Wednesday, April 25, 2018

James Shaw Jr. is Better Than the Rest of Us

[TRIGGER WARNING: MASS SHOOTING]

You've probably heard about the Waffle House shooting, and if you haven't yet heard the name James Shaw, Jr., your news sources are racist.

Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr. makes stunning statement while being honored at TN Capitol

There’s no doubt James Shaw Jr. is a hero in the eyes of many, and he was honored Tuesday morning at Tennessee’s State Capitol. Shaw, who was unarmed, courageously wrestled down a man who was armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic gun in the process of killing four young people of color and injuring others.

I want to stress this point for multiple reasons but partly because it makes Shaw a special individual - most people in that situation will freeze or flee. It's not to say that most people are cowards, it's that our survival instinct is so strong in moments of imminent danger to our lives that it overrides any other personality traits, values, or desires to protect others. Unless you've undergone special training (like military training), your lizard brain is going to take control.

Shaw is special, partially because his instinct went to "fight," which is rare, but also because of this:

If you watch the full video of the ceremony, you will see Shaw say that he does not consider himself a hero. In tears and with incredible humility and integrity, Shaw says he wasn’t trying to save the lives of others—he was trying to save his own. 

Again, completely normal and not something he could have controlled in the moment. But it does take an incredible amount of integrity to admit something like that. This father and honorable man also said he has been inspired to get political.

Shaw now looks to the future and says the the honor means a lot to him. He calls what happened “a life-changing moment,” adding, “I’m going to try to use this moment as a platform to bring awareness to shootings and just violence.”

James, you are an amazing human being.

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