On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs (from the book, On Combat, by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman


Senior Master
Nov 18, 2005
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I had actually emailed Lt. Col. Grossman about this some years ago. His reply - lost in a catastrophic hard disk crash - supported my main contention. He really did believe that people could be categorized that way. And there was a strong cop/soldier as sheepdog bias.

Again, with all due respect to the work he's put in, he is still wrong. People are capable of being aggressive, of defending and of being passive. under different circumstances. His typology is still emotionally loaded. It is still inaccurate. It still implicitly denies the possibility of regular people taking self-protecting actions under extraordinary circumstances without violating type. Given his extensive work in the field it is hard to reach any conclusion except that he had an unspoken agenda. My guess is that he was going for the law enforcement market as his post-Army work has largely been in speaking and training law enforcement.


Yellow Belt
Aug 23, 2008
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But as a LEO yourself, what is your answer not what you belief the Author meant?

My answer is No, I do not think that automatically makes you a sheep. The author of this article speaks to a mostly LEO and Military audience, so that is why the comparison was used....but again, my own opinion is that you can still be a sheepdog without being a soldier or an LEO.


El Oso de Dios!
Lifetime Supporting Member
Mar 5, 2005
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Where the hills have eyes.,and it's HOT!
My answer is No, I do not think that automatically makes you a sheep. The author of this article speaks to a mostly LEO and Military audience, so that is why the comparison was used....but again, my own opinion is that you can still be a sheepdog without being a soldier or an LEO.

And my opinion is that you can be a "wolf," in the fold so to speak......


Senior Master
Mar 15, 2005
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Rich-not at all. I just wanted to get a better insight into what everyone was thinking.

And I want to know if there are people that think we turn into sheep when we hang up our uniform.

Rich Parsons

A Student of Martial Arts
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MTS Alumni
Oct 13, 2001
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Archangel M,

Sir, Please see my replies and understand where I come from for my point of view.

Theres nothing wrong with believing you are in an "elite group"...the Marines have made a way of life of it yet Army soldiers go into battle and die just the same. But I dont begrudge them that. Its part of morale building. And if you believe you are "elite" you should act like it and be held to a higher standard because of it. Being "elite" (if you really deserve the title) is a burden, not a benefit.

As for Marines, I agree they are elite and should feel honored to be called a Marine. End of Story.

I also agree that being elite is a burden to act better. But from my experience msot of the police officers I have meet and dealt with on the street were not elite and were only out to prove their power. By beating, and stealing and threatening people and using their badges and guns to make thier point crystal clear. In case getting hit up side the head with a club or a gun was not enough having one pointed at you is their standard operating procedure.

The locals around me are corrupt and goes all the way up to the top just google Detroit or Flint for Mayor issues and police investigations.

The townships around here see what the bigger cities do and feel empowered, to just as bad. They sell drugs themselves. They date underage high schoolers and when caught they leave the area and then end up coming back later after people have forgotten. The local population that wants to "FEEL SAFE" allows this to continue as they think the brigands will not come to their house as they are not the bad people. But if they get pulled over for speeding or the officer is having a bad day, watch out.

The difference comes when you "throw your weight around", when you treat OTHERS differently or expect special treatment from others. Bottom line is that LEO's DO have powers and responsibilities that "civilians" do not. If believing that they are "elite" and have the responsibility to protect the herd helps them go into dangerous situations...BFD. As long as they treat the public with respect and dont expect special treatment I could care less if thats how a cop feels.

Well I guess I have a problem with how many use the term civilian as if those in that group are nothing but the fish in the bucket they get to target.

As to protecting the herd there may be herds or that mentality, but they also prefer to beat out all opinions that differ from what they are spouting off.

But you see, from my experience about 5% of the LEO population, do treat the population well, the 95% treat them without respect and demand special treatment.

The bottom line is that this hurts the EGO's of people who think that others feel less respect for THEM when that Cop, Soldier, Marine, Boss, Black Belt, etc. enters the room....get over it...who cares what the OTHER guy thinks about himself as long as he is doing what he is supposed to be doing?

