Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Since I was on the topic of sheeple...

I posted this letter about 6 months ago, but in light of the fact that so many folks are up in arms recently regarding The Marines Corps Recruiting Centers, Iraq, The Border situation, The Flag, the price of tea in China, red Burkha'a as opposed to black Burkhas....and...just about any other cause y'all can think of...I think I'll repost this fer folks who mighta missed me... It's worth yur time...

This letter was written by Charles Grennel and his comrades who are
veterans of the Global War on Terror. Grennel is an Army Reservist who
spent two years in Iraq and was a principal in putting together the
first Iraq elections, January of 2005.

It was written to Jill Edwards, a student at the University of
Washington who did not want to honor Medal of Honor winner Colonel
Greg Boyington with a plaque. Greg Boyington was a graduate of UW,
and a USMC pilot during WW-II. Miss Edwards objection was because he
had killed people. Ms. Edwards and other students (and faculty) do
not think those who serve in the U.S. armed services are good role
models. _________

To: Edwards, Jill (student, UW) Subject: Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs

Miss Edwards, I read of your student activity regarding the proposed
memorial to Col. Greg Boyington, USMC and a Medal of Honor winner. I
suspect you will receive a bellyful of angry e-mails from other
military men like me.

You may be too young to appreciate fully the sacrifices of
generations of servicemen and servicewomen on whose shoulders you and
your fellow students stand. I forgive you for the untutored ways of
youth and your naivete. It may be that you are, simply, a sheep.
There's no dishonor in being a sheep as long as you know and accept
what you are.

William J. Bennett, in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy
November 24, 1997 said: Most of the people in our society are sheep.
They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one
another by accident. We may well be in the most violent times in
history, but violence is still remarkably rare. They are sheep.

Then there are the wolves and the wolves feed on the sheep without
mercy. 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

Then there are sheepdogs. I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock
and confront the wolf. If you have no capacity for violence then you
are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for
violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have
defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a
capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What
do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the
uncharted path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into
the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep.
They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can
accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire
extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout
their kids schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of
putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children
are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured
by school violence than fire, but the sheep's only response to the
possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill
or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the
wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference,
though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm
the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little
lamb will be punished and removed. The world can not work any other
way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as
ours. Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant
reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he
didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand
at the ready in our airports, in camouflage fatigues, holding an
M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his
fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, Baa. Until the wolf shows
up; then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely

The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough
high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not
have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad
kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was
under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and
hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing
kids off of them.

This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf
is at the door. Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when
the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than
ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers
and military personnel? Understand that there is nothing morally
superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be.
Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always
sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at
things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous
battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle.
The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the
sound of the guns when needed, right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep
pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day.

After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is,
most citizens in America said, Thank God I wasn't on one of those
planes. The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, Dear God, I wish I could
have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a
difference. You want to be able to make a difference. There is
nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does
have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to
survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the

There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals
convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious,
predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law
enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically
targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and
lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in
Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to
protect itself. Some people may be destined to be sheep and others
might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe
that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I'm proud
to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was
honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall,
was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell
phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking.
When they learned of the other three passenger planes that had been
used as weapons, Todd and the other passengers confronted the
terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the
passengers, athletes, business people and parents from sheep to
sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an
unknown number of lives on the ground.

There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible
evil of evil men. Edmund Burke.

Only the dead have seen the end of war. Plato

Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of
police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the
sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way,
and so are wolves. They didn't have a choice.

But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you
want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision. If you want to be a
sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must
understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved
ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect
you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are
going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or
love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path,
then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to
dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic,
corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.

This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no
dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a
matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject,
head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior.
Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live
somewhere in between.

Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum,
away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and
appreciating their warriors and the warriors started taking their job
more seriously. It's ok to be a sheep, but do not kick the sheep dog.

Indeed, the sheep dog may just run a little harder, strive to protect
a little better and be fully prepared to pay an ultimate price in
battle and spirit with the sheep moving from baa to thanks.

We do not call for gifts or freedoms beyond our lot. We just need a
small pat on the head, a smile and a thank you to fill the emotional
tank which is drained protecting the sheep. And when our number is
called by The Almighty, and day retreats into night, a small prayer
before the heavens just may be in order to say thanks for letting you
continue to be a sheep. And be grateful for the thousands, millions of
American sheepdogs who permit you the freedom to express even bad