The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

mockingbird

Silver Meritorious Patron
Scientology has lots of numbers Ron Hubbard presented that depict various percentages of people as suppressive or low-toned or antisocial or degraded brings and as you get deeper and deeper into Scientology you progress through these various numbers in references that start with two and a half percent as suppressive with seventeen and a half percent PTS, to his statement that the ratio of big beings to degraded brings is eighteen to one. The Sea Org even has internal promotional materials that state for every Sea Org member making it go right there are a million people who don't even know what right is.


In leaving Scientology there seems to be no lack of ideas on who is what kind of person, be it narcissist or sociopath or psychopath. There are also the categories of people who cooperate with authority and even categories based on how we work with each other at jobs or in personal relationships.


I wanted to share some ideas from outside Scientology to show a lot of people have done a lot of work to figure this stuff out.



“10 percent of any population is cruel, no matter what, and 10 percent is merciful, no matter what, and the remaining 80 percent can be moved in either direction.”

― Susan Sontag

Werner Twertzog ( a parody of Werner Herzog) said: "Dear America: You are waking up as Germany once did, to the awareness that 1/3 of your people would kill another 1/3, while 1/3 watches."

“A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do, irrespective of the content of the act and without limitations of conscience, so long as they perceive that the command comes from a legitimate authority.”
― Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door

“Asked about our sense that we are not safe in our own world, Albert Einstein once said, “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.”
― Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door

From the website Lemonade by Team Lemonade


According to Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, there are three different types of reciprocity types: givers, takers, and matchers.

Givers, takers, and matchers

What’s the difference between these types?

Takers are self-focused and put their own interests ahead of others’ needs. They try to gain as much as possible from their interactions while contributing as little as they can in return.

Matchers like to preserve an equal balance of giving and taking. Their mindset is: “If you take from me, I’ll take from you. If you give to me, I’ll give to you.”

Givers are others-focused, and tend to provide support to others with no strings attached. They ask themselves, “How can I add value for this person? What can I contribute?”

So what type are you? Turns out most people hover in the middle, and behave as matchers, answering option B above (I’ll introduce you to my college friend, but I need help from you).
Humans have an innate tendency to be reciprocal, and givers and takers represent two extremes.

But while givers are the most generous in our society, matchers play an important role. They make sure what goes around, comes around. They reward givers for their generous behavior, and seek revenge when they, or others, are being mistreated. End excerpt from Lemonade

Adam Grant in his book Give and Take described the three reciprocity styles in detail. He described the breakdown of percentages from thousands of people studied as Givers 25% Matchers 56%, Takers 19%.

I usually cheat and think of Givers 20%, Takers 60% and Matchers 60%. That is pretty close and I can picture five people and say if his descriptions and hypothesis are accurate one of these five on average is a taker, one on average is a giver and three out of five on average are matchers.

That is easy to remember, one is out for themselves (only), one is looking out for others first and three out of five are looking to be fair but not taken advantage of, three out of five want an even exchange of favors, compensation, and so on.


A really different take from a disturbing source.
“Generally, readers of the Press can be classified into three groups: First, those who believe everything they read; Second, those who no longer believe anything; Third, those who critically examine what they read and form their judgments accordingly.”
― Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf: My Struggle



From Almost a Psychopath:

Psychopathy is a psychological condition in which the individual shows a profound lack of empathy for the feelings of others, a willingness to engage in immoral and antisocial behavior for short-term gains, and extreme egocentricity.
Ronald Schouten, author of Almost a Psychopath claims that 1% of people are psychopaths.

From Almost a Psychopath:

Studies that examined the prevalence of subclinical psychopathy in student populations in the United States and Sweden showed rates in the range of 5 to 15 percent… 5 to 15 percent of the population means that for every twenty people, up to three of them may fall within the almost psychopath range.
Martha Stout, author of The Sociopath Next Door claims one person in twenty five aka four percent are sociopaths.
“About one in twenty-five individuals are sociopathic, meaning, essentially, that they do not have a conscience. It is not that this group fails to grasp the difference between good and bad; it is that the distinction fails to limit their behavior. The intellectual difference between right and wrong does not bring on the emotional sirens and flashing blue lights, or the fear of God, that it does for the rest of us. Without the slightest blip of guilt or remorse, one in twenty-five people can do anything at all.”
― Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door

“Sociopathy is the inability to process emotional experience, including love and caring, except when such experience can be calculated as a coldly intellectual task.”
― Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door

“And sociopaths are noted especially for their shallowness of emotion, the hollow and transient nature of any affectionate feelings they may claim to have, a certain breathtaking callousness. They have no trace of empathy and no genuine interest in bonding emotionally with a mate. Once the surface charm is scraped off, their marriages are loveless, one-sided, and almost always short-term. If a marriage partner has any value to the sociopath, it is because the partner is viewed as a possession, one that the sociopath may feel angry to lose, but never sad or accountable.”
― Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door

She has a great contrast in her description of a narcissist.

