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The Parable Of The Sheep


Flyflinger

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Not so long ago and in a pasture too uncomfortably close to here, a flock of sheep lived and grazed. They were protected by a dog, who answered to the master, but despite his best efforts from time to time a nearby pack of wolves would prey upon the flock.

One day a group of sheep, more bold than the rest, met to discuss their dilemma. “Our dog is good, and vigilant, but he is one dog and the wolves are many. The wolves he catches are not always killed, and the master judges and releases many to prey again upon us, for no reason we can understand. What can we do? We are sheep, but we do not wish to be food, too!”

One sheep spoke up, saying “It is his teeth and claws that make the wolf so terrible to us. It is his nature to prey, and he would find any way to do it, but it is the tools he wields that make it possible. If we had such teeth, we could fight back, and stop this savagery.” The other sheep clamored in agreement, and they went together to the old bones of the dead wolves heaped in the corner of the pasture, and gathered fang and claw and made them into weapons.

That night, when the wolves came, the newly armed sheep sprang up with their weapons and struck at them and cried “Begone! We are not food!” and drove off the wolves, who were astonished. When did sheep become so bold and so dangerous to wolves? When did sheep grow teeth? It was unthinkable!

The next day, flush with victory and waving their weapons, they approached the flock to pronounce their discovery. But as they drew nigh, the flock huddled together and cried out “Baaaaaaaadddd! Baaaaaddd things! You have bad things! We are afraid! You are not sheep!”

The brave sheep stopped, amazed. “But we are your brethren!” they cried, “We are still sheep, but we do not wish to be food. See, our new teeth and claws protect us and have saved us from slaughter. They do not make us into wolves, they make us equal to the wolves, and safe from their viciousness!”

“Baaaaaaaddd!”, cried the flock,”the things are bad and will pervert you, and we fear them. You cannot bring them into the flock. They scare us!”. So the armed sheep resolved to conceal their weapons, for although they had no desire to panic the flock, they wished to remain in the fold. But they would not return to those nights of terror, waiting for the wolves to come.

In time, the wolves attacked less often and sought easier prey, for they had no stomach for fighting sheep who possessed tooth and claw even as they did. Not knowing which sheep had fangs and which did not, they came to leave sheep out of their diet almost completely except for the occasional raid, from which more than one wolf did not return. Then came the day when, as the flock grazed beside the stream, one sheep’s weapon slipped from the folds of her fleece, and the flock cried out in terror again, “Baaaaaaddddd! You still possess these evil things! We must ban you from our presence!”.

And so they did. The great chief sheep and his court and council, encouraged by the words of their moneylenders and advisors, placed signs and totems at the edges of the pasture forbidding the presence of hidden weapons there. The armed sheep protested before the council, saying “It is our pasture, too, and we have never harmed you! When can you say we have caused you hurt? It is the wolves, not we, who prey upon you. We are still sheep, but we are not food!”. But the flock would not hear, and drowned them out with cries of “Baaaaaaddd! We will not hear your clever words! You and your things are evil and will harm us!”.

Saddened by this rejection, the armed sheep moved off and spent their days on the edges of the flock, trying from time to time to speak with their brethren to convince them of the wisdom of having such teeth, but meeting with little success. They found it hard to talk to those who, upon hearing their words, would roll back their eyes and flee, crying “Baaaaddd! Bad things!”.

That night, the wolves happened upon the sheep’s totems and signs, and said, “Truly, these sheep are fools! They have told us they have no teeth! Brothers, let us feed!”. And they set upon the flock, and horrible was the carnage in the midst of the fold. The dog fought like a demon, and often seemed to be in two places at once, but even he could not halt the slaughter. It was only when the other sheep arrived with their weapons that the wolves fled, vowing to each other to remain on the edge of the pasture and wait for the next time they could prey, for if the sheep were so foolish once, they would be so again. This they did, and do still.

In the morning, the armed sheep spoke to the flock, and said, “See? If the wolves know you have no teeth, they will fall upon you. Why be prey? To be a sheep does not mean to be food for wolves!”. But the flock cried out, more feebly for their voices were fewer, though with no less terror, “Baaaaaaaadddd! These things are bad! If they were banished, the wolves would not harm us! Baaaaaaaddd!”. The other sheep could only hang their heads and sigh. The flock had forgotten that even they possessed teeth; how else could they graze the grasses of the pasture? It was only those who preyed, like the wolves and jackals, who turned their teeth to evil ends. If you pulled their own fangs those beasts would take another’s teeth and claws, perhaps even the broad flat teeth of sheep, and turn them to evil purposes.

