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Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman on being Sheepdog Strong

By February 7, 2018 August 12th, 2020 No Comments

“What we need to realize is just how bad it is out there, and how very much we need our protectors.”–David Grossman

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David Grossman is well known for teaching at West Point, as a trainer for various law enforcement and Criminal Justice organizations, and as an extremely important author and thinker regarding the psychology of killing. He talks with Commander Divine about current violence in society and the importance of what soldiers and police do.

Learn how:

  • It is essential that we understand the difference between “stress” and “disorder.”
  • The idea of the Sheepdog comes from Lieutenant Colonel Grossman, and it still describes what he believes to be the true calling of the American citizen
  • The prime disorder in the modern world is sleep deprivation caused by technology and stress

Make sure to listen and hear how through technology we are teaching violence to our children and how to handle it.

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Transcript & Shownotes

Hey folks, this is Mark Divine. Welcome back to the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in today. I don’t take it lightly. I know you got a lot of things vying for your attention. Way more than you probably should. But that’s neither here nor there. The fact that you’re listening means that you’re focusing in on the right things at the right time for the right reasons. So good job on that.

And today we will not disappoint. My gust today is Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman. You may have heard about him. I certainly have. Read 2 of his books. “On Killing,” and “On Combat.” And I’ll get into a little bit more of lengthier introduction in a second.

But before I do, I am really passionate about helping vets this year. 2018’s the years where I, you know…. a month ago I said, “God, I gotta do something. I can’t just talk about it. Gotta do something.”

And I started this foundation, and we’re like, “Hey, we’re working on vets. We’re gonna help vets. And I took 4 vets to Greece. And we hiked the trail from Sparta to Thermopylae. And it was profoundly effective and a profound experience. For all of us. And it really inspired me to think bigger.

And so I decided that this year, with the help of a bunch of other hardy individuals, we’re going to do 22 million burpees. Everybody can do a burpee. And even if you don’t want to do a burpee, you can support us by pledging some money. Doesn’t have to be any more than a penny or a half a cent or whatever money you want. I’m committing personally to a hundred thousand burpees. I’m looking for a thousand people… or 900 more people to join me cause I’ve got a hundred lined up. We’re already at the 4 million burpee commitment. And we just started this January 1st.

So our goal is to do 22 million burpees. And the reason for that number is there’s 22 veterans who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress who are committing suicide every day. That is unsat. And we’ve gotta do something about it. We gotta help these guys. There is a way to help them. It’s not easy, but there is a way.

They need community, they need purpose. They need to learn how to breath again. They need to learn how to manage their stress and haul themselves out of their darkness. And we’re going to help them.

So we’re going to use the money we raise to directly impact hopefully… our goal is 50 vets this year. Through an immersion program with an aftercare, which is critical.

Btu anyways, you can learn more… all about that at And that’ll take you to the information at the Courage Foundation.



So thanks for that. And this is something that Lieutenant Colonel Grossman know a lot about. He’s a retired Army… West Point teacher. Internationally recognized scholar. Author, like I said, of some books that have been extraordinarily influential in the military and in law-enforcement. And really kind of quote-unquote wrote the book on what the psychology of warfare when it comes to the individual combatant.

His most recent book is “Assassination Generation.” Now he’s taking it… a look at what he learned in warfare and applying it to kind of a broader issue of what’s happening in society. With the society of violence. Coined the term “Killology” which I’m really interested in learning about.

So yeah, this is really timely information. And Colonel Grossman’s been at this for many years. And he’s the prevailing expert on this subject.

So Colonel Grossman, thanks so much for your time today. Really appreciate you joining us.

Colonel Grossman: You bet Mark. Honored to be on board. In all the good things that you’ve been achieving out there. I’m eager to talk to you some about aspects of that.

Mark: Yeah. Thanks very much. So, before we kind of get into some of the research things and, you know, what it means to be Sheepdog strong and all that… can you give our audience a little sense about kind of who you are at a personal level. Where’d you grow up? What were your early influences? How did you get even into the military? How did you get interested in all this stuff?

Grossman: I grew up as a cop’s kid. A veteran’s kid. My dad started in Wyoming in 1962. I grew up in the martial arts, enlisted in the 82nd Airborne Division in 1974. Went to OCS in ’78. Graduated December 7th, a day that will live in infamy…

And got my lieutenant’s bars, West Point Psych professor. Army Ranger. Had the honor to…

Mark: Right, so you didn’t go to West Point until 14 years into your career. So what was the career like? That’s a long 14 years. Very formative.