“As a counterpoint to sociopathy, the condition of narcissism is particularly interesting and instructive. Narcissism is, in a metaphorical sense, one half of what sociopathy is. Even clinical narcissists are able to feel most emotions are strongly as anyone else does, from guilt to sadness to desperate love and passion. The half that is missing is the crucial ability to understand what other people are feeling. Narcissism is a failure not of conscience but of empathy, which is the capacity to perceive emotions in others and so react to them appropriately. The poor narcissist cannot see past his own nose, emotionally speaking, and as with the Pillsbury Doughboy, any input from the outside will spring back as if nothing had happened. Unlike sociopaths, narcissists often are in psychological pain, and may sometimes seek psychotherapy. When a narcissist looks for help, one of the underlying issues is usually that, unbeknownst to him, he is alienating his relationships on account of his lack of empathy with others, and is feeling confused, abandoned, and lonely. He misses the people he loves, and is ill-equipped to get them back. Sociopaths, in contrast, do not care about other people, and so do not miss them when they are alienated or gone, except as one might regret the absence of a useful appliance that one has somehow lost.”
― Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door

Regarding the prevalence of narcissists in the population Rebecca Webber :"True pathological narcissism has always been rare and remains so: It affects an estimated 1 percent of the population, and that prevalence hasn't changed demonstrably since clinicians started measuring it." 2016 in Psychology Today

“To admit that some people literally have no conscience is not technically the same as saying that some human beings are evil, but it is disturbingly close. And good people want very much not to believe in the personification of evil.”
― Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door

From The Sociopath Next Door:
The first rule involves the bitter pill of accepting that some people literally have no conscience… Do not try to redeem the unredeemable.

From The Sociopath Next Door:
One lie, one broken promise, or a single neglected responsibility may be a misunderstanding instead. Two may involve a serious mistake. But three lies says you’re dealing with a liar, and deceit is the linchpin of conscienceless behavior.
Regarding crime, in particular violent crime there are some interesting quotes available:


"Alex Piquero, a criminologist at the University of Texas at Dallas, said by email: "A routine finding in the criminological literature is that about half of the crime is committed by a very small fraction of the population, around 5-8 percent depending on the sample and methodology used. This finding has been replicated in many different studies around the world. The bottom line is that a small fraction of the offending population is responsible for a great majority of crime." Piquero said most of the studies tracked residents only into late adolescence or early adulthood." W. Gardner Selby Politifact

"The Philadelphia studies and others

Since the 1960s, researchers have probed how often youths come into police contact, consistently finding that a subset of people account for around half of the crimes reported to police.
In the seminal "Crime in a Birth Cohort" and a followup study, a team led by University of Pennsylvania criminologist Marvin Wolfgang tracked nearly 10,000 boys born in 1945 and living in Philadelphia from age 10 through 17; they ultimately gauged how often each boy came in contact with police for an offense. One upshot: 627 boys, 6 percent of the group, each accounted for five or more offenses, according to police reports.

Those boys, Wolfgang wrote, were collectively identified as responsible for 52 percent of all the offenses recorded in the study and, he said, about two-thirds of all violent crimes believed to have been committed by the juveniles. In Patrick-speak, Wolfgang found that 6 percent of juvenile boys accounted for about half of alleged juvenile crimes.

The follow-up study, presented in progress in 1982, tracked more than 28,000 boys and girls born in 1958 who lived in Philadelphia from age 10 through 17. Among males, the study found, 61 percent of reported offenses were committed by 1,030 "chronic recidivists," comprising 7 percent of males in the study. That is, 7 percent of the boys accounted for 61 percent of the juvenile offenses.


David Farrington, a University of Cambridge professor of psychological criminology reported in 2006 on criminal offenses by 411 South London boys occasionally interviewed by the team starting when the subjects were 8 years old in 1961.

The researchers, who also checked criminal records, found that a "small proportion of the study males (7%) were defined as ‘chronic offenders’ because they accounted for about half of all officially recorded offenses" in the study. The most common offenses, they wrote, included thefts, burglaries and car thefts followed by violence, vandalism, fraud and drug abuse.


In 2014, Swedish researchers drawing on records accounting for the experiences of 2.5 million people born in that country from 1958 to 1980 reported that from 1973 to 2004, some 1 percent of the population accounted for 63 percent of all violent crime convictions. Researcher Örjan Falk added: "Psychotic disorders are twice as common among repeat offenders as in the general population, but despite this fact they constitute a very small proportion of the repeat offenders." W. Gardner Selby Politifact

It is worth pointing out that Martha Stout in her book The Sociopath Next Door described how some predators are not violent and that depending on their impulses and personalities might never commit a violent act or crime. Some sociopaths she described as simply not caring for anyone other than themselves.

From The Sociopath Next Door:

Do not allow someone without conscience, or even a string of such people, to convince you that humanity is a failure. Most human beings do possess conscience. Most human beings are able to love.


Leonard Mlodinow in his superb book Subliminal remarked on how people tend to think of each other as either good or bad but like the characters from the classic Western movie The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, there is more to our story.

