Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs

There are three kinds of people in the world: “wolves, sheep, and sheepdogs.” The sheep who go about their business, the wolf who feeds on the sheep, and the sheepdog who protects the flock.

The origins of the sheepdog analogy comes from Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman’s book,

On Combat

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman credits an “old war veteran” with first telling him about wolves, sheep, and sheepdogs. Like a parable or fable, it helps us understand reality.

The Sheep

“Most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.”

Most have no capacity for violence. You might say that most are peaceful (although most have not been truly ‘tested’).

The conflicts and ethical dilemmas that most people regularly face rarely rise to the level of life and death, good versus evil. Mostly, the sheep deal with challenges that are more annoyances than true crises. And when faced with conflict, they generally try to do the right thing, avoid making waves.

The sheep largely move about with those who are like them, and do as others do. They are content to subsist in a predictable and routine sphere. As they live and graze, they cannot envision anything disrupting their peace or routine, and imagine that each day will proceed like the last.

The Wolf

“Then there are the wolves,” the old war veteran said, “and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy.”

If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. 

Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

They are the the predators. The criminals. The ‘bad’ element. There are evil men (and yes, women) in this world, and they are capable of evil deeds. The wolf will prey and feed on the sheep without mercy. They have a capacity for violence and no empathy. They are aggressive sociopaths.

The Sheepdog

Then there are the sheepdogs. They live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.

The sheepdog looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog is not intent on harming the sheep. Instead, the sheepdog will protect the flock.

The sheepdog is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night.

A sheepdog, a warrior, often walks the un-sheltered path, and will confront the wolf.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog, and they pretend that the wolf will never come.

Some people may be destined to be sheep while others might be genetically disposed to be wolves or sheepdogs.

[ Read: Don’t Ever, Never, Trust The Scorpion ]