Are you a sheep or a sheepdog? It’s a question periodically asked by advocates of self-defense that tries to shove the person being questioned into a false dichotomy, either you’re a helpless sheep that simply follows the flock or you’re a brave sheepdog who guard the vulnerable sheep from the wolves.
In one of the more annoying advertisement e-mails I received it stated:
Christopher – you are it. You are the country’s last line of defense. The minute-man…. the sheep dog.
This guy completely understands sheepdogs like you and I.
I’m not a bloody sheepdog. The sheep, sheepdog, or wolf analogy pisses me off because it exists mainly to boost the egos of those who carry firearms. Instead of merely being a man who happens to carry a firearm one can now think, “I’m a sheepdog, the protector of the sheep, I am what lies between the average man and evil doers in our society, I am Batman!” Using the analogy seems rather mastubatory to me, a way of making one’s self feel good.
Since I refuse to adopt the sheepdog nomenclature I must be either a sheep or a wolf, right? Wrong. I’m a human being, but if we’re going to use animal analogies I’ll take a page from the Free State Project and use the porcupine as my totem animal. Porcupines are great, they walk around foraging for food, and avoid starting shit with other animals. So long as you don’t attack a porcupine you’ll be OK but if you fuck with a porcupine you’re going to get a face full of wrath filled quills.
The most important part of self-defense is mental. Even if you have a quality firearm with the skill to utilize it you’re likely to lose if you’re not in the game mentally. Thinking of yourself as a sheepdog put you in, what I believe to be, a bad mental state. Instead of merely being out to protect you and yours you’re now assuming responsibility for others. Putting yourself in harms way is the opposite of self-defense and I believe it to be poor form to adopt an attitude of being a guardian to everybody else. Don’t be the sheepdog, be the porcupine.