In The Good, The Bad and The Ugly we have three main characters Blondie the good does good things (relative to the other characters) because he is a good person. Angel Eyes the bad is evil to the core and does evil because he is evil. Finally, Tucco the ugly does a variety of behaviors for a variety of reasons and sometimes they are bad and sometimes they are good. He is not pure good or evil, not by a lot.

I sincerely believe that some people, I don't know what percentage, are predators as Jon Atack calls them. We have many names for these people like sociopath, psychopath, narcissist, malignant narcissist, traumatic narcissist, and even more exotic ones like dark triad and the research regarding these people is important and not to be overlooked. By any name they are real.


What percentage do they add up to ? I don't know exactly. I sincerely hope it is well under the high range estimate of maybe twenty percent and perhaps ten percent or less. I doubt it is below one or two percent.


It is worth nothing that many people go through significant changes in their lives and an unrepentant predator or criminal in his or her youth might turn their life around and change into a law abiding citizen or conversely a straight arrow type can break bad (like the TV show) in middle age or even old age (overcoming age stereotypes, in a strange way).


The idea that most of us are a combination of good and bad is, well uglier, than a pure good versus pure evil dichotomy. I don't doubt that it is possible that the givers at twenty-five percent of people are the same extra giving, extra compassionate people we meet and often admire. It is to me unproven but plausible.


This leaves us the approximate sixty percent (well fifty six as matchers according to Adam Grant) who are ugly. We are not as great, on average, as the givers and not as selfish and callous on average as the takers. You might see the bottom ten percent as extremely dangerous including violent criminals and the worst of the worst predators we have called psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists. The next ten percent may be seen as perhaps not as overtly criminal and violent as the first ten percent but still takers and serious trouble to deal with in any way. (Well nine percent if we are sticking with the takers from Adam Grant.)


I have probably three main points that I want to make to sum up all this information on categories of people. Scientology has categories that Hubbard used that in my opinion are inaccurate and those of many others give you far more scientific research to consider.


There are lots of us have who don't fit a pure good or pure evil model. We mess up and sometimes do the wrong thing, sometimes horribly, sometimes it is downright ugly and evil.


But not always, not without regrets, not without remorse, not without conscience. Sometimes we learn from negative behavior and work to reduce or eliminate negative behavior. Not always.


Sometimes we can do good behaviours that require no prompting or reward or threats for failing to do them. We can do good things because we have good intentions. But not always.


Our lives don't fit a pure good or pure evil description, not by a lot. They are ugly, they have moments of both good and evil, good choices and terrible errors. Summing them up as just one thing really avoids digging deep into the ugly reality that we have had tragedy and triumph morally.


Finally the last point and probably most important point. Despite the great evil of the predators, even unrepentant and persistent evil, and the moral failings of the vast majority of people including acts of genuine evil, I think that we shouldn't take the "lesson of evil" as the foundation of our identity.


Daniel Shaw described this in Traumatic Narcissism. Some people who experience abuse and trauma learn one lesson. Whether one is abused or molested or neglected as a child by trusted and even loved caregivers or abused by a boyfriend or husband as a woman, many victims of abuse learn that in this world their is no guarantee of love, no guarantee of good or decent treatment, no just world in which only good things happen to good people, especially vulnerable people like children and women.

This world teaches many people that this is not a just world, deserving or wanting love or giving love doesn't always result in getting love in return. The terrible, dark lesson many victims of abuse get is that anyone can betray anyone at any time, love you give can be repaid with cruelty and abuse. The one thing some victims of abuse come away feeling was under their control while they were abused is that they loved or trusted their abuser. Some victims see that as a small child or vulnerable woman they were in no position to stop abuse physically in the moment it occurred but resent themselves for having trusted and loved their abuser and resent themselves for trusting ANYONE or believing in a just world.


Feeling betrayed and feeling foolish for trusting people is something that some victims of abuse carry with them their whole lives. They feel that trusting and loving their abuser was under their control and can vow to NEVER be fooled again, to never go through that helpless and worthless feeling again that came when they were betrayed and abused and even afterword when they realized that they were not being treated with love.


Scientology has been especially egregious in encouraging abuse and neglect of children in particular and abusive behaviors in many circumstances in general. Scientology has followed and encouraged the predatory behavior of Ron Hubbard. In other words members of the high control group of Scientology model their behavior after the behavior of Hubbard.


Scientology has many second and third generation members who sadly, tragically, have experienced enough betrayal, enough neglect, enough abuse to learn the lesson of evil.


Scientology has left many ex members wondering if they should ever trust anyone again, ever love anyone again. It's understandable if you understand what they went through and how much it hurts.


I have seen a lot of material by people who have left predators. Many women who leave abusers go through phases. They are overwhelmed and confused at first. Then they recognize that their abuser is a kind of predator like a narcissist or sociopath. They learn their abuse they received was not their fault. They often wonder if everyone is abusive or a predator as they learn about the deep evil in so many abusers, particularly in their behavior, and that the conduct of their abuser is consistent with patterns of behavior that many, many abusers follow. Their abuser was not a "one in a million" or even "one in a thousand" very often.


