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

The Reawakening: Part 11

It’s not see you later, it’s goodbye.

You know how when you are leaving your friends from high school, or college, or moving to a new town, some friends say, “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later”? I don’t feel that way at all about the job I was laid off of just a few months ago. The friends I made there? Yes, I will miss them and I know I’ll see some of them around town or in future work.

But I’ve got this comfortable feeling of rest and relief, maybe it’s called peace, about leaving that particular job in the past. It’s a part of my history that I’ll remember with a smile. Lots of good things can be directly related to it:
the first girl I ever loved
great downtown parking
amazing live music performances
an introduction to Roy D. Mercer
helping to produce nationally televised shows
great friendships
trips to places like Las Vegas, the gulf coast, Miami, Los Angeles, Phoenix, New York, and many more

The people that told me how fast time goes after you get laid off were not wrong. Hard to believe it’s already been over 5 months. But I haven’t missed the job for a second! I’ve had a great summer that I will look back on and thank CMT for making it happen. Soon I will have another job or two, I’ll be back in the “real world” of making paychecks and scraping by, but for a few months, I lived how I imagine my dogs feel every day. Wake up, have some fun, bark at things, eat, sleep.

-Out of the Wilderness

The Reawakening: Part 5

Please fasten your seat belts and turn off all electronics… next stop, Las Vegas!

My job comes with perks, and one of them is traveling to exciting locations, for instance, this particular work trip was to Las Vegas, Nevada. We were there shooting a couple of episodes for the show I helped create each week, and Lowe’s sponsored us at the Kobalt Tools 400.

Jimmie Johnson in the #48 car in Las Vegas.
Jimmie Johnson in the #48 car in Las Vegas.

Being at the track, hearing the loud roar of the engines, meeting rabid fans who camp out for days hoping to watch their favorite driver get the checkered flag is a really fun experience. So is staying at the Venetian Hotel and playing pai gow poker till late in the night. Even when I’m down $80 bucks and say…

“I’m going back to my room to think.”

But it was on this particular trip I again began to struggle reconciling what I do with feeling unfulfilled. I say “again” because it’s not the first time a wave of dissatisfaction came over me. The first time was actually in Vietnam with my sister and brother-in-law. They were adopting a little girl (more on that here), and I went along to capture the story on video. When I was asked by the adoption team in Hanoi what I do for work, the more I explained, the more trivial it seemed. They’re saving kids from a lifetime of poverty and I’m, well, I’m not.

Now in Las Vegas, those feelings wash over me again. I’m in a sour mood (not because of the $80 bucks), wishing I was doing something else entirely, but not having a clue what that could be. In the meantime, more pai gow poker, black jack, and casino war!

-Out of the Wilderness

Naked Parties in Las Vegas

I recently did something I’ve never done before, and no it’s not going to a naked party in Vegas. I finished reading a book in 5 days. And! it was 352 pages long. Not an easy task for me, that’s for sure. The book is called “Love Is A Canoe.” It was an enjoyable read that kept me interested the entire time. Partly due to being in Vegas where if I wasn’t working or reading, I would be losing money or playing this game. Anyway, the book enlightened me to at least two things: naked parties and the word “hubris.” I’m either on my way to a more cultured life (learning new words), or just now realizing I definitely missed out in college.

The good news is my December birthday party plans are all set!


There’s Nothing Logical About My Biological Clock


Feeling kind of sluggish after returning from Vegas a few days ago. I can’t pinpoint anything specific that’s causing this down-and-out mood. My dogs greeted me with yelps and wagging tails as I arrived home from the airport (which was flattering). I caught up on the latest episodes of Duck Dynasty (which were hilarious). Even took an early evening nap (which was heavenly). Plus, that was after a typical dinner of Past Sides fettuccini alfredo. Maybe it’s the time change that’s affecting my biological clock? We went from Central to Pacific to Daylight Savings back to Central. Wait, do I even have a biological clock? I don’t do a lot of logical things, so honestly, I’d be surprised if my bio wanted any part of logical. This sure better not be the start of a midlife crisis but it can’t be a quarter life crisis, can it??

…maybe I just need Pepto-Bismol.
-Out of the Wilderness

Pro or No: Girls in Vegas

It’s always fun in Las Vegas to pick out which girls are working that night, and which girls only dress like they’re working that night. It’s a little game called “Pro or No.” It’s not as difficult as you might think, though. If you spot a couple where the guy looks like Drew Carey and the girl looks like Fann Wong… Pro. You can also make an educated guess by the time of day. If it’s anywhere from 8am to 10am and a girl is leaving any sort of elevator bay area dressed like it’s Friday night at a club in L.A…. Pro.

Attire does factor in, which leads to a new way of determining if a girl is working it, or actually working. I call it, “The High and Tight.” Historically, I’ve thought of that as a military-style haircut, but in this scenario it’s about what the girl is wearing. The higher the skirt, the tighter the skirt, the more likely she’s hoping to get paid to take it off.

Next is the number factors: age and amount of girls swarming together help determine a Pro or No. Typically a group of 3 or more are not Pro’s. And anyone over the age of, let’s say, 30 is not Pro (unless they’re with a guy nearly twice their age!).

When you’re in Vegas, how do you determine who’s on the clock? Feel free to comment below!

Hotel Reviews: The Signature at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada

I was in Las Vegas recently, and lodged in a hotel I haven’t been in before. Coming from the Venetian (where I’ve stayed a couple of times), this next hotel had big shoes to fill. We were in Tower 3 of The Signature at MGM Grand. This tower is the newest of the 3 towers, built within the past 7 years. I can’t speak on Towers 1 or 2, but I can say, with this one they did it right. From the gated entry to the friendly staff to the incredible view of Las Vegas, this hotel has a lot going for it.

The first thing you’ll notice is the gated entry which offers a sense of security. The next thing you’ll notice is the valet, which I’m personally not a fan of because I can park the car myself. However, having a valet is convenient and trouble-free. The folks performing the valet service were professional and courteous. Soon, if you haven’t already, you’ll notice that the towers are a few blocks away from the Vegas strip, which may or may not be a good thing. Being in tower 3, it was a long walk just to get to the MGM casino (I’m guessing half a mile, no kidding), an even longer walk and/or taxi ride to get to the heart of the strip. There is a monorail you can take from tower 2 which is inexpensive and as convenient as taking a monorail can be. What I liked about the towers of MGM are that when you want to sort of “escape” the Vegas lights, these towers offer that kind of feel. A retreat, if you will. And like I said, the views are spectacular and the rooms themselves are quite nice.

I’m a fan of the simple things when it comes to hotel rooms. Give me a good shower, a big bed, and a robe and I’m happy. The Signature at MGM grand did all those things and did them well.
You could essentially come to Vegas, get a room here and have a fantastic stay, without taking part in any of the typical Vegas attractions. The hotel offers a pool, a fitness room, and convenient dining in nearby restaurants. But you don’t come to Vegas to stay in your room, right? That’s the only drawback to this hotel: the distance to Vegas attractions.

All in all, a fantastic hotel that will meet or exceed your expectations and I recommend giving it a go the next time you’re in Las Vegas!