Grossman: I started out with the old 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington. And test bed, platoon leader, and weapons platoon leader. Company XO. Battalion S1. And they all went real well. The Army gave me 18 months to finish my Bachelor’s degree. At that time, OCS all you needed was a 2 year degree. OCS just had dirt cheap resource for the military compared to the others. They gave us 18 months to finish our Bachelor’s degree.

First time since I was 18 years-old, I get up every morning and bang my head against the… “Wait a ‘sec. There’s another world out there. I want more of this.”

And so I ended up going to the 7th Infantry Division. And company command, and division staff… doing some neat things there. Selected to teach at West Point.

Which is one of the paths you get a degree on the Army’s time. And it was awesome.

And then West Point… about half of the professors at West Point are grads. About half are ROTC. And at the time I was the only OCS grad there. Kind of cool. So it was a good setup. I’m an OCS grad. I taught at West Point. I ran an ROTC program. If you need to know about any of them, I give you some insight.

But it was a great ride. Academically, very, very… psychologically very refreshing. I’d actually written and got permission from my first book, “On Killing.” You know, I enlisted in ’74 and in the 82nd we had VFM vets all around us. We wanted to know what combat was going to be like. And they wouldn’t say. It was just this weird thing that people wouldn’t talk about it.

And you know what? My initial focal point was, “It’s about killing.” They want to talk about killing, it’s very intimate. It’s very personal. And so I wrote my first book, “On Killing.”

And a very, very useful and valuable book academically. But what I found out and I ran an ROTC program. I went to Arkansas State University, 1989. Clinton was president. Cold war was over. And my wife and I ask ourselves, how can we best use the gifts we’ve been given?

And I had lots of invitations to come and speak. Taking all of my leave time, and weekends to do presentations. I pulled the plug and left the big green machine, and I was going to polish off my PhD… Had a fully funded scholarship. And I realized in the first I wouldn’t have time for it.

20 years now, been on the road 20 years. And we added it up. One year it was 280, last year it was 210 days on the road. So we would tell people over 200 days–average 250 days a year on the road.

Train every agency, I’ve trained cops in all 50 states. I think I’m the only law-enforcement trainer in America fostered by all 50 states. I’ve had the honor to train all of our tier one Spec Ops.

And after I got out in ’98, until the war began, the only people who were in combat was law-enforcement. I was training across this law-enforcement community, but I was just absorbing data. Just this amazing insight.

Stress and PTSD


And for those who felt good with themselves, killings just not that big a deal. And combat was the important part was what I put in “On Combat.” The auditory exclusion, the slow-motion time, the tunnel vision. The sensory gating. The memory gaps and the memory distortions. And how it would blindside people.

Cause nobody warned them what was going to happen. And even more important was what I call the puppy coming for a visit. You know, you touch a hot stove, it’s a trial. Boom. Neurons are seared into your brain. “Never touch that stove again.”

That same kind of powerful neural pathway is established in combat. And what happens is something happens and it sparks the memory. And we got a human brain on top of the dog brain. I call it the “Puppy brain.” The dog underneath there.

And Arkansas State Trooper first gunfight. Everything’s great. Week later, up in the bleachers with his wife, watching his daughter in a swim meet. Starter’s gun goes off when he doesn’t expect it. Boom. Heart’s pounding. Gasping for air. Drenched with sweat. His wife thought he was having a heart attack. It’s not at heart attack, it’s what we call a panic attack.

It is not PTSD. It’s normal. You’ve got to be warned it might happen. And this whole business where we see it most with my cops is a cops in a deadly force incident. A week later, a month later, 6 months later, goes to qualify. First time he pulls that trigger again, the puppy’s going crazy. That neural pathway… the puppy blew a hole through the screen door, grabbed you by the throat, peed in your lap. And that’s it.

And then there goes the puppy… 6 months later you go to qualify. And you’re shaking and your heart’s pounding and nobody warned you this might happen. It is not PTSD. It’s normal.

Mark: That’s interesting.

Grossman: That was really where it was at… that’s what I found to be of great value. And can we talk about our veterans for a minute because this is latest stuff. Been doing a lot of work with veterans. You know, you mentioned 22 veterans a day take their life. Now best we can tell, that’s accurate.

You gotta extrapolate an awful lot of data… it’s probably a pretty good guesstimate. But what’s important is the vast majority of that 22 are not from the current war. And that’s a big… of course, there’s those Vietnam vets. There’s those Gulf War vets. And the VFW and the American Legion tells us several million people are fraudulently claiming to be Vietnam veterans. We count…

So the point is that of that 22… 1 is too many… but only a small number from the current war. And there’s this… there’s anti-war propaganda that wars evil and it destroys everybody. Must never go to war again.