They have the good news that the abuse is not unique to them, they did not inspire some unique response. Lots of people with different behavior and character get abused. It wasn't the fault of the victim. Great. Lots and lots of people are abusers. Not great news.


So there again the victims can wonder if they should ever trust anyone again, because they have learned that there is a lot of evil in the world and innocent people do get horribly abused.


If you feel this way I can't promise you that you won't get hurt again, I wish I could. I don't know what everyone will do in every circumstance. But if you never trust or love anyone so you don't have that horrible feeling of being betrayed and fooled again what do you have ?


Do you want to have transactional relationships that some predators have ? Or the relationships of leverage and power and domination that some predators use to escape vulnerabilities ?


Some relationships, like some people are good, some are bad and some ugly.


It would be wonderful if everyone was a great person who created loving and caring relationships. I am sure some people are like this. They may even live happily ever after if two really great people get together.


But that is not in the cards for some people. Some are going to have to work extra hard to trust again, some are going to have to work extra hard to love again, some are going to have to work extra hard to not see the worst in other people, some are going to have to work extra hard to build relationships and the relationships they pursue will sometimes take a lot of hard work to just have with genuine love and trust and as relationships that aren't abusive. Some people have to work hard to not follow the pattern of abuse they themselves experienced. (This is not an excuse or justification for abuse, just because something is hard to do doesn't justify failing to do it)


So I can only say for the people hurt by Scientology or anything in life who wonder if they should ever trust or love anyone again given what they went through that frankly relationships are probably going to be hard work. They are probably not going to be easy and run smoothly.


At times they may be terrific and other times extremely challenging. To an outsider these relationships may be messy, sloppy, inconsistent at times and even ugly.


But I would rather have something that is made by admittedly flawed, even ugly people in a sincere effort than something less, without love or trust.


For some of the people who have been abused in Scientology there are two options: trying despite everything you have experienced and done to have a genuine loving trusting relationship or relationships or not trying.


If you don't try what can you have ? That is something truly ugly.
 

Enthetan

Master of Disaster
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Those boys, Wolfgang wrote, were collectively identified as responsible for 52 percent of all the offenses recorded in the study and, he said, about two-thirds of all violent crimes believed to have been committed by the juveniles. In Patrick-speak, Wolfgang found that 6 percent of juvenile boys accounted for about half of alleged juvenile crimes.
That's what Mayor Giuliani and Police Commissioner Bratton discovered in New York City, and focusing on that resulted in a large decrease in crime.

The key data, is that a small percent of the population commits most of the crime. A small percentage of sociopaths are committing crimes on a daily basis. Not ust big crimes, but little crimes too. What they found was that, if they arrested people for minor crimes like jumping the turnstiles in the subways without paying fares, and then processed them, a percentage had outstanding arrest warrants for other crimes.

By focusing on the habitual chronic criminals, and removing them from society, they were able to greatly reduce NY's crime problem, and made it livable again. For a while, until a new administration overturned all those procedures.
 

Enthetan

Master of Disaster
I read Martha Stout's book. I found her world view a bit limited.

The following rounds things out a bit:

On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs - Lt Colonel Dave Grossman

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.

Rest of the article at the link. It's an excerpt from his book, "On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace"
 
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mockingbird

Silver Meritorious Patron
I read Martha Stout's book. I found her world view a bit limited.

The following rounds things out a bit:

On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs - Lt Colonel Dave Grossman

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.

Rest of the article at the link. It's an excerpt from his book, "On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace"
But what about the CEO who is never violent but poisons millions of people for profit ? What about the town gossip who is never violent but manipulates the most violent men into killing each other ? I have known a lot of troublemakers who are not violent but utterly ruin people.

And some of the violent people are convinced they are sheepdogs when in reality anyone you have an authority tell them to kill they will kill. Some people will kill anyone outside their own country if they are told it is to protect their country but what threat was Vietnam to America ? Or Iraq ? Or Korea ? And the same has been found regarding killing a scapegoated group in a country. I have heard many Americans celebrate the idea that it is not their job to sort out who is or is not a terrorist, that is God's job. Their job is to just arrange the meeting.

By that "logic" would it be appropriate to bomb neighborhoods in America and use drones on Americans to arrange a meeting with God ?
 

mockingbird

Silver Meritorious Patron
Something else that is noteworthy about the sheepdog idea is that William Sargent in Battle For the Mind claimed a small percentage of soldiers never suffer battle fatigue aka PTSD in our terms. He felt these men are psychopathic.

Here is a quote from another source:

"after 60 days and nights of constant combat, 98 percent of all soldiers became psychiatric casualties.”
― Dave Grossman, On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace

The two percent who do not become psychiatric casualties are considered psychopathic. Killing people over and over does not give them ANY stress according to the conclusions of several researchers.
 
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mockingbird

Silver Meritorious Patron
I read Martha Stout's book. I found her world view a bit limited.

The following rounds things out a bit:

On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs - Lt Colonel Dave Grossman

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.

