Updated: Feb 11, 2020

While my writing involves works of fiction, designed to both thrill and entertain readers, it is also intended to honor those men and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting others from harm. Whether they serve in the clandestine intelligence community, the military, or in law enforcement, these individuals are sheepdogs—waiting for the wolf to appear. More accurately, they are seeking the wolf out before he can attack the sheep.

The sheepdog concept was originally developed by Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Dave Grossman in his book On Combat. Here is an excerpt from that book entitled On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs (edited for space).

"Though we may well be in the most violent times in history, 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.

Then there are the wolves and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy. 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.

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.

We know that sheep live in denial, that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world so they choose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do no 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, cannot, and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog 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 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 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 the one lowly sheepdog."

While some may disagree with our government’s foreign policy and deployment of our military or clandestine operators overseas, or they may criticize decisions on how to best utilize understaffed law enforcement agencies to protect the community, never, ever, question the commitment or heart of the men and women who actually serve. They made a conscious decision to stand in the gap between chaos and clam. They instinctively move toward the sound of gunfire rather than running away, knowing what the consequence may be.

I hope you enjoy my work. I also hope the fictional characters portrayed cause you to pause and reflect on those “real life” characters, the sheepdogs, who protect and defend us every day. Perhaps my characters will even bring out the sheepdog in you.

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© 2020 by Matthew Sherley.

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