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Is Sheepdog, Is Not Sheepdog?

Is Sheepdog, Is Not Sheepdog?

Dave Grossman‘s concept of the “sheepdog” has had a big influence on both civilian concealed and law enforcement. The idea is that there are three kinds of people in the world*: Sheep, who will not or can not take responsibility for the own safety, the wolves who prey on them, and sheepdogs, who protect the flock.

Sounds good, right? I mean, we who carry a defensive pistol wherever we can are The Sheepdogs… one of the few who have chosen to stand in the gap at Thermopylae and defend what’s important to us.

The Few. The Proud. The Sheepdogs.

But the reality of the situation is a little bit different. The agenda of a sheepdog is to do the bidding of his master, not the will of the flock, and the flock only does his bidding because they’re afraid of him, and think he’s a wolf. So when we say we’re sheepdogs, we are separating ourselves from the very people we know and love.

This is not what I had in mind when I started to carry a gun. I didn’t do this to separate myself from my family, I did it to be a better father to my children and husband to my wife. I protect my flock because I am part of the flock, and I leave the sheepdogging to others. My goal is to quietly live my life and to be sheer bloody hell on anyone who would cause us harm. I’m not a sheepdog outside of the flock, I’m a ram who’s inside the flock, looking to butt heads with the best of them, should the need arise.


* Actually, there are only two kinds of people in the world: Those who can extrapolate conclusions from incomplete data

This Post Has 23 Comments
  1. * Actually, there are only two kinds of people in the world: Those who can extrapolate conclusions from incomplete data

    …what you did there.

  2. I prefer the image of a family Lab. I have the claws and the teeth readily at hand, but I’m just not interested in herding sheep and chasing wolves as an occupation. I trained with the sheepdogs – truly I did. Threaten me or mine and I’l show you that training. Just because I’ve adopted the family does not mean that I’ve forgotten the skillset.

  3. Actually, there are 10 kinds of people in the world: Those who can count in binary and those who cannot.

  4. Have you ever seen James Cromwell in “Babe?” The Shepherd doesn’t have to be a mean and nasty Wolf all the time. I was taught by David Carradine (who died from auto erotic asphyxiation I think) “Balance young grasshopper.” The sheepdog and shepherd work in balance with the flock. They Love the Flock and will go to great, great lengths, even to the point of sacrificing their very own lives, to save just one of even the littlest of them. But, it ain’t all sunshine and daisies neither. Sometimes for the good of the flock they need to be more like the Wolf, a bit; tap in to that primordial self protection and survival streak to protect from real Wolves, from natural disasters and emergency situations and sometimes, from the Flock’s own fears, errors and misjudgments. So I’d say a Hybrid in that you’re a Papa Ram, who, when all avenues to avoid lethal self defense have been exhausted and the entirety of the universe requires you to act as death’s messenger you ACT Appropriately and use every tool at your disposal to protect the Flock. When the threat ends, you cautiously retire the Flock to safety. Brutality is reality, unfortunately real. In “Fury” Brad Pitt tells the new kid, “Ideals are Peaceful. History is violent.” There’s a lot more, but I really liked the article as I learned about sheep, wolves and Sheepdogs when I watched Chris Kyle’s story as told by Clint Eastwood at the beginning of “American Sniper.” We definitely need more and better trained sheepdogs but, I see that more as sworn law enforcement, military, security services and such. I really like the “Ram” angle for CCW. Plus, you know at night it can get a little cold out there and ………

    1. No… ain’t all sunshine. It’s a big responsibility and adults are willing to take it on for to protect the flock….especially when judges make stupid comments like “the police don’t have to protect you” (paraphrased) as in the Parkaland case when officers from another town had to walk by the one skulking to enter the school. The other issue is response time of an officer.

  5. I first heard this analogy in the context of the War in Iraq. It seemed appropriate there for the military, because they really weren’t part the flock.

  6. Sheepdogs protect the flock so that the sheepdogs’ master is the only one who can shear them and slaughter them. The analogy is quite apt, even if unintentionally so when applied to police.

  7. I first encountered the wolf-sheep-sheepdog concept in a James Schmitz novel that I think dated back to the 1950s. I suspect, but cannot prove, that it may have originated with John W. Campbell. @_@

  8. It’s the concept of the herd bull and alpha female. They defend the herd. Predators avoid them.

  9. Life is a game of Smear the Queer. If they were your friends they’d be shoulder to shoulder with you

  10. Robert Benchley said there are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide all of humanity into two categories and those who don’t.

    1. And the 1911 is the still the ultimate self-defensive firearm, and the push-pull Weaver is still the best shooting stance.
      Oh, and “they all fall to hardball” is still the best way to choose a defensive ammunition round.
      That too.

  11. Having watched the country change over nearly 40 years LE, for the worse, I have come to the conclusion that a sheepdog that bites even for good reason gets put down. For instance recently a “good guy” with a gun was shot by police running through a reported active shooter incident. Outside the noted “accident” how you will be treated after an incident where you use the force the state had decided you shall not be allowed, (even if you are in the right) by the occupation government at all levels civil and criminal as well as public mobs makes protecting anyone other than your family or close friends an extremely bad idea. Sad for sure but that is the reality decided upon in aggregate by our owners in government. If you are involved in a use of force incident, the police are not your friends not the media or lookers on. Lawyer UP and Shut up.

  12. These days I fear the professional sheepdog a heck of a lot more than the wolf. The wolf I can handle. The wolf kicks in my door at 2am I don’t receive the death penalty from the State for defending myself and my family. Or instead shot in cold blood along with my dog and then my executioners are never even charged because reasons.

    I’m sure Daniel Shaver would agree but he was unavailable for comment.

  13. I really don’t care about the flock that is content to stuff itself and ignore the danger that threatens. I am not enamored of a flock that will not defend itself against evil. I will not support those that engage in happy fantasies that will bring disaster and ruin.

    Those that depend on me are prepared to do what is necessary to live happily. Those who work with me share values that do not extend to those that negotiate with cancer or seek to accommodate leprosy. We will not seek the approval of others nor their support. We do not seek the guidance of a fearless leader nor some self appointed elite. Your sheep dog is going to be sleeping when needed.

    My family and clan will defend its values, property and happiness without the sanction or approval of those who have no stake in our survival or well being.

    I suggest people realize they better depend on themselves or wind up victims of those who profess to be society’s protectors.

    1. I’m with you. I will not sacrifice one thing to protect people who have voluntarily surrendered their personal independence for dependence upon some State that will be his/her mother, father. I marvel at these people who move from areas that are high crime and dangerous only to vote for the same stupid laws and policies that created the hell hole they came from. It’s bad enough that I have to breath the same air they breath, I certainly am not going to sacrifice one thing of mine for their benefit. From my Scotch-Irish ancestry: family, community, country in that order.

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