Rest of the article at the link. It's an excerpt from his book, "On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace"
I think this image is idealized and a fantasy.

"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."

Who lives up to this ? The police ? No. The military ? No.

I have known police who love beating the shit out of people for LOOKING at them in a way they don't like. I have known the most peaceful people who the police have beat the shit out of for no reason. So, you cannot convince me the police are exclusively heroes.I

And the military ? I have known veterans who made it perfectly clear they kill innocent people in war.A

Men who were never violent in war have committed atrocities including rape, murder, torture, child rape, child murder and on and on.

I believe our circumstances influence us. So this idea that a few heroic soldiers and police of pure moral character always do the right thing and are beyond the influence of their authority figures and social groups is unrealistic to me.

Every major war the United States had been in has had well documented cases of atrocities by American troops. We just hid them well until Vietnam. In World War II some American troops told doctors about these events and were told to leave it over there.

I really think the category of sheepdog is more fantasy than reality. Plenty of people known violence and crime are a part of life. They lock their doors, never leave the car with the windows down or doors unlocked and plenty get a dog and/or a gun for home protection.

Seeing regular people as sheep is part of the view of a sociopath. Most women are constantly aware of violence and list their number one fear regarding men and dating as getting raped and number two as getting murdered. I know plenty of men who watch Fox news every day who are convinced they are going to be robbed, raped and killed by Mexicans and Muslims.

So, I think the sheepdog idea is frankly a romantic idea used in propaganda to encourage soldiers to kill on command. They can pretend to only kill the bad guys but most of the time when you actually kill someone how sure are you about how bad that person is ?
 

Enthetan

Master of Disaster
But what about the CEO who is never violent but poisons millions of people for profit ? What about the town gossip who is never violent but manipulates the most violent men into killing each other ? I have known a lot of troublemakers who are not violent but utterly ruin people.
It is not necessary to be violent to be considered a wolf. A wolf is someone who is fine with harming others for personal benefit, or just personal amusement. A rule of thumb would be: "Would you be better off if that person's ability to harm you was neutralized?"

And some of the violent people are convinced they are sheepdogs when in reality anyone you have an authority tell them to kill they will kill. Some people will kill anyone outside their own country if they are told it is to protect their country but what threat was Vietnam to America ? Or Iraq ? Or Korea ? And the same has been found regarding killing a scapegoated group in a country. I have heard many Americans celebrate the idea that it is not their job to sort out who is or is not a terrorist, that is God's job. Their job is to just arrange the meeting.
By that "logic" would it be appropriate to bomb neighborhoods in America and use drones on Americans to arrange a meeting with God ?
The concept of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is more a Western Culture concept than a global one. Much of the world goes by the operating basis "What benefits my family/tribe/nation is good".

In order to live a life of relative peace, it's necessary to strike a balance on your level of aggressiveness. One the one side, inadequate aggressiveness in protecting your own people can be contra-survival. As one saying goes:

Those who beat their swords into plowshares,
will plow for those who don't.

On the other side, a culture which is being excessively aggressive may lead to those around them to decide to get together and exterminate them in self defense. We may see this happen at some point with the Islamic culture.

In my opinion, the optimum balance is to be aggressive enough that you are not considered an easy target, but do not go looking for trouble.

One positive thing about Trump, is that he's not been going around looking for conflicts to get the US involved in.
 

Enthetan

Master of Disaster
So, I think the sheepdog idea is frankly a romantic idea used in propaganda to encourage soldiers to kill on command. They can pretend to only kill the bad guys but most of the time when you actually kill someone how sure are you about how bad that person is ?
Speaking for myself, I would likely only be using deadly force in response to a threat to myself or loved ones, and would refrain from actually using deadly force unless I was sure that a threat existed.

More generally, in war, you wind up killing individuals who, as individuals, would be of no harm to you, but just have the bad luck to be members of a group which is engaged in hostilities with your group.
 

Enthetan

Master of Disaster
I think this image is idealized and a fantasy.

"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."

Who lives up to this ? The police ? No. The military ? No.

I have known police who love beating the shit out of people for LOOKING at them in a way they don't like. I have known the most peaceful people who the police have beat the shit out of for no reason. So, you cannot convince me the police are exclusively heroes.I

And the military ? I have known veterans who made it perfectly clear they kill innocent people in war.A

Men who were never violent in war have committed atrocities including rape, murder, torture, child rape, child murder and on and on.

I believe our circumstances influence us. So this idea that a few heroic soldiers and police of pure moral character always do the right thing and are beyond the influence of their authority figures and social groups is unrealistic to me.

Every major war the United States had been in has had well documented cases of atrocities by American troops. We just hid them well until Vietnam. In World War II some American troops told doctors about these events and were told to leave it over there.

I really think the category of sheepdog is more fantasy than reality. Plenty of people known violence and crime are a part of life. They lock their doors, never leave the car with the windows down or doors unlocked and plenty get a dog and/or a gun for home protection.