The bold sheep knew that the fangs and claws they possessed had not changed them. They still grazed like other sheep, and raised their lambs in the spring, and greeted their friend the dog as he walked among them. But they could not quell the terror of the flock, which rose in them like some ancient dark smoky spirit and could not be damped by reason, nor dispelled by the light of day.

So they resolved to retain their weapons, but to conceal them from the flock; to endure their fear and loathing, and even to protect their brethren if the need arose, until the day the flock learned to understand that as long as there were wolves in the night, sheep would need teeth to repel them.

They would still be sheep, but they would not be food!

By Charles Riggs, © 1997

There is no limit to what a man can do or how far he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit

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The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.

There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we'd be more civilized if all guns were removed from society. But, a firearm makes it easier for an armed mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger's potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat - it has no validity when most of a mugger's potential marks are armed.

People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that's the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.

Then there's the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.

People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don't constitute lethal force, watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier, works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level.

The gun is the only weapon that's as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply would not work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn't both lethal and easily employable.

When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation--and that's why carrying a gun is a
civilized act.

Marko Kloos

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Let the sheep be, wolves have to eat too......

When all the sheep are gone, we can slaughter the wolves to extinction like we have done in the past!

jdmidwest 2012

"Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously."

Hunter S. Thompson

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Yep, people are sheep.

Oh, is that not the point of the parable?

If we could wave a magic wand and remove all guns from society, society would be a little more civilized, but not much. And anything short of that impossibility falls into the category of "If guns were outlawed, only outlaws would have guns." Unfortunately, I think we have to put up with gun crime and violence the same way we put up with automobile accidents. Some people are just gonna die, and most will still live. We can try to lessen it by enforcing existing laws the same way we try to lessen the likelihood of auto accidents by punishing drunk drivers and speeders, but we ain't gonna get rid of it.

A lot more gun education would help, though. If people didn't have such an unreasoning fear of guns--or conversely, if they didn't believe what they saw on TV and in the movies where the gun solves every problem and the good guys get shot and are up walking around with a bandaid on the next day--they would be seen for the tools they are and not either metal demons or gods. Maybe gun education showing how to handle guns safely and what guns are capable of doing should be mandatory in the schools.

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So then the head sheep and his sheep sherriff decided to get a bunch of teeth and claws and sell them on the black market to the most violent of all the wolves. Their hope was that once the rest of the sheep discovered that these teeth and claws actually came from the sheep's stash, the sheep would comply with the head sheep's intent to make all teeth and claws illegal.

Unfortunately, what happened is that before anyone realized what was going on, the wolves used the extra teeth and claws to murder the dog. Now the head sheep and his sheep sherriff are trying to convince the rest of the sheep that they were completely unaware of the entire chain of events before they get thrown in jail on murder charges....

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Yep, people are sheep.

Oh, is that not the point of the parable?

It also didn't mention all the times the sheep with teeth and claws got drunk and mauled each other, or every time they had a minor disagreement it ended up in sheepicide. Or how every once in a while a lamb would find a tooth or claw and end up with his lambrains all over the place.

I'd say the parable might be missing, let's say...a little nuance.

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It also didn't mention all the times the sheep with teeth and claws got drunk and mauled each other, or every time they had a minor disagreement it ended up in sheepicide. Or how every once in a while a lamb would find a tooth or claw and end up with his lambrains all over the place.

I'd say the parable might be missing, let's say...a little nuance.

Oh well, it's a parable, not a textbook. The sheepicide and the torn up lambs are also part of the price of owning wolf teeth, given that there will always be stupid and irresponsible sheep.

There is always an element of risk in owning firearms, same as there is driving a car. The responsible person minimizes the risk, but cannot eliminate it.

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It also didn't mention all the times the sheep with teeth and claws got drunk and mauled each other, or every time they had a minor disagreement it ended up in sheepicide. Or how every once in a while a lamb would find a tooth or claw and end up with his lambrains all over the place.

I'd say the parable might be missing, let's say...a little nuance.

I just call it natural selection

"Honor is a man's gift to himself" Rob Roy McGregor

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