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Thread: Sheep and sheep dogs

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    Sheep and sheep dogs

    I am not sure how many people have read or heard this before, but our Platoon leader had us all read it in our platoon, and it's pretty good, so i wanted to share it with you.

    On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs - Dave Grossman

    By LTC (RET) Dave Grossman, author of "On Killing."
    Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always,even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? - William J. Bennett - in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997

    One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me:

    "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident." This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another. Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

    Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

    I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful.? For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

    "Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "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 denial.

    "Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and 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 hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed

    Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. 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 denial.

    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 cannot 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 sheepdog.

    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? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?

    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." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. 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 population. 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 he learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd dropped his phone and uttered the words, "Let's roll," which authorities believe was a signal to the other passengers to confront 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

    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.

    For example, many officers carry their weapons in church.? They are well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt holsters tucked into the small of their backs.? Anytime you go to some form of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf appears to massacre you and your loved ones.

    I was training a group of police officers in Texas, and during the break, one officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The other cop replied, "I will never be caught without my gun in church." I asked why he felt so strongly about this, and he told me about a cop he knew who was at a church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999. In that incident, a mentally deranged individual came into the church and opened fire, gunning down fourteen people. He said that officer believed he could have saved every life that day if he had been carrying his gun. His own son was shot, and all he could do was throw himself on the boy's body and wait to die. That cop looked me in the eye and said, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?"

    Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would probably scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for "heads to roll" if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids' school did not work. They can accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards against them.

    Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog quietly asks himself, "Do you have and idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?"

    It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up.

    Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: you didn't bring your gun, you didn't train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by your fear helplessness and horror at your moment of truth.

    Gavin de Becker puts it like this in Fear Less, his superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our current world situation: "...denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn't so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling."

    Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level.

    And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes. If you are warrior who is legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today. No one can be "on" 24/7, for a lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself...

    "Baa."

    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. The degree to which you move up that continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved ones will survive, physically and psychologically at your moment of truth.

  2. #2
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    First, a note that the work has been posted, and discussed, until some of us are actually tired of seeing it come up again. But I understand how folks coming across it for the first time - especially if they are new to firearms - are attracted to it. Therefore, I'm not going to throw a penalty flag for repetition.

    Second, and more importantly, I'm going to try to keep my rant short and sweet.

    I AM NOT A SHEEPDOG! I HOPE YOU ARE NOT A SHEEPDOG! IF YOU ARE A SHEEPDOG I WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU!!!

    Sheepdogs are hired by shepards to watch over property that does not belong to the sheepdog, and the only moral obligation the sheepdog has regarding the sheep is regarding receiving pay for labor performed.

    I carry a firearm because I am not physically capable of defending myself from a lethal attack by any other means. Whle I have training and practice in hand-to-hand combat and training and experience in a few martial arts, I am no longer strong enough, fast enough, nor have the endurance to use those skills and have any expectation of coming out alive, let alone the victor, in a struggle with someone trying to kill me or inflict serious bodily injury. Further, I am not officially diagnosed as being physically disabled, which means that other people recognize that I cannot do a lot of the stuff that others, even of my advanced age, can do.

    In addition to desiring to provide for my own defense I have made both intellectual and moral decisions that I will make every effort to come to the defense of certain individuals whom I care about. but the same limitations on my ability to do so without the use of a firearm apply there as with my own defense.

    As for the rest of humanity? Well, on an intellectual plane I feel sad when I hear of folks getting hurt or killed because they could not effectively defend themselves, and I become angry over the decisions of folks who prevented tem from being able to defend themselves effectively. But am I/was I, like the sheepdog, morally or ethically responsible to defend them? Nope! No way! There was no contract between me and them, and no exchange of things of value to secure my service in their time of need.

    OK, I said I'd keep the rant short, so I'll end it about here. You want a sheepdog, you go out and hire one and keep your side of the contract. You want me to be your sheepdog, be prepared for an exhorbitant price to be asked, seeing as how much being one is going to take out of my already limited resources and capabilities.

    I'm all for folks that decide to protect themselves and their own famliy, and maybe extend it to some others of their clan. But to say I'm/you're a sheepdog and therefore responsible for the whole flock? No way!

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

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    I agree with skid and donny, and I will also add that while the repugnant expression "sheepdog" is most often and most disturbingly used by the armed members of the government caste (LE and military) to refer to themselves, it is similarly disheartening when I hear gun-carrying citizens (although, most often of the "CC-only" variety) use the language of elitism. Until and unless a person asks for your help for a specific reason, leave them be! You do not get to become their protector simply because you want to abrogate that role to yourself. This is something that our "servants" in the government would do well to understand.