Seeing regular people as sheep is part of the view of a sociopath. Most women are constantly aware of violence and list their number one fear regarding men and dating as getting raped and number two as getting murdered. I know plenty of men who watch Fox news every day who are convinced they are going to be robbed, raped and killed by Mexicans and Muslims.

So, I think the sheepdog idea is frankly a romantic idea used in propaganda to encourage soldiers to kill on command. They can pretend to only kill the bad guys but most of the time when you actually kill someone how sure are you about how bad that person is ?
You are correct that it is idealized. But at least there IS an ideal, something to strive for, and something to serve as a basis for punishing those sheepdogs who fail to adhere to the ideal. We may fall short of achieving the ideal, but at least there are people who try to approach it.
 

mockingbird

Silver Meritorious Patron
I think that getting into the nitty gritty of who is good ? Who is bad ? Who is a combination ? Is an important thing for everyone. These issues and our ideas on them can frame our ideas, emotions and behaviors regarding everyone.

I think the sheepdog hypothesis is dangerously flawed in that trained killers following what they believe is legitimate authority can kill innocent people and people who should not be killed, including some people who may be suspects but not in any way actually are people who should be harmed or killed. There are countless videos of soldiers and accounts of soldiers that killed unarmed civilians who would flee if given any opportunity who displayed no threatening or aggressive behavior. The endless parade of videos of police officers shooting unarmed civilians, many of which were running away and no threat, is another factor to consider.

I found an article by Slate that has a critique of the sheepdog idea. I will quote excerpts.

The Surprising History of American Sniper’s “Wolves, Sheep, and Sheepdogs” Speech

By MICHAEL CUMMINGS and ERIC CUMMINGS

"This past weekend, American Sniper sold millions of tickets, and introduced millions of Americans to a novel turn of phrase. In an early scene set at the dinner table, Chris Kyle’s father tells him that there are three kinds of people in the world: “wolves, sheep, and sheepdogs.”
The scene is a canny invention by screenwriter Jason Hall, but he didn’t come up with that analogy. The origins of this sheepdog analogy help explain why the film has resonated with audiences. The sheepdog speech comes from Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman’s book On Combat, published in 2004. (It doesn’t appear in Kyle’s best-selling memoir, although the family and friends running Chris Kyle’s Twitter account did tweet about it in December.) Since then it has spread through military and police circles and the right-wing blogosphere. It’s proved particularly durable with gun rights groups. With the release of American Sniper, it has reached its largest audience yet.


Grossman crafted this analogy in response to 9/11 and the war in Iraq. And it’s not enough to classify the human race into these three simple categories; Grossman—and those who parrot his metaphor—are issuing a call to action to defend yourself against your enemies. In a country where innocent, unarmed, mostly black Americans keep getting killed, it’s a pernicious worldview to hold. "
 

mockingbird

Silver Meritorious Patron
The Surprising History of American Sniper’s “Wolves, Sheep, and Sheepdogs” Speech

By MICHAEL CUMMINGS and ERIC CUMMINGS part 2


"In Grossman’s original essay, now available on his website, he credits an “old war veteran” with first telling him about wolves, sheep, and sheepdogs. He writes:

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? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero’s path.

In Grossman’s telling, the wolves will do anything they can to hurt sheep. Grossman variously identifies wolves as school shooters, terrorists, criminals, and anyone looking to hurt the innocent. Internationally, think ISIS, al-Qaida, and Boko Haram. Domestically, think gangsters, criminals, and thugs. Grossman makes it clear that, no matter how much society fears its sheepdog protectors, the sheep need their sheepdogs. That means that a sheepdog cannot “take out its teeth.” In gun rights terms, this means that gun owners should never go anywhere without a concealed firearm: “If you are a 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.”

And the wolf will come, says Grossman. “If you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior’s path,” he writes, “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.” He emphasizes practicing “when/then” thinking as opposed to “if/when” thinking. He encourages sheepdogs to view their surroundings with fear and paranoia.

Since the sheepdog analogy was published in On Combat, it’s been referenced or copied wholesale on countless military, special operations, and police blogs. It has been featured at least eight times on the Internet’s most popular military blog, BlackFive.net, as well as other popular milblogs like A Soldier’s Perspective, SOFREP, and This Ain’t Hell. And we’ve found dozens of other blogs that reference or link to Grossman.

Off the Internet the analogy has spread to T-shirts by at least four different companies, one of which calls itself “Sheepdog Inc.” (Slogan: “Shirts for heroes who hunt down evil.”) It has inspired pastors of churches, and an organization called “Sheepdog Seminars for Churches” that teaches congregations self-defense. It has also been adopted as the name for many gun rights groups. There is even a sheepdog disaster-relief charity—like the Red Cross, but “small, flexible, and reactive” like a Marine Corps Quick Reaction Force. And the sheepdog analogy is all over social media. "
 

Enthetan

Master of Disaster
I think that getting into the nitty gritty of who is good ? Who is bad ? Who is a combination ? Is an important thing for everyone. These issues and our ideas on them can frame our ideas, emotions and behaviors regarding everyone.