This I agree, for I care not what others really think if they truly understand my point. I only care to communicate clearly, so if we disagree you and I both understand what it is we disagree upon.

As to hurt egos though most of the time it is the LEO who has a hurt EGO as I have nto kissed his *** or licked his shoes. (* Yes I have been asked to this in real life and not just a relationship drawing technique. *)

Your feeling is called "insecurity".

No my feeling when a load weapon form someone who has already beat me in the passed has a pointed gun at me is FEAR. I also feel threatened and if possible would stop them from pointing that firearm at me.

I find it funny how people feel like they can spout off about the law and all things law enforcement and throw "just because you are a cop you dont know everything" around or get offended when the resident cop disagrees with them...I wonder if they would argue mathematics with a mathematician or circuits with an electrical engineer with the same tactic.

Yes people do argue with me abotu engineering it happens here and it happens at the coffee shop or bar or restaurant, as everyone thinks they can tell an engineer how to build something better, or ... , .

As to the law, I do not argue with officers, I have let lawyers and or myself in front of judges make the arguement or my point and guess what, I have won more then lost and those I lost, I usually ended up with a different ticket with the same value amount.

Any officer can disagree with me, but when they disagree and point a loaded firearm at me, and I have not been threatening nor loud, but have agreed to do as requested, but I just prefer to wait until a lawyer is present before I make my statement as they had decided to read my rights.

NOTE: Even though I had my rights read to me many times, I have not had any actual charges files of a significant charge, all have been moving violations that have gone to court. Others I have ended up talking to lawyers who talked to ADA's and they dropped all complaints, but the officers continues their actions.

I want my cops believing they are "special" and have responsibilities that other dont. It makes it easier to order them into danger and it makes them easier to discipline..."What did you think you were doing? You know that more is expected of you! When you do that you dishonor the badge?...the "badge"...that thing that makes you GASP! ...DIFFERENT....from others who dont have one. Screw up, loose your job. Have a domestic with your spouse and loose your gun and get punished at work. Get a DWI and have work punish you. That's the way it SHOULD be...the public expects better behavior from you because of the special position you hold.

I wish they could loose their job. Maybe if a few did around here, it might be different.

I get punished at work for a DUI, and also could loose my rights to carry with a Spouse complaint, ... ,.

I agree better behaviour is expected.

I agree better behaviour maybe the norm elsewhere.

But locally it is not.

But locally the behaviour is that of a spoiled rich kid that can get away with crap as everyone knows their daddy can afford the lawyer to get them off.

Just dont go around thinking that you are special though...that pisses people off.

Press hard three copies....

I do not care if they think they are special.

I do care that if they try to intimadate people here or elsewhere that their opinion does not count if they are not a LEO.

I support the person who disagrees with me and has no idea on how they vote other than what people tell them to vote, but that is their right. But, I also support my own rights, and I personally believe that many of the locals and some others I have met elsewhere of the LEO's believe that they have the right to target who they want, and to treat you like scum and not even beginning with minimumal respect that anyone without a firearm would expect.


Senior Master
Aug 21, 2006
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IMO, sheep/sheepdog/wolf is less about your job, vocation or military status and more about WHO YOU ARE.

There are some who are wolves, plain and simple, and it doesn't matter if they join the military or work as a police officer: they prey on the sheep.

There are some who are sheep and it doesn't matter if they serve in the military or wear a badge: they will eventually be spotted by a wolf and better hope those around him really ARE sheepdogs.

And there are those who are sheepdogs, who feel the need to look out for others, who can SEE the weakness of the sheep (just like the wolves see it!) but would NEVER prey on them and are very likely, should a wolf attempt to prey on them in their presence, to DEFEND the sheep whether they are a cop, soldier or NOT.

Whether REAL canine sheepdogs behave this way is not the issue; and working in the slaughtering and dining on sheep alongside the shepherd is taking the metaphor WAY too far.

His metaphor rings true to me.

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