Mike Pence pulled out an old standby line at the NRA convention this week, telling the crowd that, “Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.”
As many have pointed out, however, Pence is forgetting Waffle House hero James Shaw Jr., an unarmed black man who confronted the Waffle House shooter last month and brought an end to the massacre. This is not the first time the White House has been accused of ignoring Shaw, who stopped a white gunman who had opened fire inside a Waffle House restaurant in Tennessee.
Esquire compiled a rundown of Mike Pence’s address to the annual NRA conference, which included many of the traditional Republican platitudes about protecting the Second Amendment and the dangers of Democrats taking away guns. During the speech, Pence repeated the line about needing armed “good guys” to stop armed “bad guys.”
As reporter Lois Beckett pointed out, Pence received a standing ovation for the line. But as critics then pointed out, Pence seemed to conveniently ignore Shaw’s actions in stopping suspected gunman Travis Reinking.
Donald Trump has already been criticized for failing to make a public mention of James Shaw Jr. Trump frequently shares his thoughts about attacks when they are suspected to be acts of Islamic terrorism, including attacks both in the United States and abroad. But he has been mostly silent on attacks carried out by white men, critics point out.
And Trump had praised another white man who stopped a shooting in Texas last year. As the BBC noted, Trump lauded the actions of Stephen Willeford, who used an AR-15 rifle to confront alleged gunman Devin Kelley, who had opened fire on a church and killed 26 people while injuring 20 others.
While Mike Pence may have failed to mention James Shaw Jr. during his address to the NRA convention, the White House may be planning to do something to acknowledge the Waffle House hero. There were reports this week that Trump’s administration was planning to bring Shaw to the White House, though Shaw noted that he had not yet heard from anyone in the White House, The Grio reported.