I think the sheepdog hypothesis is dangerously flawed in that trained killers following what they believe is legitimate authority can kill innocent people and people who should not be killed, including some people who may be suspects but not in any way actually are people who should be harmed or killed. There are countless videos of soldiers and accounts of soldiers that killed unarmed civilians who would flee if given any opportunity who displayed no threatening or aggressive behavior. The endless parade of videos of police officers shooting unarmed civilians, many of which were running away and no threat, is another factor to consider.

I found an article by Slate that has a critique of the sheepdog idea. I will quote excerpts.

The Surprising History of American Sniper’s “Wolves, Sheep, and Sheepdogs” Speech

By MICHAEL CUMMINGS and ERIC CUMMINGS

"This past weekend, American Sniper sold millions of tickets, and introduced millions of Americans to a novel turn of phrase. In an early scene set at the dinner table, Chris Kyle’s father tells him that there are three kinds of people in the world: “wolves, sheep, and sheepdogs.”
The scene is a canny invention by screenwriter Jason Hall, but he didn’t come up with that analogy. The origins of this sheepdog analogy help explain why the film has resonated with audiences. The sheepdog speech comes from Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman’s book On Combat, published in 2004. (It doesn’t appear in Kyle’s best-selling memoir, although the family and friends running Chris Kyle’s Twitter account did tweet about it in December.) Since then it has spread through military and police circles and the right-wing blogosphere. It’s proved particularly durable with gun rights groups. With the release of American Sniper, it has reached its largest audience yet.


Grossman crafted this analogy in response to 9/11 and the war in Iraq. And it’s not enough to classify the human race into these three simple categories; Grossman—and those who parrot his metaphor—are issuing a call to action to defend yourself against your enemies. In a country where innocent, unarmed, mostly black Americans keep getting killed, it’s a pernicious worldview to hold. "
More fundamental is WHAT is good and what is bad.

And for who?

A given action may be regarded by one person as good, and by another as bad.
 

mockingbird

Silver Meritorious Patron
The Surprising History of American Sniper’s “Wolves, Sheep, and Sheepdogs” Speech
By MICHAEL CUMMINGS and ERIC CUMMINGS part 3



While Grossman does have a Ph.D. in psychology, his analogy has zero basis in science. Good and evil aren’t scientific phenomena. While some humans have inclinations toward aggression and violence, it is not a gene that some people have and others do not. Yet Grossman still teaches more than 300 seminars a year on the sheepdog analogy and “conditioning the mind.” Conditioning it for what? We live in the safest times in human history. True “random acts of violence” are incredibly rare in our society; terror events rarer still. But the sheepdog analogy wouldn’t exist if people weren’t afraid


And people are afraid, so they take action. As a result, this simple analogy is undone by an even simpler (and older) one: the wolf in sheep’s clothing. After all, all humans basically look alike. Faced with this problem, how can you tell a wolf from a sheep?

The easiest way is race.


Chris Kyle, when he went to Iraq, spent zero time distinguishing the sheep from the wolves: Every Iraqi was a wolf. Kyle called Muslims “savages,” and described the unofficial rules of engagement of the battlefield simply: “If you see anyone from about sixteen to sixty-five and they’re male, shoot ’em. Kill every male you see.” That doesn’t sound like someone protecting the sheep (innocent Iraqi males) from the wolves (the insurgents).

Domestically, black Americans are the victims of this analogy. White Americans, in general, view threats through the lens of race. Studies show that many Americans believe black men are the most dangerous group in America. Experiments, using first-person shooter video games, have shown that unarmed black men are more likely to be shot than their white counterparts by police officers. In other words, some “sheepdogs” tend to reflexively identify black people as “wolves.” Is it a coincidence that black men are 21 times more likely to be shot by police? Or that America has seen a rash of unarmed (mostly black) Americans killed by armed civilians in recent years?


In reality, some sheepdogs act an awful lot like the wolves. Take Jimmy Lewis Fennell, Jr., a police officer who was convicted of committing sexual assault on duty. If he’s not a wolf, then who is? And how does a sheepdog handle that threat?

And while the majority of veterans (sheepdogs through and through) return home to lead normal lives, some do not. (Statistically, veterans with PTSD do have higher rates of violent crime, though the vast majority of veterans do not commit crimes.) Have these sheepdogs turned into wolves, or were they always wolves?

We don’t want to paint police officers and veterans as “whackos” or evil. (One of the co-writers of this post is a veteran.) We want to point out how foolish, and potentially tragic, the distinctions between good “sheepdogs” and evil “wolves” really are.

After leaving his service as a Navy SEAL and publishing his memoir, Chris Kyle started mentoring other veterans with PTSD. As the movie mentions in its conclusion, Chris Kyle was killed by another veteran, a Marine. Are Marines not sheepdogs? Or did Kyle’s killer turn into a wolf? Most importantly, as the analogy goes, why couldn’t Kyle tell the difference?