Well we kind of do what we theorize with the data. One of the biggest lies out there is that all of our veterans have PTSD. The Senator from California says, “All veterans are insane. Should never be trusted. Should have their guns taken away.”

Front page article in USA Today on how cops are hiring veterans. Military veterans to be cops and what an awful thing that is cause they’re all suffering from PTSD. And it’s a complete and total crock.

I’m presenting this at national, international conferences. Psych conferences. The highest levels. And there’s just no doubt about this. Used to be you had to dig for this, but the VA tells us now if you Google. What percentage of our veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan get PTSD?

The VA tells us 16% of the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD. 11% of the troops that did not deploy have PTSD. About 5% contract PTSD. The two best US standards, the Veteran’s administration, the British studies and their troops in Afghanistan. The Dutch study and their troops in Afghanistan. They keep coming up with about 5%.

And they’re really looking at that 5%. We have 3 million veterans of this war, 5% of 3 million people is a lot of people. Keep it in perspective.

I keep hearing from veterans who think there’s something wrong with them. Because there’s nothing wrong with them. And there’s this myth that veterans are suicidal, homicidal, PTSD riddled nutcases. And who would want to hire one of those?

What I tell people is if you give a hoot about our veterans, this misrepresentation of our veterans, this smear campaign… And I’ll tell you where it came from. You can Google this and look it up. The first group of troops coming back from Iraq. A pretty good study and 30 to 40% had some symptoms of PTSD.

Now that is not PTSD. It’s normal. Loud noise goes off. Boom, you hit the dirt. That’s a symptom of PTSD. It’s also survival mechanism that’ll take a while to go away. So very, very, very good study. 30-40% had some symptoms. The media reported it, not one week later. They took one word out. That’s not a lie, is it? Take one word out?

30-40% had symptoms of PTSD, took out the “some.”

Couple weeks later, take out one more word. 30-40% have PTSD.

And Google 40% PTSD, see how many times it comes up. And every single time is a lie.

So the point is that the main problem that veterans have is getting jobs. There’s this smear about veterans that they’re homicidal, suicidal, PTSD riddled nutcases–when the truth is just the opposite. A veteran is less than a tenth as likely to commit a violent crime as a non-veteran of the same age. They are a new Greatest generation coming home. They’re our best and brightest. 5% contracted PTSD, 16% overall have PTSD. The vast majority need one thing–they need jobs.

I tell people, “Hire a vet.” They have maturity, they have experience, they have discipline and special bonus order now. They’re less than a tenth as likely to kill you as a non-veteran of the same age. What a deal.

So this dynamic up-front of our veterans… and I’ve come full-cycle… from going in the military to going to law-enforcement, and now coming back to our veterans. And putting out the big message.

And the other thing about PTSD is that we’re really good at treating it. We get better every day. Medical science moves on. Another lie–cover of Time magazine. PTSD is the untreatable disease. It is a lie.

We have hundreds of thousands of cases of PTSD cases we treat and recover fully. And I present at national, international psych conferences. They have every flavor of shrink in the audience. I say what… how many of you personally know of cases… personally, of your own personal experience, where PTSD was treated and recovered fully. Half the hands go up. Everybody with a hand up is poking a finger in the eye of the lying dog that says PTSD is for life.

IN the face of ever advancing medical science. Why, in the face of hundreds of thousands of cases of PTSD were treated and recovered fully? Why in the face of the indomitable human spirit? Why would any mental health professional say PTSD’s for life?

2 reasons. Number 1, politics. Now war is evil and they’re all driven mad. We must never go to war again. The price of war is too high. Oh, we get it, we get it.

Number 2, job security. If I have hooked you into a lifetime of therapy and maybe with a lifetime of therapy we can adapt. No. We’re increasingly convinced that if you want to get better, if you get the proper treatment, almost everybody will recover fully from PTSD, better from the experience.

I trained a major SWAT team. Major national SWAT team. During the break they came on, “Hey Colonel. Doc psyched this guy off the team, now Doc says he’s okay. Can we trust him?”

Yes, you can trust him. He’s stronger for the experience. He’s got a piece of paper says he’s sane. You got one of those?

And in the SEAL community… God, you guys can eat your own and pick away at each other… but they’re magnificent really across the board. Next door is Missouri, the governor of the state of Missouri is a SEAL. What a magnificent guy.

Mark: He’s a good guy. He’s getting taken down.

Grossman: Another great guy is Lutrell. Marcus Lutrell. “Lone Survivor.” And he has a podcast… I was on a podcast little over a year ago. And I got his permission to talk about him. I was able to work with his whole team before and after the incident. And I tell people, “PTSD…” Post -Traumatic Stress is like being overweight. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is like being obese.

