It has been five days since the horrific Waffle House shooting in Nashville’s suburb of Antioch. That’s barely long enough for the location to have reopened, and hardly a blip on the time it’ll take the community to heal. But it’s ample time for Americans to dig into their pockets and donate a significant amount of money to the incident’s victims and heroes.
James Shaw Jr. — the customer being celebrated as “the Waffle House hero” (and, now, “Tennessee’s hero”) who saved lives by wrestling the suspect to the ground — topped his heroism during the actual shooting by setting up a GoFundMe just hours later that asked for money to give to the victims’ families. His initial goal: a somewhat ambitious $15,000. His current amount, raised after just four days: $172,822. Nearly 5,000 people have chipped in so far.
Meanwhile, Yashar Ali, the journalist who saw Shaw’s crowdfunding effort and decided the world also owed this man something, has raised even more over on his separate GoFundMe page. A well-connected politics reporter with 261,000 Twitter followers, Ali has managed, as of this writing, to collect $182,311 in three days from more than 5,700 people. His original goal was to help start a college fund for Shaw’s 4-year-old daughter. “But I’d be just as happy,” Ali writes, “if James used some of this money to take his family on a nice vacation.”
The way GoFundMe pages work is, they remain live until their creators decide to take them down. Neither Shaw nor Ali has suggested plans to make their fund inactive anytime soon. That means if you want to contribute to either, or both, you still have time to do it. You can find James Shaw’s page for the victims’ families here. And Yashar Ali’s page for Shaw here.