Aaron Stark was bullied in school. Big time. His family could not afford to buy new clothes or even wash them, so he would go into school smelling poorly. The other students zeroed in on him quickly, and he became a target of ridicule.
In a powerful short video (below), Stark explained how he nearly made the fateful decision to shoot up his own school and classmates – and in the process, albeit inadvertently, showed why God is so incredibly necessary in today’s heated gun debate.
The bullying took place during the 1990’s and became so bad he considered showing up with a weapon and killing fellow students. People often wonder how someone could possibly be driven to shoot up a school – is it really just from being bullied? That happens in every school, every day, but the overwhelming majority of those who are bullied do not turn around and commit mass murder.
So what is the final straw? Stark’s testimony offers some eye-opening insight into what would possibly drive someone over the edge.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of his commentary, aside from being bullied and harassed and feeling shamed and unloved – is the fact that he said he had “nothing to lose.”
“In 1996 I almost did the worst possible thing,” he began. “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, so I literally had nothing to lose. When someone has nothing to lose, they can do anything – and that thought should be terrifying.”
That is, indeed, a terrifying thought. When we do not have an understanding of God’s nature, that there is a Heaven and Hell, there are eternal consequences – when things go wrong for us here on earth, it’s easy to lose hope and purpose. When you have no hope or purpose, no fear of consequences that await beyond this realm, that removes the one final obstacle towards doing something truly evil.
And even more critical than just knowing the consequences in the afterlife, is knowing the love that awaits. When this world fails you – and it will fail you – knowing that God loves you and has a purpose and plan for you, even in the suffering, is a powerful foundation to stand on in times of trouble and hurt. It’s the hope that gets us through another day when we just can’t find the strength to move forward. When our spouses fail us, when our friends let us down, when our family members disappoint – God never does.
Without that knowledge, without recognizing the eternal God, you (think) there’s literally nothing to lose. You also think there is nothing to gain. You allow Satan a stronghold, and he pushes you right over the edge.
While Aaron doesn’t mention God in his commentary, he has diagnosed the problem pretty accurately:
“A bigger issue was love. I had a severe lack of love. And I really think this kid did too… 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,” he said.
“Compassion is the only real way we can stop this. Love people even when they don’t deserve it.”
Exactly right. And to give compassion, it helps tremendously if we have been shown compassion first. When we see what God has done for us, sacrificing his own Son when we deserved condemnation and punishment, it is evident we were shown compassion. We were loved. We were chosen.
The enemy is constantly on the prowl, looking for someone to devour – and without God, we don’t stand a chance against such a formidable foe. Especially a young troubled teen. That is precisely why we need more God, not less. Because He – and only He – provides hope in time of trouble, and a reason to say ‘yes, I do have something to lose – eternity.’
"I was almost a school shooter."America's sad history of school shootings does not include Denver's North High School in the mid 1990s, because the shooting never happened. This is an open letter, by Aaron Stark.
Posted by Next with Kyle Clark on Monday, February 19, 2018