Friday, March 24, 2006

Well said, sir!

It appears that UW debate over a memorial to honor "Pappy" Boyington at the University of Washington (see my initial post here) raised the hackles of a retired General...

Subject: FW: Gen. Dula's letter to the University of Washington Student Senate Leader.

Jill Edwards is one of the students at the University of Washington who did not want to honor Medal of Honor winner USMC Colonel Greg Boyington because she does not think those who serve in the U.S. Armed services are good role models. I think that this response is an excellent and thought provoking response.

General Dula is a Retired Air Force Lt Gen (3 Star Gen).

Gen. Dula's letter to the University of Washington student senate leader:

To: Edwards, Jill (student, UW)
Subject: Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

Miss Edwards,
I read of your 'student activity' regarding the proposed memorial to Col Greg Boyington, USMC and a Medal of Honor winner. I suspect you will receive a bellyful of angry e-mails from conservative folks like me. You may be too young to appreciate fully the sacrifices of generations of servicemen and servicewomen on whose shoulders you and your fellow students stand. I forgive you for the untutored ways of youth and your naïveté. It may be that you are, simply, a sheep. There's no dishonor in being a sheep - - as long as you know and accept what you are.

Please take a couple of minutes to read the following. And be grateful for the thousands - - millions - - of American sheepdogs who permit you the freedom to express even bad ideas.

Brett Dula
Sheepdog, retired

Well said, sir! And thank you, Max, for sharing.

The 'following' that Dula refers to is "On Sheep, Sheepdogs, and Wolves", written by LtCol (ret) Dave Grossman. You can read the whole thing in the Blackfive archives. Here's an excerpt ...

On Sheep, Sheepdogs, and Wolves
By Dave Grossman

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident." This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another.

Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but 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.

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

If you haven't already, read the whole thing.

By the way - the second resolution on this issue, which was written to honor all of the CMOH recipients from the University, has passed out of the General committee, and is now in the 'second reading' phase. The democratic process is still working.