Aaron Stark is sharing his darkest moment to encourage people to talk about guns and mental health.
“I was almost a school shooter,” he stated. “In 1997, I almost committed a terrible atrocity. I was saved only through the power of being treated like a human and with actual friendship and not being treated like a project.”
After the Parkland shooting, Stark wrote a letter to a Denver news station about his past intentions.
“We were sitting there watching the news the day after the Parkland massacre and I’m having a conversation with my wife and my daughter,” he said. “And it’s this big tearful conversation about how could someone ever get to this point and how could you ever feel like you wanted to kill a lot of people? And I do understand that.”
Stark was often forced to leave home and either sleep in his friend’s shed or in a field. He also struggled with self-harm. He tried to get help from social services but says instead they sent him back home to his mother after she convinced them he was lying from attention. He said he also sought counseling, which didn’t help either.
“I had nothing to do with the people, it wasn’t about the targets. It wasn’t about taking revenge on the bullies,” he explained. “It was about causing as much damage as I possibly could to destroy myself and to show my parents that they had raised a monster.”
Stark made arrangements to get a gun from local gang members. While he was waiting for them to get it, a conversation with his friend Mike stopped him from endangering others.
“And so, he sat me down and just was like, dude, it’s ok, you’re normal,” he said. “These things you’re going through, it’s reasonable that you feel this way.”