There’s a big difference between overweight and obese. And Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is obese. We use that final word, that final part 2 lightly. A lot of people have post-traumatic stress, it becomes post-traumatic growth. They’re stronger for the experience.

But Marcus Lutrell’s doc told me he came back from that incident and he was 500 pounds PTSD. Totally debilitated.

A year later, he’s 50 pounds PTSD. He wanted to deploy with his unit, and he did and it was a good thing. And I told him at the time, “Look how far you’ve come in just the last year. Have confidence you can come farther.”

He tells us now that he is 100% post-traumatic free. And his friends said, “Hey, he was a mean sucker before this and he’s a mean sucker afterwards. He’s still a mean sucker, but his post-traumatic stress too.”

Now it took years. It wasn’t easy. Men like that come out the other end totally free of post-traumatic stress. Anyone can. So the message we got to send to people is the vast majority of the veterans are stronger for the experience. They’re the new greatest generation.

The small percentage that need help–have faith the help can help. And please, for many mental health professionals says PTSD’s for life. And you know what? I got an email from a British psychiatrist. He said, “Dave, everything I’m reading says that the American troops are getting 40% PTSD. The British are 5% PTSD. What’s the difference?”

The difference is lying dirt bags in the media. This persistent theme of the broken veteran. This malignant misrepresentation of veterans should tick us off right down to our socks.

A new generation’s coming home, and men like you are taking the lessons of the battlefield and applying it to a broader span of our civilization. And it’s magnificent times.

I’m a “Lord of the Rings” fan. And the movie left out “The Scouring of the Shire.” Maybe one of the most usable parts of the movie. The hobbits come back to Hobbiton. The evil is in there. And they kick tail and sort things out.

The idea of the returning veteran, the greatest generation coming home and using their skills to make the world a better place… it’s a beautiful thing. And that’s what you represent.

Mark: Yeah, you’re right. I think that’s happening in a lot of areas.

Sleep Deprivation


Mark: There’s a couple thoughts I have on PTS. I agree with what you’re saying about the media and, you know, the vets getting a really bad rap. I think that the vets that get PTS oftentimes it’s unresolved issues that they had prior to going in the military.

Grossman: Absolutely.

Mark: And if you do the statistics against the general population from a pure numbers standpoint, it’s probably about the same statistical number have the horrible… the “D” part. The horrible problems and suicidal and depression and all that.

My issue is that these guys and ladies just aren’t getting the support they need from within the system. And the VA has been pumping them up with basically the pharmacology cornucopia. And so I think that we have to basically call foul on that too. And then step in and help them out with the things that you talk about that we know work.

We know how to inoculate against stress. For the stress through martial techniques such as breath control, and movement and nature. And having a teammate and a mentor and a buddy. And having a mission again. And all those things.

And there’s some great organizations out there. So, yeah, there is a solution and people can heal. I just got a call today from one of the guys we took to Greece. And we walked 200 and some odd miles in 8 days. And we did breathing training and visualization. And we had just awesome communing at night over beer and beef and… You know… pork or whatever they eat over there.

It was awesome. We had an amazing time. And this guy has been completely transformed in 8 days. Now he needs long term work just like everyone else, but this guy had been down and out for 10 years. And obese. And was in a wheelchair before he started training for this event.

But now he’s almost healed, so…

Grossman: I think there’s value through our whole community to understand. When you’re talking about suicide. The media doesn’t like to talk about suicide. They found out they report suicide, they get more suicides. This reporting of vets being suicidal, one of the major factors could be constantly hanging that out there as a reminder. Putting that in their minds when they might not otherwise have had it.

But suicide across Asia, across Europe, across North America is at levels in our darkest nightmares we never imagined. Suicide…

Mark: Yeah, it’s been going up year to year and also specifically for men.

Grossman: Yeah. And here’s what’s happening. And this is terribly important. The critical new component is sleep deprivation.

Now we always knew that alcohol and suicide had a close relationship. Alcohol creates impaired judgement. You make a bad decision and don’t get a chance to rethink it.

But the most pervasive form of impaired judgement is sleep deprivation. After 18 hours without sleep, your impaired judgement equal to .08. Legally drunk.

After 24 hours without sleep, you’re impaired judgement to .10. Above legal.

Have 2 or 3 days without sleep, you are psychotic. Any graduate of Army Ranger’s school will tell you about hallucinations on about the 3rd day without sleep.

What’s happening is this, we have a new component in our society with video games, with social media, we have cell phones. And our bodies are incompetent at making us get enough sleep. It always happened naturally. It got dark–body didn’t have to make you sleep. Our bodies are pretty good at air, food, water. We gotta watch it. Our bodies are truly incompetent at getting sleep.

