Naturally, the German Shepherd's job is much easier when the sheep are compliant. The less chasing the dog has to do, the less time it takes to bring the sheep under control, and the less time spent in the fields rounding up sheep, the happier the sheepherder is at the end of the day.
One could say that sheepherding is analogous to homeland security. It is the job of the airport security screener (the German Shepherd) to make sure airline passengers (the sheep) stay together and do as they're told. He will try (often unsuccessfully) to avoid needlessly frightening the flock, while nipping at the heels (usually in the figurative sense) of those who stray from the routine. When everyone is doing their part, things run smoothly, and this makes Uncle Sam (the sheepherder) very happy.
It goes without saying that the job of securing the homeland is much less difficult when passengers actually go out of their way to be compliant. Consider a recent incident on a Spirit Airlines flight from New York to Denver. A woman boarded her plane at LaGuardia Airport, somehow getting through security with a stun gun and a knife concealed in her purse. She wasn’t being malicious; she had simply forgotten the items were there.
After a brief layover in Detroit, the woman was in the air once again, bound for Denver. In the middle of the flight, she suddenly remembered the dangerous objects she was carrying and, rather than keep her mouth shut, decided to confess her absent-minded act of terrorism. Spirit Airlines spokeswoman Laura Bennett related quite eloquently the events that transpired: "She immediately went, 'Oh, my God, I'm not supposed to have these here,' and called the flight attendant over."
The flight attendant informed the pilot, the pilot radioed ahead to Denver International Airport and police officers were waiting at the gate when the plane landed to take the woman into custody. She was released after questioning without being charged. Said Bennett, "She did the right thing by giving up the items voluntarily, and she was never malicious. We never considered her a threat." I guess that explains why the cops were called.
Some may agree with Ms. Bennett that this woman indeed did the right thing by owning up to her mistake. After all, the fact that her weapons of mass destruction managed to evade the watchful eyes of a team of under-trained, grope-happy government employees doesn't sit well with those who have entrusted the feds with their safety.
I happen to believe that this woman's actions are symptomatic of a bizarre "sheep mentality" that has been sweeping over the nation since Sept. 11, 2001. Think about it. She was already in the air and beyond the clutches of Ridge's Runway Rangers, yet she still felt compelled to do her duty as one of the flock by turning herself in to authorities.
Doesn't this strike anyone as the least bit odd? I can only think of two possible explanations for this woman's behavior: 1) she was so frightened that Big Brother was watching that she gave herself up in an attempt to avoid more harsh consequences, or 2) she honestly believes in the integrity of the system the government has set up to safeguard American lives. No matter what the explanation, neither should sit well with freedom-loving citizens.
Fortunately for this young woman her "sheep sense" kicked in, and she was able to rejoin the flock without much fuss, demonstrating that the benevolent shepherd is inclined to reward those who go along unquestioningly with the rest of the flock. Now, if we could only get would-be terrorists to develop that kind of sheep mentality, we might just lick this terror problem once and for all.