The murderous disaster in Las Vegas just happened. Right on the heels of two hurricanes to hit the mainland and a third one that took out Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. So much catastrophe in a short space of time that it’s almost incomprehensible for many of us. Disaster leaves most of us hysterical, running around in blind panic.
This story is about those gallant, brave Americans who do the opposite. The hundreds of Americans who immediately raced to the hurricane sites to save people, the Cajun Navy and others who towed boats to the scene to rescue, offer aid and comfort, the 16,000 Americans currently in Puerto Rico putting that country back together again as they shuttle food, water and medical supplies to the far-reaches of the islands while rebuilding the decimated infrastructure (which, incidentally, the media seldom covers).
And then there’s Vegas. In the midst of all the panic, there were many Americans who ran TOWARDS the gunfire to save people, to shuttle them off the killing field to hospitals. This is a tribute to those Americans – some of them wear uniforms, some of them used to wear uniforms and some of them just instinctively want to help. Even at their own peril. This story is a tribute the the finest among us – the ones we can always count on, no matter what the catastrophe – and there are thousands of them in our country, as we see every time there’s any kind of disaster. God Bless America and God Bless those Americans.
I’d like to paraphrase a story for you by Lt. Col (Ret) Dave Grossman, a Vietnam veteran:
“Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident.” What this means is the vast majority of Americans, despite the crime statistics that assault us daily, are not inclined to hurt each other, no matter the provocation.
“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 – we just witnessed it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it isn’t so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.
“Then there are the sheepdogs, who 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.”
“The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. 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.” We see this so clearly these days in our current society where many in our government, our citizens and our enemies would like to deprive Americans of any means of self-protection to make us easier to overthrow.
“Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind the lone sheepdog.”
“Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just something one chooses 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.
“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 of the 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.” On 9/11, Todd Beamer was a sheepdog with his “Let’s roll . . ” and it had a profound impact on all of us, didn’t it?
Our young warriors, our law enforcement officers and many of our citizens today, our sheepdogs, who have been transformed into warriors through tragedy and who have truly invested themselves into warriorhood, want to be there. They want to be able to make a difference, just as the old warriors before them and Todd Beamer did more recently. We owe everything we are and everything we have to our warriors, our sheepdogs, whoever they may be. Make no mistake about it.
And the next time you see a police officer, first responder, fireman or anyone in a military uniform in your town, go up, shake his/her hand and say, “Thank You.” It’s about time we started supporting the underpaid, selfless, brave public servants who are willing to sacrifice their lives for their sheep.