So what we have is we got video games, cell phones and here is what I tell people. With our kids–and I got teenage grandkids now. When you send your kid to bed at night, take their cell phone away from them.

Cell phone in the room, laptop in the room, they got to go to the room and sleep. A cop told me, he said, “I had a good girl. She was an ‘A’ student. She said, ‘Dad, it’s embarrassing. You don’t have to take my cell phone every night. You can trust me.’ So I trusted her.”

“And she took her life. He said, ‘I never knew the hell my little girl was living in until we looked at the text messages on her cell phone.'” Night after night after night of ceaseless, relentless, vicious bullying. And she’s up all night long trying to defend herself. Trying to find somebody else who will stand up for her.

He said, “My little girl was sleep deprived and bullied to death. The one thing on earth I could have done for her, was take her cell phone every night. Send her to bed.”

He said, “I can’t ignore that text message in the middle of the night. How do I expect my children to?”

And drug overdoses, impaired judgement is a critical factor in drug overdoses. Traffic accidents–traffic fatality had been coming down decade by decade–now they’re back up again.

We have an epidemic of sleep deprivation. The 3 major killers of our kids is suicide, traffic accidents and drug overdoses. And all 3–sleep deprivation, impaired judgement–is a critical component. So we’re fighting a worldwide epidemic. We’re trying to digest a new form of technology with these cell phones and these video games. There’s been a lot in the news recently on how your children should not have cell phones. That cell phones are harmful to children. They’re addictive. And how we gotta be so very careful in how we use them.

Mark: Yeah, the big push from the investors in Apple to lobby them to do something to figure out how to limit kids using cell phones. And I just checked out a new company called “Lightphone,” which is basically like a throwback to the ’80s. It’s just a simple phone with… but it ports over the telephone number from your iPhone or something so you can leave it behind.

Cause my son’s 18 and any time we take his phone away, we did that and he was like, “How am I supposed to contact you?” And I’m like, “We know you’re fine. Trust me.”

But if we could give him the flip phone back… so there is a little movement in that area. I 100% agree.

We talk about sleep a lot on this show, and Dr. Parsley is a SEAL doc. I don’t know if you know…

Grossman: Great guy.

Mark: Yeah, he’s a great guy. So he’s doing great work and trying to expose the problem of sleep as well.

Can I ask you a little bit about on the subject of our social change? It’s near and dear to everyone’s heart. And you wrote this book “Assassination Generation,” cause I’ve often wondered, what is the effect of someone who sits in front of a first-person shooter videogame for hours at a time. And what’s happening in the world in regard to that? Is some of the violence we see related to social media and to video games? It seems to me that it must be.

Grossman: Out entire medical community–3 Surgeon Generals screaming from the mountainside that media violence is a factor in violence in our society. You know, my first book, “On Killing”… at the end of the book I added this little thing, “Here’s how we teach the military to kill, and by the way, it’s happening in video games.”

He’s a great agent, he’s been a friend ever since. He said, “You know, you need to dig a little deeper into that.” And so the final section… and here it is in a nutshell, and I think everybody can understand it. You look at some horrible crime. We say, “Aah, that proves rogue killers.” That’s an outlier. Get a big enough population, I’ll give you every possible outlier.

You explain to me that 99% of our citizens will go a lifetime, never kill anybody and never tried to. That’s the hard part to explain. Divorce, Infidelity, Lay-offs, Traffic accidents. And 99 plus % of our citizens will go through a lifetime of that stuff and never once even try to kill somebody. Explain that.

Inside most healthy members of most species is this resistance against killing your own kind. The military slammed into that in World War Two. We learned how to overcome it with pop-up targets and photorealistic targets and simulators. And we know absolutely without a doubt, the same thing’s happening with video games.

So here’s where we are, this is so important. A critical concept. I’m the guest lecturer at criminal justice programs in colleges.

And I tell them, “Number One. The CJ…the entire Criminal Justice community is totally based on misrepresentation. We look at the murder rate. The number of people murdered is the gold standard.

No it’s not. Cause the docs are saving ever more lives every year. And the battlefield a wound that nine out of ten times would have killed… modern medicine we survive that wound nine out of ten times.

That same thing is true on our streets. A major US Harvard study… reputable data, peer reviewed journal. If we had 1970s medical technology the murder rate would be 4 times what it is. And that data is almost 20 years old. The leaps and bounds of medical technology… every day, holding down the murder rate.

The number of dead people around the planet completely under-represent the problem…

Mark: So should we look at what? The attempted murder rate?

Grossman: That’s a better measure. Aggravated assault rate. Interpol calls it “Serious Assault Rate.” Different nations define it differently. What’s important is not comparing between nations, but within each nation, how they measure violence and it’s going up.

