We'll get there, but let's set the stage.
These men and women are all around us. You might be one of them. Most, however, will never be known for what they are. Events show one's nature, we rise to the occasion, we embrace our destiny, or - in a cold way - sometimes the training kicks in.
There was a study done awhile back of all things about ferry sinkings. The researchers found some striking consistency of reports that broke people's response to one of three areas. Some panic, some freeze, and a small percentage take action and save themselves and others.
Those who take action do the best. Then those who panic. But the final and larger group just wait for their fate, often sitting at their tables with blank faces in disbelief as the waters rise around them.
Some just have the right stuff, and we hire those who seem to have it for positions where one day that type of personality is needed.
In the words of Dave Grossman; the sheepdog.
“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.What does a sheepdog look like? Well, there he is, Kevin Vickers, the 58-year-old ceremonial Sergeant-at-Arms of Canada’s parliament.
“Then there are sheepdogs,” he went on, “and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.” Or, as a sign in one California law enforcement agency put it, “We intimidate those who intimidate others.”
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. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.
I think at this point, the best thing to do is to show how his flock showed their thanks.
Note that Vickers did not need to wallow in therapy. He just needed to get back to work. Bravo Zulu.
A final note, there were other sheepdogs present that day, but fate gave them a pass.
After they heard gunfire outside their meeting room door Wednesday, Members of Parliament snapped close to 15 flagpoles to make sharp weapons.Defending their Prime Minister. In 2014, the Anglosphere still has it.
Some positioned themselves on risers that flanked doors, ready to attack an assailant.
“There were 15 flags up at caucus and all but two were taken down,” one MP recalled.
“These guys were up there holding these spears ready to impale anyone who came in,” the source said.
“It was that or get mowed down,” the Member of Parliament said of the threat posed by a gunman who was ultimately shot dead by Parliament Hill security.
Mr. Harper, meanwhile, had been whisked into a closet in the Centre Block room shortly after the gunfights outside began.
There were more than 150 Tory MPs stuck in this caucus room during the ordeal.
MPs kept their flagpole weapons as souvenirs.
“Everyone was taking their spears home,” said the MP. “I’m going to frame mine.”
"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