The above scene comes early in American Sniper. It’s the movie’s way of establishing Chris Kyle’s reason for doing what he’s going to spend the rest of the movie doing (i.e. shooting people). Chris is destined to be a “sheepdog” protecting “sheep” from the “wolves.” I have no idea if Kyle senior ever uttered those words to his son. But I’ve heard this philosophy many times from people who tool up on domestic soil. I reckon it’s a dangerous belief system. Here’s why . . .
There are not “three types of people in this world.” All people are all capable of all types of behavior. People can be sheep (passive members of a larger group), sheepdogs (protectors of a flock) or wolves (aggressors against sheep or sheepdogs). While some people are genetically predisposed to one of these roles, they can switch between these roles as needs be. Which is just as well.
Imagine you’re in a restaurant. Three armed robbers enter, fire off a few rounds and instruct patrons to hit the deck. This is an excellent time to be one of the non-aggressive diners who follows orders hoping not to be slaughtered. You may think like a sheepdog, looking for ways to save innocent life. You may have the tools and training for the job, if and when it’s a good idea to separate yourself from the pack. But until and unless that happens, it’s best to be sheepish.
When you attack, should you be a sheepdog protecting your flock or a wolf taking on a pack of perps? I get it: wolves are evil. Sheepdogs are not. But when push comes to shove, domesticity isn’t exactly an advantage, is it? A wolf is faster, leaner and meaner than a sheepdog. Wouldn’t it be better to be more wolf-like and less sheepdogish when it’s on like Donkey Kong?
Suffice it to say, armed Americans should not limit themselves to the role of sheepdog. Nor should they look down at “sheep,” thinking they’re incapable of standing and fighting for themselves or others. At the same time, armed Americans should embrace the ferocity of the wolf. And realize they need to know how to blend into a crowd; warn and protect their own when threatened; and attack violently, without mercy, when needed.