So what I want you to understand is for over a decade, every year, the number of people murdered in America came down. Not just the murder-rate… population’s up, number of people murdered down. Almost solely because of medical technology.

And then in 2015, 1700 murdered the year before than the number should be coming down. In ’16, 1300 more Americans murdered than the numbers should be coming down.

For every murder there are thousands and thousands of horrendous assaults and mutilations and lifetime injuries.

Murder… The tip of that iceberg. 2 years straight we’ve seen an explosion of murder. Like nothing we’ve seen since American Civil War. The Attorney General, Sessions, did a press release on this. Look what’s happening! The media’s, “Oh well, that’s nothing compared to the 1970s.” You bastards! Comparing us to the 1970s is a total abomination. A complete misrepresentation of the situation we’re in.

We’re in big trouble. And the FBI had said that it’s the Ferguson effect. And that’s part of the equation. They said we’ve cut the legs from under our cops, we’ve empowered our criminals. The FBI says we’ve created a sense of anger in our criminals. I call it a sense of righteous indignation.

I’m an old geezer. Maybe I’m out of touch. I always thought if you’re a criminal, you’d live your life in fear. You’re a criminal. You broke the laws of society. They’re going to get you.

And now we’ve created this sense of righteous indignation in our criminals that the entire medical… My book “Assassination Generation” talks about the Supreme Court case and the scholarly research in the background. If you want more data on it just look at “Assassination Generation.” It’s blowing the doors off people. The media… a major publisher, Little Brown. Major release. Not one single review. A topic that they don’t want to touch.

And so the book “Assassination Generation“… doing great. “On Combat,” “On Killing,” also talks about that. This is… we need to realize is just how bad it is out there. And how very much we need our protectors, our guardians, our warriors. How desperately we need our Sheepdogs.

Mark: Yeah.

Kids Books


Mark: You know, one thing that I talk about with my folks that I train. I train a lot of warriors, obviously. But over the years, as my business has grown, then statistically speaking I’m training way more civilians.

And I say that everyone needs to step up and be a Sheepdog. You don’t have to wear a uniform, you know?

And I had some people who were in Las Vegas at that concert when that shooter started. And they were students of ours. They’re not law enforcement, they were just civilians. “Just,” quote-unquote.

And they had taken our training. They had been to our 50 hour Kokoro camp–which is our Hell Week sim. And so they had had some inoculation training, so to speak. And they knew how to find cover and deal with that stuff. Even though we weren’t teaching them that, they knew what to do.

And so I’m thinking that type of training is almost… should be mandatory these days. IN schools. How do you teach kids to deal with…? How do we teach people to deal with this stuff and to step up and be Sheepdogs in their own little world?

Grossman: There’s something I want to share with you and your audience out there. I’ve got 2 kids’ books. And the first one, go to Amazon and get a copy. First one is “Sheepdogs: meet our Nations Warriors.” The whole Sheepdog model is there for kids. Blowing them away. Got an email from a cop just today saying he read to a 6 year-old and the 6 year-old loved it. And he said “I couldn’t help but choke up.” it’s deep as you read about it. There’s deep things in there. Kids get it. At the end of it is the original Sheepdog essay which is an extract out of “On Combat.” Just go to Amazon, get a copy of the kids book. “Sheepdogs.” And it’ll blow your doors off. Written by myself and an elementary teacher who’s a NCS wife–a cop’s wife.

And then the 2nd one. The first one pretty much is about military and law enforcement. But it says everybody can be a Sheepdog. And then we said at the end of it, we said, “You know in nature a wolf is born a wolf. And they’re not really bad. They’re part of nature and dogs are born dogs. And sheep are born sheep and they can never be anything else.”

“But people are different. We can be anything we want to be. We’ve got what it takes to be a Sheepdog.”

And the kids get that. After going through that book and people said, “Well what about civilians?” Yeah, we mention civilians in passing here and there, but…

So the 2nd kids’ book was “Why Mommy Carries a Gun.” It’s a children’s book. It’s just talks about the universal gun… if anybody in the family carries a gun, here’s what we want the kids to know. The second amendment, full universal gun safety laws, famous Sheepdogs in our history. We go through… there’s a page on various Sheepdogs out there. We wrap up with Chris Kyle. We were able to give a copy to his widow.

I spoke at the NRA. NRA had 2 conferences last year. The Carry Guard and the Main, and I spoke all 3 days at both conferences. I presented at the “Well-armed Women’s” conference, which is a huge movement. Neat things are happening.

The leadership conference was 900 women. It was amazing.

Mark: “Well Armed Women,” is a group, hunh?

