A true story. A 58-year-old “Ki Suk Han” was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City. Even though 60-90 seconds passed before an oncoming train hit the man, a group of up to eighteen bystanders simply stood on the platform and looked on as the train approached and ran him over. One, a freelance photographer for a New York newspaper, even had time to snap a photo of Han’s last moments.

Six months earlier, 49-year-old Patricia Villa was grabbed and thrown onto the same NYC tracks as was Mr. Han. One of her classmates, Luis Polanco, chased down the attacker, punched him, and then, hearing others yell for someone to save her and that a train was coming, turned and joined a group who pulled her off the tracks.

Two nearly identical situations. In the first, bystanders look on and do nothing as a man is killed. In the second, they step in to save a life. Why do some people ‘freeze up’ and react passively in a crisis, while others take action? Why do some run away from danger and others run toward it?

There are wolves (predators), sheep (potential prey), and sheepdogs (protectors).

Why are some people ‘sheep’ and others ‘sheepdogs’?


The Wolf.

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


The Sheep.

The majority of people in general are sheep. Most human beings in today’s modern world are kind, gentle, and peaceful (although most have not been truly ‘tested’). The conflicts and ethical dilemmas that they regularly face rarely rise to the level of life and death, good versus evil. Mostly, the sheep (sheeple) 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, and demonstrate pro-social behavior.

The sheeple 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.

And just like sheep, most sheeple depend on somebody else to protect and take care of them and keep their relatively placid world around them going smoothly – be it the police, military, or some government administrative agency.

Sheeple avoid the notion that there is evil in the world.


The Sheepdog.

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.

But most people can choose which one they want to be.

It may be okay to be a sheep, but do not kick the sheepdog.

What are your thoughts? It’s an interesting philosophical thought process…
For example, how many sheepdogs may actually be wolves? Can the sheep tell the difference between a wolf and a sheepdog? Are the wolves convincing the sheep to neuter the sheepdogs? How many sheep realize their fate if the sheepdogs are removed from the equation? Etc…

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