Sheepdogs (Papacrusher)

The pure, concentrated definition of a sheepdog can be gleaned from the famous quote by George Orwell, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf” (Orwell, n.d.). I first heard this quote as a small child and even then it stirred something dormant within me and even though I did not have a name for what it was, I knew myself to be different. I instinctively knew I was one of those “rough men”, that in time I would, by God’s grace, do what others could not do for themselves. I would evolve into a sheepdog.

Although a complete foreign theory to most, the philosophy of sheepdogs was outlined in great detail by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in his book “On Combat: the psychology and physiology of deadly conflict in war and peace”. Dave Grossman’s definition of a sheepdog is any individual possessing the capacity for violence with a deep love for their fellow citizen (Grossman & Christensen, 2008). The sheepdog exits to be the protector of the sheep, ordinary citizens, and the buffer between the sheep and the wolves, evil men who intend harm on the innocent. In short, sheepdogs are the “rough men” described by George Orwell.

The sheepdog species are filled with those modern day warriors, the police and military. They patrol the buffer zone between the pure evil existing in the world and normal society. Sheepdogs have attributes very similar to the wolves. Sheepdogs have the weapons and propensity for violence just like a wolf, the difference is that the sheepdog has a built in internal barrier that never allows them to harm the innocent. They possess a precise, controlled rage. This rage is channeled to the evils of the world in a constant effort to keep the sheep safe. Another definition in “On Combat” is that a sheepdog is a warrior who can wade into situations universally feared by normal society and not only survive, but thrive in the hostile world inhabited by the evilest of creatures (Grossman & Christensen, 2008).

Dwelling in these inhospitable environments comes with a price. These abilities are usually frowned upon my normal society. Most sheepdogs view their abilities as a curse instead of a gift. Their families do without their fathers and husbands during special occasions and holidays because evil does not take sick days or vacations. The balance must be maintained and order upheld even during family sickness or crisis. If they are not there, who will fill their boots? The sheep do not want to accept that the evil exist and that there is a need for the sheepdog. For this reason, sheepdogs are disliked and avoided by many of the sheep. Contrary to the portrayal by movies and other media, sheepdogs do not engage in these battles because of misguided bravado or machismo. They are not driven by bloodlust or the need to be applauded by the masses. They are compelled by an internal voice, an insatiable need for justice and righteousness. Their mind, body, and soul are unable to rest with evil triumphing within society. They are called by a higher power, not an ego.

The sheepdogs are not morally better than others in society; they just are willing to go where others refuse (Grossman & Christensen, 2008). They do not see themselves as heroes. In their mind, they are doing what any decent man or woman would do, they are doing their duty to society. Even when recognition comes, they would prefer to be out of the limelight. They would prefer to be back in the hunt for the wolf. Their obsession for the hunt is their gift to society. They do the things others cannot. They see things no one should have to. They ensure justice and retribution for those who cannot seek it for themselves. They are the sheepdogs.


Grossman, D., & Christensen, L. W. (2008). On Combat: the psychology and physiology of deadly conflict in war and in peace (3rd ed.). Illinois: Warrior Science Pub.

Orwell, G. (n.d.). BrainyQuote. Retrieved November 19, 2011, from

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