Grossman: The Well-Armed Women. And they have chapters everywhere. My daughter is getting involved even now. We have a gun business at, We have about 9 patents. My son is Air Force Combat controller, another one is a master gunsmith. And my S3 in my shop, my ops guy… I got 3 boys and he’s a champion rock-climber. So it’s kinda fun.

But really woven in with that gun community. With patents and ideas and concepts. Our website is

But this whole dynamic of equipping our protectors. Starting at a young age. Helping them understand… and that’s what these books are about. And that’s what you’re about, what I’m about. To raise that next generation straight and tall and true with the old virtues and the old values. And to sustain ourselves through some pretty bad times. And it’s going to get worse.

Mark: Yeah. If someone experiences a situation like Las Vegas–and I had a couple of people who called me and said, “Hey, you know, I was able to respond well because of it.”

And then I had my neighbor who had no training and he knew about my work, but hadn’t connected with it. And he was there with his family. His wife and kids. And he said, “What do I do?”

And I fumbled through an answer. But what would you say to him, if you’ve been part of a violent aggressive event like that. What’s the first thing you should do and then what’s the long-term?

Grossman: What I tell people is there’s a balancing act here. And the simplest thing but hardest thing in life is balance. And on one side is a pity party. Don’t think that something bad’s going to happen. Just… we all know about hypochondria. And hypochondriacs will make themselves physically ill through mental processes.

You can make yourself mentally ill through mental processes. So the assumption that something’s gonna happen can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. A pity party. You’re stronger from these negative events.

The other half is no macho man, no macho gal. If there is a problem, if you’re having trouble–get help. And the docs are good and they get better every day. And if things are coming unglued, if you’re having trouble–get professional help. The docs are good. They get better every day.

And flee from anybody who tells you PTSD is for life. That’s the acid test out there, they don’t… “Maybe with a lifetime of therapy we can adapt.” No, stay away from those people. But find somebody out there that says… they treat military, they treat law enforcement all the time. They treat a lot of people.

And find somebody and get help. And there’s so many factors in the equation of wellness. Again, we’re in a chronically sleep deprived civilization. Watch your sleep. Make sure your nutrition is good. The baseline… I got my degree en route to teaching at West Point and counselling. Graduate degree in counselling. Make sure the body’s healthy first. Make sure you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep. Make sure you’ve had a good meal.

You cannot begin to take care of the mind, until the body has been taken care of.

Mark: Agree. 100%.

We’re kind of coming down to the wire here, but I wanted to ask you what is your vision for the future? The next 10 years let’s just say? Let’s not go out too far.

But do you… technology’s not going backwards anytime soon. Even though there’s a counter-push against distraction like we were talking about. It’s accelerating, it’s racing. And what it means to be human is changing rapidly for everyone. And violence is increasing.

What do you see out there around the next turn?

Grossman: Every piece of technology had to be digested. We had automobiles for 50 years before some genius said, “You know? Kids probably shouldn’t be driving these things.” And it took 50 years.

“And you know what else? Maybe you should get a license and demonstrate your skills.” It’s hard for us to believe that it took 50 years to get there. Every piece of technology needs to be digested. I think in the near future, the great challenge for civilization is recognizing that we’ve got to protect our children. Adults can handle this stuff. But violent visual imagery inflicted upon children. Violent television, violent movies, violent videogames. Their body treats it like its real and they have a powerful response.

We’re digesting that. In the meanwhile, that’s the battle for our civilization’s survival to be able to properly integrate that new technology. You say it’s not going away, but we can keep it away from our kids. And we can protect our children.

Especially when they’re young. The first 5 or 6 years is the critical time. They should never watch TV or a movie until they’re old enough to read. And once they’re old enough to read–my little grandson was… he went to kindergarten reading at 2nd grade level. Okay, buddy, you’ve arrived. Time to watch a movie. We’ll watch Mary Poppins.

And choose and carefully ease them into this whole dynamic. The dynamic is it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Latin America


Latin America’s out of control. Google the top 20 most homicidal nations on the planet. It was a 2014 UN report. The top 7 are all Latin America or Caribbean. Mexico’s at war with the cartels. And Mexico’s war with the cartels has more loss of life than Iraq and Afghanistan put together.

Mexico’s at war. And that hyper-violent Latin American model’s coming our way. But Mexico don’t even make the top 10. Mexico’s number 14. Iraq is number 19. Physically speaking… and Afghanistan don’t even make the top 20. I would rather take my family on vacation to Iraq than Mexico.

And this is new. There was a time when if you lived in El Paso, you popped down to Juarez, did a little shopping, had a nice meal. Ain’t nobody popping down to Juarez for a meal and shopping no more.

