James Shaw Jr. is a hero, and deserves to be recognized as one.
Shaw is the 29-year-old man who sprang into action during the tragic shooting at a Waffle House near Nashville, Tennessee, early Sunday morning. What he said to himself before engaging the shooter is an important lesson about mindset.
During an interview with Fox News, Shaw revealed a sobering thought that ran through his mind as he decided to take on a criminal armed with a rifle, using only his bare hands.
“If it was going to come down to it, he was going to work to kill me,” Shaw recalled saying to himself during the incident.
There was no hint of bravado or boasting as Shaw talked about how the terrifying attack started, and how he fought the rifle-wielding man.
“I saw the Waffle House employees scatter. Then I looked back and I saw a person laying on the ground, right at the entrance of the door,” Shaw said. “Then I jumped, pretty much, and slid from the table top to the entrance of the door. And I think he let off some shots through the glass.
“When he proceeded to come in, I actually went behind, it’s like a push door, swivel door… he shot through that door, and I’m pretty sure he grazed my arm,” he explained. The young man was treated at a hospital for minor injuries.
“And it was at that time that I kind of made up my mind, because there’s no way to lock that door … that if it was going to come down to it, he was going to have to work to kill me,” Shaw said.
The Tennessee resident said he noticed an opportunity to go after the attacker, and used the element of surprise to his advantage.
“So at the time that he was either reloading, or the gun jammed, or whatever happened … is when I ran through the swivel door, I hit him with the swivel door … we were scuffling,” Shaw recalled. “I managed to get him, with one hand on the gun, and then I grabbed it from him, and I threw it over the counter top.”
The fight didn’t stop there. With the deranged criminal between him and the exit, Shaw ran at the man and bull-rushed him through the restaurant doorway.
“After that, I was trying to get out of the door, and he was pretty much in the entrance way … so I just took him out with me. Out of the entrance and all the way outside,” Shaw explained.
Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson was left nearly speechless by the brave actions of the bystander.
“It’s beyond belief he could charge that man and take that weapon from him. He saved lives,” Anderson said. “I don’t really have words to describe it. It is beyond anything that I could say.”
@MNPDNashville Chief Steve Anderson on the actions of James Shaw:
“It’s beyond belief he could charge that man and take that weapon from him… he saved lives. I don’t really have words to describe it. It is beyond anything that I could say.” pic.twitter.com/HZZqzfUyCk
— Ellison Barber (@ellisonbarber) April 22, 2018
Shaw’s mindset — “he was going to work to kill me” — is incredibly powerful. The young man made a conscious decision to not be a victim, but to stand up and take action.
This is exactly the type of thinking promoted by veterans like Army Ranger Tim Kennedy, whose unofficial motto is “be hard to kill.” It’s a mindset of rejecting victimhood that is invaluable in emergencies, and in everyday life.
Indeed, it looks like Shaw has taken ownership of his life in other areas as well.
“According to his Facebook page, Shaw is a wire technician for AT&T,” reported the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Shaw “studied online to be an electrician technician at Brightwood College.”
“He is a graduate of Tennessee State University and attended Hunters Lane Comp High School In Nashville,” the newspaper stated.
A person’s attitude plays a huge role in how they deal with challenges, even life-and-death situations. Shaw just showed that he has the daring and tenacity to fight and win, and every American can learn from that example.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.