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    Regular Member jimd_21's Avatar
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    Sheep dog.....NO! My view and this is my opinion and mine alone, If i had to view myself i would prefer The Elk or Deer. One who can move freely among the land and who know's who the real predators are. Who know's were to eat and drink safely and roam without problems. And when gun shots ring thru the country side, to stay hidden and safe the best way i know how. I know you can't protect from everything but you can avoid the most probable and sometime's fate is just not in your corner. But Fate can be on your side.
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    Regular Member MamaLiberty's Avatar
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    I own this life and body. I am responsible for it and my safety. That's why I carry a gun. That's why I lock my doors. That's why I remain aware of my surroundings and avoid tempting fate by going into situations I know I can't deal with. Nevertheless, I would rather take responsibility for myself and fail than to be required to count on anyone else.

    I don't need or want any "sheepdogs." They can certainly hire themselves out to those who refuse to be responsible for themselves, but they need to stay away from me.
    I will not knowingly initiate force. I am a self owner.

    Let the record show that I did not consent to be governed. I did not consent to any constitution. I did not consent to any president. I did not consent to any law except the natural law of "mala en se." I did not consent to the police. Nor any tax. Nor any prohibition of anything. Nor any regulation or licensing of any kind.

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    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    Would it offend anyone if I said, "this is the gayest thing I've ever read?" Because I won't say it if it offends anyone...
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by schlitz View Post
    would it offend anyone if i said, "this is the gayest thing i've ever read?" because i won't say it if it offends anyone...
    lol!

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    Regular Member rodbender's Avatar
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    My wife called me a sheepdog a couple of days ago. Wait, maybe that's because I need a haircut.
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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    While I've seen parts of the essay before, this is the most complete copy I've come across.
    And like others, I'm not a sheepdog.
    I'm an armed sheep. A sheep with fangs. (Fenton: Death Sheep From Hell)
    I carry to protect myself, & I'll protect any child.
    (As well as family or friends who don't object to firearms.)

    Other adults mostly have the same choices I do in re self-protection.
    Who am I to override their well-reasoned choices, made thoughtfully & considering their own situation & beliefs?

    Now, in reality would I stand by & watch someone being beaten to death, or raped?
    Doubt it. Not if I thought I could intervene & help the victim w/o being harmed myself.
    (A firearm is a distance tool, after all.)
    But it's not automatic. It's not my purpose in life, my purpose for carrying.
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    I understand the idea of defining society in terms of sheep, sheepdogs and wolves. What needs defined is the flock.

    I am the sheepdog for my flock (when my wife lets me). My flock is simply my family.

    For you, your family, your friends, your employees, your customers...I don't give a flock.

    I'm going to get myself and my flock out of harms way. The unarmed can wait on the police.

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    Founder's Club Member Brass Magnet's Avatar
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    I feel I'm more like a good family dog.

    He is sometimes guilty of humping a leg or two. (Everyone has their faults )
    He doesn't go out looking for trouble beyond something stinky to roll in or a bird or squirrel to chase.
    He greets strangers cautiously but warms up to them when he decides there's no threat.

    But; if you are stupid enough to break in to his family's house at 2AM or show agression towards him and his, he'll make you wish you hadn't.
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    Regular Member SFCRetired's Avatar
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    As others have said, I am a sheepdog only for my family. My first instinct, if not at home, when trouble arises is to get the flock out of here. If, for whatever reason, I cannot move the family away from the threat, then I will be standing between them and the threat. At home, I am going to put family members in the safest room in the house and then I am going to take whatever action is necessary to end the threat.

    Bottom line is that I most devoutly pray that I am never in the position of having to pull the trigger on another human being, but I am convinced that I could and would if I or my family were threatened.

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    Regular Member Bikenut's Avatar
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    I am not a sheep for I do not mill around with the flock with my attention on fitting in with the flock.

    I am not a wolf for I do not prey on the sheep.

    I am not a sheepdog for I do not have the responsibility to protect the sheep... nor do I have any desire to fight the wolf.

    I am a stray dog... I am warily friendly to the sheep and I avoid the wolf as I fend for myself yet I will fiercely fight to protect those I love... from both wolf and sheep.

    That said... I don't like using the word "sheep" because it is derogatory to people who need to be educated that they too can defend from the "wolf".

    The word "wolf" is an accurate term for predatory criminals so I have no problem with that one.

    And the word "sheepdog" sounds so nice... to be someone who protects the weak and innocent... but the truth is... it is the "sheepdogs" job and responsibility to protect the flock but it is not my job or responsibility to protect other citizens just because I carry a gun. I can choose to protect other citizens because of my individual morals and ethics... but I am not obligated to... it still isn't my job or responsibility... hence I am not a "sheepdog".

