Waffle House Shooting: Four Killed, Two Injured

Hira Rahman - 2B Nanotechnology
Posted on: May 19, 2018

On Sunday April 22, yet another gun attack took place in the United States. This time it happened in Antioch, Tennessee. Twenty-nine-year-old Travis Jeffrey Reinking, a man with a history of erratic and delusional behaviour, wearing nothing but a green jacket, walked into the establishment at around 3:25 am and opened fire. Two people were severely injured, and four people were killed. The victims were identified as Taurean Sanderlin, 29, Joe Perez, 20, DeEbony Groves, 21, and Akilah DaSilva, 23. The havoc only ceased when a man named James Shaw Jr., later named the “Waffle House Hero,” wrestled the rifle away from Reinking. Reinking was captured the next day, when police found him in a wooded area with a backpack containing a semiautomatic rifle and ammunition.

Every single victim in this incident was a person of colour. James Shaw is also a person of colour. The massacre brought in its aftermath a series of conversations about race, gun violence, and white privilege in contemporary society. Although the perpetrator was white, his lack of cooperation with the police has left the public unable to say definitively whether or not it was a hate crime/racially motivated, although many people suspect that it was. Perhaps one of the jarring event, or lack thereof, was the fact that President Trump remained radio silent about the whole ordeal. Instead of expressing condolences or reaching out, we found him rambling on Twitter about his border wall plans.

More than anything, this story comes at a time when gun violence and legislation surrounding the second amendment is a heated topic of discussion. With the Parkland shooting and the various national walkouts, it’s no wonder that people are exhausted with the current state of affairs. The biggest concern from this story in particular was how a man with previous criminal activity and who had his guns taken away twice was able to easily obtain one and commit such a heinous crimes. It comes as no surprise that Tennessee has some of the most lenient gun laws in the country- where it is not even required for one to register their firearms. It feels like every time there’s a tragedy, the same conversations happen. Most people speak out for change, while the far right-winged people send out their prayers while still grasping tightly to their precious second amendment. News flash: that amendment was created at a time where semi-automatics, silencers, and weapons able to murder hundreds in mere seconds did not exist. It feels redundant to continue the conversation and never see actual change, but we can only hope that our neighbours south of the border buckle down and demand new legislation. It is time to get out of the NRA’s pocket and seek justice. Nobody should have to risk their life to wrestle a firearm away from someone who shouldn’t have one in the first place.

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