America very nearly avoided another mass shooting years ago, according to one man’s story.
A Colorado resident, who called himself Aaron, penned an emotional letter to KUSA in which he said he was “almost a school shooter,” and only refrained from murdering his schoolmates because he was unable to obtain a firearm.
“I was almost a school shooter. I didn’t carry out anything, I didn’t hurt anyone,” the former student at Denver’s North High School recalled. “But in 1996, I almost did the worst possible thing.”
“If you get told you’re worthless enough you will believe it.,” Aaron said, who explained he developed violent thoughts due to bullying he endured at school.
“I was very much the outcast in high school. I had a very chaotic and violent childhood, moving from place to place, having the people I was closest to be the ones who hurt me most.
“I was shy, and sensitive, and smelled bad because I either had dirty clothes on that had not been washed in weeks or because I was filthy from not having a shower also for weeks at a time. I was picked on and bullied. For being fat. For being smart.”
He related collecting different types of weapons.
“So I got angry, and I started hiding weapons around anywhere I hung out at frequently. I had hidden around me knives, sticks, shanks, brass knuckles, whatever. I always kept one in arms reach.”
Aaron said he wanted to shoot his fellow students and then commit suicide. He described attempting to acquire an “assault rifle.”
“When I finally got to the point where I was absolute worst, I tried to find an assault rifle. I tried to get a hold of a gun. I wasn’t able to. It was going to be a large explosion of pain and suicide. I was going to try to kill a lot of people and then kill myself. ”
He added: “If I had a rifle I would have been a killer. But if I had love, I wouldn’t have wanted a rifle.”
According to the former student, it was “true friendship” that made the difference in his life.
“The only things that brought me out of that were true friendship. By someone taking me over to their house when I was suicidal …that one act of kindness literally saved my life.”
He acknowledged the role of mental illness in school shooting while dismissing the notion that violent media can cause such acts. But for Aaron, firearm access was the biggest factor.
“People say mental health is the issue. And that’s true. My mental health was in sad shape, I was severely depressed and suicidal, I felt like I had nothing at all in life to look forward to and so I literally had nothing to lose. When someone has nothing to lose, they can do anything, and that thought should be terrifying. So yes, mental health was an issue.
“A bigger issue was love. I had a severe lack of love, and I really think this kid did too.
“Some people blame this violence on the media, or video games, or music. We call those people morons.
“But there is one thing that would have made it all different. One thing, that if it was in the equation, would have ended up in terror.
“I didn’t have access to an assault rifle.
Aaron wrote that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But people with guns kill lots of people.”
He went on to describe his growth over the years, including becoming a father and family man. Aaron concluded with a call for people to show one another love.
“If you see someone who looks like they need love, give it to them. Even a small hug, a word, or a smile could actually save lives. Compassion is the only real way we can stop this. Love people even when they don’t deserve it. …
“I wrote this because my wife and daughter kept saying how they could not understand what could make someone do this. Sadly, I can. This is a hard conversation to have, but we must have it.”
The Colorado man’s letter was made in light of last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which left 17 dead. The tragedy has sparked renewed discussion about gun laws in America.