you threat them or their herd. They aren’t wolves; they don’t go looking for trouble. They aren’t sheep; they’re ready and willing to stand up for their rights and kill you if they need to. They aren’t sheepdogs; they don’t give a flip about taking care of other animals. They retreat to their well-secured mountain cabins or rural homes and you won’t see much of them unless you go looking for them — which you’d be well advised not to do.
Some other people are more like raccoons. They’ll sneak in during the night and steal or destroy your stuff, and they’ll bite and scratch you if you catch them at it and challenge them, but under their bravado, they’re afraid of you and they’ll flee if you fight them — unless they happen to be rabid.
If the virus of fear mixed with hatred has taken over their brains, all bets are off. They aren’t thinking, deliberate killers like the wolves, but the fact that they’re acting under the influence of mental confusion makes them even more dangerous. You might be able to appeal to a wolf’s self-interest to save yourself; a rabid raccoon can’t be reasoned with; it only knows it’s in pain and its response to that is to attack and keep attacking until it’s dead.
I won’t go into the more obscure personality types: the possums who “play dead” by never taking sides or speaking up for what they believe so you never know where they stand; the mockingbirds who repeat the songs of whomever they last heard sing and fool you into thinking they’re something they aren’t, then fly away laughing at you; the big cats who observe it all from their perches high on a tree limb, staying out of the fray but ready to pounce if they see an opportunity.
Let’s get back to the sheepdogs who defend society from the criminals and prevent the world from descending into chaos and anarchy — or at least, try to. That’s getting more and more difficult to do as the sheep turn against the sheepdogs because of the few wolves who have slipped through the cracks and are pretending to be sheepdogs — then ironically the sheep run to embrace the pack of wolves who make false promises to bring their fellow wolves to justice but who are actually leading the sheep to slaughter.
And the rabid raccoons are proliferating. A real virus that can infect the body created the perfect environment for the unleashing of a man-made virus of despair and anger that has infected too many minds and souls, driving them to engage in acts of destruction that will eventually lead to their own. And the big cats up there in the trees above it all are smiling, knowing that the wolves and the rapid raccoons will destroy each other, themselves, and maybe the sheepdogs — leaving nothing but the few surviving sheep who won’t oppose their feline masters, who will then be able to rule over them forever.
That is what the sheepdogs are valiantly trying to prevent. That is what the sheep don’t understand. It’s time to wake up and recognize the truth that has been attributed to George Orwell and was paraphrased by Winston Churchill:
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
Thank you to the rough men and women, who have stood through the years and stand today between the monsters and the weak. That includes the police officers and members of the military who are paid to be sheepdog and the many citizens who take it upon themselves to keep the sheep safe from the wolves, the rabid raccoons, and the big cats who are patiently waiting for the chance to pounce on us all.