We May be "Sheep," but Cops Aren't Good Shepherds

by Will Grigg

Referring to a recent incident in which an Oregon traffic stop led to a shootout in which the driver died, a police officer opined: “If sheep continue to disobey orders we will have much more of this.” He also referred wistfully to the days before “dash cams and YouTube”; the era before police encounters were recorded offered “easier times when it came to dealing with the sheep.”

The description of common citizens as “sheep” wasn’t meant to imply that police are benevolent shepherds. Lt. Col. David Grossman, a retired Army Ranger who provides combat instruction for police officers nation-wide describes “sheep” as people who lack what he calls the “gift of aggression” that sets police officers apart. Such people sometimes engage in excesses – such as beating handcuffed suspects, body-slamming tiny women to pavement or sidewalks, or otherwise abusing smaller and defenseless people – but this isn’t abuse, according to Grossman; instead, it’s an outgrowth of their irrepressible “yearning for an honest battle.”

Peace officers, by way of contrast, don’t yearn for battle. Instead, they seek to de-escalate confrontations in order to protect life and property.

Genuine peace officers have always been a rarity. Today, such people are practically extinct.

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