Thoughts on 12 Strong – no spoilers

So have you seen 12 Strong yet? Based on a true story, the movie follows a military unit in the throes of a burgeoning war over in Afghanistan. Here’s the trailer.


Now, I don’t know exactly what scenes were based on the true story. I’m assuming a few things about what the reality was: yes, there were American soldiers. Horses, of course. And lots of sand. What else can we really be sure of, though? Like, for instance in the movie (don’t worry, no spoilers!) a few scenes are Taliban members talking to each other. Did the director of this movie really know what they said? Did he consult them for script dialogue? Maybe it went something like this…

Director on a long-distance phone call: “Hi there, I’d like to speak to the Taliban.”

[long pause, Middle Eastern music in the background, kids crying]…

Taliban: “Sup?”

Director: “Hey this is Nicolai Fuglsig, director of ’12 Strong.’¬†Nicolai Fuglsig. N-i-c-o– ya know, just call me Nick. Can you help me out with something? When y’all are being terrorists and stuff, what do you talk about? Is there– oh, I said ‘y’all‘…. it’s you and all but squished together…”

So they made up conversations based on what we know of the Taliban. Much easier than having to add them to the credits anyway, which would not go over well with audiences.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. There was even some humor so for me it hit a few of my favorite movie elements– humor, adventure, suspense, good vs. evil. It also made me really wish I was a hero who returned home to relative obscurity (because their mission was classified, the public had no idea what they’d done).¬†Well, actually I’ve got the relative obscurity down already, so now I just need to be hero.

Hmmm…. what to do today, what…to…do.

-Out of the Wilderness

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To kill, or not to kill

A friend of mine met me for lunch yesterday and among the things we talked about was guns/ gun ownership/ self-defense. I think we got on the topic in somewhat of a round-about way, first discussing what we’d do (or have done) in scenarios where help might have been needed. Think: car accidents, someone being locked out of their car, house fires, robberies, that sort of thing.

We eventually got to a fear everyone’s thought about at some point: what if an intruder breaks into your house with a gun? I know there are different strategies based on who’s in the house already, like if you have a family, if you’re single, have roommates, etc. Our hypothetical scenario was us as fathers with a family in the house when it’s broken into. The question we asked was would we, or even could we, shoot to kill or would we do whatever we can to allow the intruder to live? My friend and I are both Christians, so while we agreed our first instinct was to defend the family, there’s another wrinkle to the story because we’d be dealing with someone that hasn’t met God…yet. Do we use a gun and, if the person is killed, take away their opportunity for salvation?

My stance was an enthusiastic, “Yes, send them to their Maker.”

My friend was discussing this days earlier and the other person in that convo is a father and husband, and he proposed that because he knows where his family members are going, as in Heaven because they’ve all become followers of Jesus, he would do whatever he can for the salvation of the intruder’s soul, even if it meant sacrificing himself or any member of his family. Sounds sick, right? That’s sort of what I was thinking but it’s more complex than that, and also there are ways to subdue the unwanted guest without killing, I guess.

So back to my friend and I chatting as we munched on lunch at First Watch. He then brought up the strongest defense in favor of the intruder… what example has God set for us in this kind of scenario? Well, He didn’t choose to save His son when He could’ve (when Jesus was on the cross, about to die). And Jesus died so others could live, so it’s kind of like the made-up scenario where maybe one of the family members dies, but the house intruder lives. God chose us, the humans/ sinners/ intruders over His son.

Rocked my world.

It’s still something I’ll think about in the coming days, but at this point I don’t know how that truth can be overcome. God chose us. He chose the ugly, mean, sinful intruder because He wanted us to have a chance at redemption. It’s a beautiful and completely unfair thing He did, and of course, I’m grateful.

But if I’m ever in a situation like the one that just happened in Vegas, I don’t know what I’d do. Are there more than the two obvious choices: let the gunman run wild, or kill the gunman? Maybe killing him so others can live is the answer. I texted my friend about what happened in Vegas and he texted back: “Shoot him… with a stun gun” …so maybe that would work, if the opportunity was there?

It’s a complex world we live in, and really the only way to rid ourselves of horrific events like [insert tragedy here] is to admit we are sinners in need of help. Then, as TobyMac says, “when love breaks through” things would begin to change for the better.

-Out of the Wilderness