    Besides... has anyone considered the possibility that the sheep have given up their freedom and agreed to allow themselves to be controlled by the sheepdog in exchange for the promise of protection? Sound familiar?
    Gun control isn't about the gun at all.... for those who want gun control it is all about their own fragile egos, their own lack of self esteem, their own inner fears, and most importantly... their own desire to dominate others. And an openly carried gun is a slap in the face to all of those things.

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    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    This has been raised here many times before. We're all stray dogs, and we're sheepdogs to whatever extent we choose to be. For some, not at all. For others, only to our families. Still others, to friends and neighbors. Even others, to anyone who's around us.

    A sheepdog is a noble profession! I'd much rather be a sheepdog than a criminal.
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

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    Regular Member OldCurlyWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donny View Post
    I'm tired of that sheepdog crap. It's nothing more than yet another way for many gun carriers to aggrandize themselves...

    Then you are obviously not one, never have been one and never will be one. And have no understanding of what it is to be one.

    You sound like my SIL. He has me wondering where certain parts of him are.
    I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do those things to other people and I require the same of them.

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    What about bears?
    I wanna be a bear

    Bears are normally ok as long as you don't get to close and don't make em mad.

    I love my family, and I love my (legally next weekend, papers and wedding lol) wife, and I have no doubt that if I had to (and only if I felt that I absolutely had no other option) protect my wife or family with deadly force I would.

    When it comes to anyone else the situation would be different.
    Would I stop a crime if I could? Yes, but only if it doesn't put my life in a dangerous situation.

    I am not out to protect everyone, just me and my family, but I suspect my inner nice guy and desire to help people would come out if I ever was in a situation involving others.

    It was a good read though.

  17. #17
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldCurlyWolf View Post
    Then you are obviously not one, never have been one and never will be one. And have no understanding of what it is to be one.

    You sound like my SIL. He has me wondering where certain parts of him are.
    Don't be so sure of yourself.

    Am not now one. Used to be one. Probably too old & busted up to qualify to be one again. Pretty sure I have a better, deeper and more articulatable understanding than you do, but there's no need to get into a contest to see whose stream is longer or smellier over that.

    Now if your SIL has reservations/objections over defending himself, let alone anyone else, against violence then I'd suggest you help him understand why that notion will get him hurt rather than put him down on some gun board. And if you have made the effort and he still does not want to be responsible for his own defense then perhaps your best response is to take out a large life insurance policy on him but otherwise avoid him as being dangerous to both himself and to you.

    If you were a true sheepdog you would recognize that the SIL is in fact a sheep and it is in fact your job to defend him not in spite of but because he is a sheep. Seems there is a large defect in your sheepdogedness.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

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    Campaign Veteran GLOCK21GB's Avatar
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    I like Wolves, I guess I consider myself a Wolf....Loyal to my Pack & will protect & provide for my pack to the death if need be...
    http://youtu.be/xWgVGu3OR4U AACFI, Wisconsin / Minnesota Carry Certified. Action Pistol & Advanced Action pistol concepts + Urban Carbine course. When the entitlement Zombies begin looting, pillaging, raping, burning & killing..remember HEAD SHOTS it's the only way to kill a Zombie. Stockpile food & water now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by donny View Post
    I'm tired of that sheepdog crap. It's nothing more than yet another way for many gun carriers to aggrandize themselves...
    I couldn't agree more.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldCurlyWolf View Post
    Then you are obviously not one, never have been one and never will be one. And have no understanding of what it is to be one. ...
    I detect a hint of self aggrandizing. Carrying and buying into this sheepdog bs have no real connection.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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    Regular Member MyWifeSaidYes's Avatar
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    Hmm. I may have to retract my statement about being a sheepdog for my family if that indicates my family are sheep. That's just wrong. My wife would also defend her family with her life. My children are all trained in basic self-defense as well as gun use and safety. One has already displayed a willingness to defend his family.

    Heh. We are a pack of stray sheepdogs!

  22. #22
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyWifeSaidYes View Post
    Hmm. I may have to retract my statement about being a sheepdog for my family if that indicates my family are sheep. That's just wrong. My wife would also defend her family with her life. My children are all trained in basic self-defense as well as gun use and safety. One has already displayed a willingness to defend his family.

    Heh. We are a pack of stray sheepdogs!
    How about you are just a pack? Willing and able to defend each of your selves and able and willing to defend the other members of the pack, as well as do all sorts of other things that are to the mutual benefit of the pack. Possibly not purebred, but certainly not stray as you all have a home and someone besides yourself to help take care of you.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

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