Because the analogy is simplistic, and in its simplicity, dangerous. It divides the world into black and white, into a good-versus-evil struggle that the real world doesn’t match. We aren’t divided into sheep, sheepdogs, and wolves. We are all humans.

Ask Michael Brown. Ask Eric Garner.

Ask Chris Kyle.
 

mockingbird

Silver Meritorious Patron
I presented excerpts from that article because I believe that Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman has a very dangerous idea in his sheepdog hypothesis. His book On Killing is one I have and have seen parts of but I have not read the entire book, yet.

From what I have seen of his work I believe some of his ideas are well presented and some are not ones I am in agreement with. Lots of people who work in psychology have some good ideas, some that are good research with informative or compelling results and some that are not in my opinion supported by the evidence.

He has a hypothesis that many people including most men and most women are reluctant to kill and that very often special training is required to produce consistent reliable killers. The military is very interested in this as they want to manufacture consistent and reliable killers.

It is in his personal interest to find a way to make killers who don't see themselves as murderers. In my opinion his sheepdog hypothesis is a propaganda tool.

"The basic aim of a nation at war is establishing an image of the enemy in order to distinguish as sharply as possible the act of killing from the act of murder. —Glenn Gray The Warriors”
― Dave Grossman, On Killing

"Increasing the distance between the [combatants]—whether by emphasizing their differences or by increasing the chain of responsibility between the aggressor and his victim allows for an increase in the degree of aggression. —Ben Shalit The Psychology of Conflict and Combat”
― Dave Grossman, On Killing

"The triad of methods used to achieve this remarkable increase in killing are desensitization, conditioning, and denial defense mechanisms.”
― Dave Grossman, On Killing

"Ironically enough, the only people who can hold up indefinitely under the stress of modern war are psychotics. Individual insanity is immune to the consequences of collective insanity. Aldous Huxley

"The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human." Aldous Huxley
 

strativarius

Inveterate gnashnab & snoutband
Hopelessly passing your time in the grassland away
Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air
You better watch out
There may be dogs about
I've looked over Jordan, and I have seen
Things are not what they seem
What do you get for pretending the danger's not real
Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel
What a surprise
The look of terminal shock in your eyes
Now things are really what they seem
No, this is no bad dream
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me down to lie
Through pastures green He leadeth me the silent waters by
With bright knives he releaseth my soul
He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places
He converteth me to lamb cutlets
For lo, He hath great power, and great hunger
When cometh the day we lowly ones
Through quiet reflection, and great dedication
Master the art of karate
Lo, we shall rise up
And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water
Bleating and babbling we fell on his neck with a scream
Wave upon wave of demented avengers
March cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream
Have you heard the news?
The dogs are dead
You better stay home
And do as you're told
Get out of the road if you want to grow old.


Sorry, couldn't resist it!
 

Enthetan

Master of Disaster
Is it a coincidence that black men are 21 times more likely to be shot by police? Or that America has seen a rash of unarmed (mostly black) Americans killed by armed civilians in recent years?
That first sentence is an interesting statistic. I call bullshit on it.

Whereas blacks account for 53% of homicide arrests, and 54% of robbery arrests (the two categories most likely to have police drawing their weapons on the arrestee), every stat from reputable sources I've seen has blacks being UNDER 50% of the people killed by police, which indicates that police are operating under circumstances where they are showing great restraint, and putting themselves at risk, in order to avoid shooting blacks.

Please cite your sources for that.

Similar dynamics hold for white civilians shooting blacks: you better be able to prove self defense, or you WILL be crucified.
 
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Enthetan

Master of Disaster
Kyle called Muslims “savages,” and described the unofficial rules of engagement of the battlefield simply: “If you see anyone from about sixteen to sixty-five and they’re male, shoot ’em. Kill every male you see.” That doesn’t sound like someone protecting the sheep (innocent Iraqi males) from the wolves (the insurgents).
That's an interesting quote, which I haven't seen before. And I'm pretty sure I WOULD have seen it mentioned if Kyle had said it. I call bullshit on that too.

EVERYTHING I saw on our troops rules of engagement in Iraq, was that they would have to justify every shooting, and the standard of justification were so ridiculously stringent that they put our troops at risk.
 

Enthetan

Master of Disaster
That first sentence is an interesting statistic. I call bullshit on it.

Whereas blacks account for 53% of homicide arrests, and 54% of robbery arrests (the two categories most likely to have police drawing their weapons on the arrestee), every stat from reputable sources I've seen has blacks being UNDER 50% of the people killed by police, which indicates that police are operating under circumstances where they are showing great restraint, and putting themselves at risk, in order to avoid shooting blacks.

Please cite your sources for that.

Similar dynamics hold for white civilians shooting blacks: you better be able to prove self defense, or you WILL be crucified.
ADDING:

Number of people shot to death by the police in the United States from 2017 to 2019, by race

In 2018, 399 whites killed by police, versus 209 blacks. Based on respective violent crime statistics, it should have been about equal. This indicates that police are trying very hard to avoid shooting blacks, because they know that, no matter how justified it was, there will be riots over it and their careers will be over.
 
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