Waffle House customer deemed as hero in tragic shooting

Erica McKinnon (1)

On Sunday, April 22, 2018, a lone shooter ambushed a Waffle House restaurant in Antioch, Tennessee, killing four people and injuring several others. Mass shootings have been happening more frequently these days and most of the time, shooters intend to kill as many people as they can. 

The shooter, Travis Reinking 29, managed to kill four innocent people. But with the courage of James Shaw Jr. 29, a customer at the Waffle House restaurant, retrieved the gun from Reinking before he got a chance to load more ammunition.

“Police said James Shaw Jr., 29, rushed Reinking, wrestled him to the ground and was able to grab his weapon. 

Shaw’s hand was severely burned from grabbing the AR-15,” according to CBSnews.com

Shaw is deemed a hero for risking his life for the sake of other people, when simultaneously Reinking was doing everything in his power to take as many lives as he could. It is frightening that our society has come to a point where eating in public restaurants is dangerous and that we have the possibility of being shot and killed.

There will always be fear in the back of a person’s mind of the possibility of a shooting happening anywhere you go, because that has become the reality that I’m hoping is only temporary. There is a famous quote by Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world”, and Shaw chose to be the change he wanted to see in the world by protecting himself and the people around him from potential harm. 

Shaw believed in himself enough to execute the situation with the best of his ability, and has the burns on his hands and other wounds to prove it. 

Witnesses like Chuck Cordero from the shooting express their gratitude toward Shaw for stopping the shooter from killing more people. 

“So I don’t know who this guy is. I talked to him afterwards and told him, ‘You are a hero, man’ because had that guy reloaded there was plenty more people in that restaurant that probably could have not made it home this morning,” Cordero said to CBS affiliate WTVF-TV. 

Shaw showed his humility and expressed how he doesn’t believe he is a hero. “I didn’t really fight this man to save everyone else. That may be a popular thing. I took the gun so I could get myself out [of the situation],” said CBS. 

Some may view Shaw’s perspective on the shooting as selfishness, but what it was is a transformation of selfishness to selflessness that saved many lives. To have seen the headlines in the media was both disheartening, because the of the lives lost and the empowering because it is rare to see a black man be labeled as a hero. It was refreshing to see a tragic situation turn into a positive outcome, and as time goes on, hopefully there are more heroes that are willing to put their lives on the line like Shaw did. 

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