Awhile ago, 58-year-old Ki Suk Han was pushed onto the subway tracks in New York City. Even though 60-90 seconds passed before an oncoming train hit the man, a group of up to eighteen bystanders simply stood on the platform and looked on as the train approached and ran him over. One, a freelance photographer for a New York newspaper, even had time to snap a photo of Han’s last moments.
Six months earlier, 49-year-old Patricia Villa was grabbed and thrown onto the same NYC tracks as was Mr. Han. One of her classmates, Luis Polanco, chased down the attacker, punched him, and then, hearing others yell for someone to save her and that a train was coming, turned and joined a group who pulled her off the tracks.
Two nearly identical situations. In the first, bystanders look on and do nothing as a man is killed. In the second, they step in to save a life. Why do some men freeze up and react passively in a crisis, while others take action? Why do some run away from danger and others run toward it?
Why are some men sheep and other men sheepdogs?
And which one are you?
Not too long ago I read of the comparison above, and felt that it was an interesting and notable example of the differences between people and their reactions to sudden emergency-trauma-crises-disaster…
You might consider that there are three kinds of people in this world.
Sheep, Wolves, and the Sheepdog.
Should be self explanatory. They are the bad-evil people. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. They feed on the sheep, without mercy. They have a capacity for violence and no empathy for one’s fellow citizens. They are aggressive sociopaths.
Most people though are sheep. Generally, most human beings in today’s modern world are kind, gentle, and peaceful. The conflicts and ethical dilemmas they’re regularly faced with rarely rise to the level of life and death, good versus evil. For the most part people deal with challenges that are more annoyances than true crises. And when faced with conflict, they generally try to do the right thing, avoid making waves, and demonstrate pro-social behavior.
The sheeple people though, simply don’t know how to deal with evil and dangerous people because for the most part they don’t encounter and interact with evil and dangerous people in their day-to-day lives.
Like sheep, they (the sheeple) largely move about with those who are like them and do as others do. They are content to subsist in a predictable and routine sphere. As they live and graze, they cannot envision anything disrupting their peace or routine, and imagine that each day will proceed like the last.
And just like sheep, most sheeple depend on somebody else to protect and take care of them and keep this relatively placid world around them going smoothly, be it the police, military, or some government administrative agency.
For the most part, sheeple live in denial. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world.
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 is not intent on harming the sheep. They will protect the flock.
The sheepdog will confront the wolf.
A sheepdog, a warrior, is someone who is walking the unsheltered path.
The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day.
The sheepdog is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night.
Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But most people can choose which one they want to be.