As I contemplated what topic to cover for this month’s training article for our newsletter, I thought long and hard about this being Veteran’s Day. While I didn’t enter the military, I have the utmost respect and admiration for those that did. I’ve spent almost thirty years in law enforcement, however, if I could go back and do it all again, I would have entered the military.
So let me start by saying to all veterans, Happy Veteran’s Day, and thank you for your service. I have had the honor of attending Col. Dave Grossman’s lecture to police officers called, “The Bulletproof Mind.” Col. Grossman, the son of a police officer, had an incredible Military career. He has written several books with regards to the warrior mindset, something all law enforcement, security officials and military personnel must have. He has a Ph.D. in psychology and travels around the country delivering a message to warrior-minded people: the kind of people who run toward trouble and the sound of gunfire when others are running away from it.
An interesting concept Col. Grossman talks about is the response to traumatic occurrences. He says, with regards to violence in America, that it has risen at an alarming rate over the past several decades. Statistics are studied and data used to combat the problem of violence in our society. We secure ourselves better now, as a result, with better trained police, security technology, less trust, armed citizens and so on. He goes on to say that in the 1990s, we sustained the longest economic boom in American history and experienced a slight downturn for violent crimes.
However, we still had a fivefold increase in violent crimes since the 1900s. Here is the interesting part. He says, “However, we are not prepared!” “We expect a dog to bite or a snake to strike but we don’t expect a fellow human being to harm us with a violent attack. When we suffer a violent devastating injury from an automobile accident or a natural disaster, we don’t re-act the same as we do when the attack comes from another person. It is personal and we take it that way. Interpersonal human aggression is the most toxic event in a human’s life.
Col. Grossman has an analogy of classifications of people. Now understand, there are exceptions to every rule and there are many heroes and people willing to step up in the critical hour and be the warrior. But his message to military, security and law enforcement officers states that when others flee at the sound of gunfire, the warrior runs toward it. Any other profession could go away and civilization would continue. But if the warrior went away, civilization would no longer exist.
The story of the sheep, the wolf, and the sheepdog goes like this. Ninety-eight percent of people are sheep. They are good, law-abiding citizens willing to help and play fair in life. They are good people, hardworking, loyal and dedicated. The sheep live in denial, however, and are not prepared or ready for a violent attack. Their heads are in the clouds and they refuse to believe anyone or anything could cause them harm.
One percent of people are wolves. They are looking for easy prey. They are relentless, mean, and will attack and destroy. They will bite the necks of the sheep and kill them if they get the chance.
The sheepdog is the other one percent of the population. The sheepdogs are the protectors of the sheep. There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog. He goes along with a call to duty as a protector. He is naturally investigative, is dedicated to his job, and will step up and go to battle at the first sign of trouble. He yearns for a righteous battle. The No. 1 rule of the sheepdog is that he must never, ever, ever harm the sheep. If he does, he is removed from the flock. It is his job to protect the sheep at all cost. Now the sheep would rather the sheepdog not even be around.
The sheep want to go about their business uninterrupted and do what they want. They don’t want to have to be protected-until the wolf comes to the door. The sheep all want to hide behind the sheepdog when the wolf comes knocking. As we continue to do this job as protectors in society, keep in mind that we are in pretty awesome company. The soldiers in America deserve our support as we enjoy the freedoms they have fought and died for. The American police officer and security officials are in the same arena.
We may be in a different setting and geographic terrain, but we are the sheepdogs Col. Grossman is talking about. Thanks for your service.