Sunday, May 04, 2008

Some thoughts following up on 'On Combat' Updated

Got this in a comment from Saladman:
I have a concern, though. It seems to me that the ethos of the policeman as warrior is in direct conflict with the ethos of the police as the public, exemplified in Robert Peel's principles of policing. (

And the same for his idea of sheepdogs, sheep and wolves. I get what he was expressing, and there's a great deal of truth to it. (I'm not so sure there's a hard line between his sheep and sheepdogs when you start considering civilians who provide for their own defense.) But when I hear people talking in the real world now about being a sheepdog, as often as not there's an arrogance or an elitism present that I would not expect to find in someone truly and firmly in the sheepdog category. Specifically including some police officers, unfortunately.

Not sure what to do about it, just something I've been thinking about.

Thoughts well worth working on.

As to the first, he's got a different definition of 'warrior' in this context than people tend to use. I can't get to the book right now to look it up, it was something like 'someone willing to take risks to protect others'(found it, it's added at the end). Much different from what you see in magazines with articles like "XXX-City SWAT: Street Warriors!" and the attitude of some who like to kick doors at every opportunity and generally treat anyone not carrying a badge as either the enemy or subhuman. Or both. An officer can definitely hold the Peel's Principles and be considered a 'warrior' in that respect.

On the second: though he mostly mentions LE and military in the book, he does say in the intro "Or perhaps you have chosen to be a martial arts practitioner or an armed citizen, seeking to defend yourself or your love ones in their hour of need?" I think he does consider those citizens as sheepdogs, I do think that since he primarily wrote this book for LE and military, that's what he concentrates on.

And yeah, you're right: some people will take any possible method to consider themselves superior to everyone else. In some cases it's probably just a bit too much pride: a man should be proud of a job well done, but as various religions and wise men have pointed out over time, too much pride can be a bit of a problem. And you will run into some who'll claim a title they may not have the best of claims to: I've known a few LE officers who were far more of feral dog or borderline(on the wrong side) wolf than sheepdog, but if they'd read this book or heard the description at the time they'd have loudly claimed that description. Usually as a way of either defending themselves or pushing the line of "All I go through to protect you, how dare you not kiss my ass?" We've got the bad ones as well as the good.

Thinking about it, there's a definite case to be made for using 'shepherd' instead of 'warrior': the shepherd is/was often alone, day and night, watching and tending and protecting the flock. After all, what was David in the beginning? A shepherd with a sling. And you know what he did.

* found it, as follows:
Page 176, Chapter 5, Modern Paladins Bearing the Shield

I use the terms “warrior” and “warriorhood” throughout this book. When you think of a warrior you might think of a Zulu warrior, an Apache warrior, or some other historic model, and while there are many models for a warrior, I use it to mean those who are willing to sacrifice themselves to defend others, those who move toward the sound of the guns, and those who continue in the face of adversity to do what needs to be done.

The warrior alone advanced toward interpersonal aggression and he is the only sane, rational creature who has any chance of functioning and even thrivingin the toxic realm of combat. The degree to which he can understand, master and function in that realm is the degree to which he will survive and accomplish his mission.

There are some people who do not like the term warrior, but if you are in a war are you not a warrior? Do we have a war on crime? Is there a war on drugs? Are we now engaged in a war on terrorism? Are there people who wake up every morning determined to send you home to your family in a box?

If you are in a war then you are a warrior. On a battlefield, there are warrior and there are victims. Decide now which one you are.

1 comment:

AmericanMercenary said...

A true "warrior" is first and foremost a professional.

If your job is to protect and serve, then you are both a protector and a servant.

And there is nothing lowly about being a servant, nor is there anything lordly about being a warrior.

It is just a job. Not an excuse for a power trip or ego boost.

Someone can be calm, collected, and ready for violence at the same time. But if their ego is involved then calm and collected goes right out the window.