Mark: Yeah, I haven’t been to Tijuana in 15 years. I don’t dare go down there.

Grossman: Whole parts of our civilization are coming unglued. Now, the advantage we have over that Latin American model is we have a lot of money. Things go wrong, we start throwing money at it. And you’re going start seeing cops get paid what they deserve to be paid. The guy that decides whether or not to shoot your kid should be the best trained, best qualified, best paid person on the planet. And we’re moving that way.

We’re going to throw money at the problem. We’re going to come to terms with it. The initial challenge is to even recognize that there’s a problem. And to deal with it.

In 2015, we had the worst year-over-year increase in cops murdered in the history of our nation. 61%. 2016, it went down. The number of cops killed is down. No the number of cops killed in traffic accidents is down. The number of cops murdered is up. So we see all this happy stuff coming out, the lowest number of cops killed in the line of duty since 1957. But look at the number of cops murdered, and you get a different picture.

It’s extremely frustrating. Remember, the number of cops murdered is the tip of the iceberg. Cause body armor, tactics, technology, medical technology… every year we hold down the number of murdered cops. We bring down the number of murdered cops, it pops back up. It’s a tragic representation of what’s going on in our society. As we strive for survival, and the average person doesn’t even know that it’s happening. So train yourself, equip yourself.

You mention martial arts. I’m a huge fan of the martial art of the firearm. Hojutsu. A Vietnam ranger at the end of the war… the most decorated Alaska State Trooper–guy name Jeff Hall. High level martial artist has resurrected the Japanese art of the firearm, Hojutsu. After… I’m a shooter and I thought I was good. I been to major schools, did a little competition.

Barely made a brown belt first time. Worked for…

Mark: What does the training look like of the art?

Grossman: It’s a lot of move and shoot. It’s a lot of time drills. He’s got 26 individuals who’ve been trained in the system. In actual gunfights. And they’re looking at a 98% hit rate across the board with these guys.

It’s hard to believe that something that simple, but you’re striving for your belt. You know, 20 million Americans are supposed to be in the martial arts by one count. Only a few thousand compete. Striving for your belt. Striving for that next rank.

You know, I didn’t make the black belt on my test cause I kept missing 2 to the chest, 1 to the head inside of 2 seconds. From the draw. And I knew what shot I was missing. I got a range in my basement. I’m only home one or two nights a week, but I drilled for a year. I knew what shot I was missing.

One of the things in Hojutsu is that you do 1 bullet out of the torso and you’re disqualified. It doesn’t count for your belt. You gotta account for every single bullet.

Quite an interesting dynamic. Lot of turn and moves. A great Kata. There’s just one Kata at the black belt level. It’s 3 weapons retention moves built into it, transition from armed to unarmed combat. I think we got…

Mark: That sounds really cool…

Grossman: It is so cool. We have desperate violent times in front of us. But we’ve been here before. The Civil War, 1812 they burned Washington to the ground. The living hell of two World Wars. The Cold War. Korea. Viet Nam. There have been other hard times, we’ll get through these times.

But America has to arm themselves, train themselves, equip themselves. And we gotta be conscious of just how bad it is. Start with my book “Assassination Generation,” and recognize what’s going on out there. And do a better job with the next generation. And never, ever give up on our nation. Never give up on our way of life.

Mark: Yeah. Amen to that.

Awesome sir.

Grossman: It’s my pleasure.

Mark: That’s been really an honor to talk to you, and I look forward to meeting you in person. Good luck with all your travel this year, and keep shouting from the rooftops and I’ll do the same. Best I can.

And I’m just having this really cool fantasy about combining Kata with a weapon. I mean, that’s just super-cool.

Grossman: Gotta check it out.

Mark: (laughing) Gotta check that out. All right sir, thanks so much.

Grossman: Thank you brother.

Mark: God bless.

Wow, folks. Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman. Author of “On Combat,” “On Killing,” “Assassination Generation.” Check out the books. I’m going to check out “Sheepdog” the kids’ book. That sounds fascinating. Also, “Why Mommy Carries a Gun.” Check out if you wanna get into any weaponry there.

You know, this is really interesting. There’s a lot, a lot of violence in our society and it is a little bit–as we heard today–suppressed by the media. Doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. Doesn’t mean you should run around in fear. Just prepare yourself mentally, physically and with some skills. So be Sheepdog strong. And I don’t know if I’ve ever said this, but that term came from Grossman. And we’ve been using it liberally for the last few years, so I want to thank him publicly for that.

All right. Enough on this subject. We’ll move on next week. Until then, stay focused, stay alert, train hard. Do the right thing. And we’ll see you then.


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