Atlas Scattered, Smothered, and Covered: A Shooting at Waffle House

Here’s the set-up:

Sunday, early morning. Nashville, Tennessee. Interior: Waffle House. Travis Reinking, white, male, 29, nude, enters carrying an AR-15. Reinking immediately opens fire, ultimately killing four people.

Here’s the most popular, mainstream, middle-premise:

James Shaw, Jr., also 29, but black, male, and fully clothed, becomes a national hero when he decides he’s not going to put up with this bullshit, and wrestles the gun away from Reinking. It’s a beautiful middle-premise. One that fits so very well with the sophistic meta-narrative the mainstream media pushes to sell anger, division, and, most importantly, advertising.

How? Because of the popular, mainstream, click-bait punchline:

Reinking is the naked embodiment of the white superstructure, replete with all of its attendant arrogance, violence, and reckless displays of power. Reinking is a symbol, a metaphor, an analogy, a whatever-the-fuck literary device you want to use here.

But anyone with an ounce of sense can see that this is all a joke.

Set-up, middle-premise, punchline.

And the media’s laughing all the way to the goddamn bank.

Why? Because they aren’t telling you the whole story. The story that really matters.

The serious-as-a-heart-attack-at-25 story is James Shaw Jr.  Not because he’s a black man. Not because he’s a black man who wrestled a gun away from a white man. Not because he’s fully clothed.

And damn sure not because he’s a hero.

And I’m not casting aspersions at Mr. Shaw. Those are his own words. And I, for one, admire the man for speaking the truth.

“I’m not a hero. I’m just a regular person,” Mr. Shaw said to the media.

And when asked about his supposedly heroic deed, Mr. Shaw said, “I did that completely out of a selfish act. I was completely doing it just to save myself.”

And just like Socrates, who was the wisest man because he admitted he wasn’t the wisest man, Mr. Shaw may be a hero because he admits that he isn’t one. He isn’t posturing or pandering, pretending that he gave two shits about anybody else. He acted in his own self-interest, like any sane, rational person should.

Think about it: if Mr. Shaw prescribed to some selfless, liberal, Noam Chomsky, let’s-all-hold-hands-and-think-about-the-greater-good ideology, he probably would’ve done something completely stupid and morally unforgivable, like using his body as a shield to save some whimpering child.

And they’d both be dead.

Let’s forget about the fact that there really is no such thing as a selfless act anyway; it’s a contradiction in terms for one thing. It’s logically and ethically incoherent for another.

Let’s forget about some bullshit symbolism in a naked white man with an assault rifle. And let’s not try to laud some regular person like he’s the motherfucking King of Wakanda.

Let’s, please, for the sake of reason and our own well-being, focus on the fact that James Shaw Jr. thought only about himself. And was honest enough to admit it.

So the next time there’s a shooting, if you ever find yourself at the location of a shooting, don’t think about those around you. Don’t think about their families. Don’t think about yours.

Be selfish. Think only about yourself.

You might just save a life.

And if not, at least you’ll die with integrity.

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