Aaron Stark

Benefitting Samaritan House Denver

Aaron Stark grew up in a violently abusive and drug-fueled home. By the age of 16 he was overweight, depressed, suicidal, and the victim of endless bullying. His plan was to unleash his pain by becoming a mass shooter, killing dozens and then himself. Now a 40-year-old father and husband, he shares the act that saved his life and countless others that day, and why we have to give love to the people we think deserve it the least because they are the ones that need it the most.

In Today’s Episode

  • A childhood defined by drugs and violence

  • Leaving home as a teenager and living with deep depression, pain and intrusive thoughts

  • Meeting the one friend who would change everything for the better

  • How the act of listening can save lives

  • A lesson on loving the people we feel deserve it the least

Wise Words

  • “I was told I was worthless a lot. I was told that I was useless, that I was just the fat kid that wouldn’t be worth anything.”

  • “I felt really alone and abused when I was younger. I found a safety in that dark, depressed kind of persona.”

  • “I felt really invisible. I always used to feel, when I left a room, nobody would ever even know that I was there to begin with.”

  • “When you’re told you’re worthless enough you’re going to believe it and then you’re going to do everything you can to make everybody else agree with it too. And that’s what I did.”

  • “When I hear nowadays people talk about how we need to arm teachers and we need to harden the targets, it’s completely the wrong tactic to take. All you’re doing is making someone shift the plan. You’re not stopping anything.”

  • “I was planning on going there, killing as many people as I could, and then dying by suicide or by suicide by cop. I was going to point a gun at a cop.”

  • “I discovered right away that there’s this undercurrent of feeling alone and worthless that we almost all of us seem to have, and if you’re willing to talk about it, people will open up and tell you everything about themselves. Just open... people are just crying out for someone to just please listen. And we just need to start listening.”

  • “The best way to get through something is to just get through it, and sometimes it’s going to hurt a lot to go through it, but it’s much better to go through it than go around it.”

  • “The kids in these troll groups, they want to be the evil one because that’s what their friends say, that’s the good thing to be. So, we need to figure out a way to listen to those kids in a way that gives them another outlet beyond being negative, to feel that same sense of positive belonging.”

  • “We have to give love to people we think deserve it the least because they need it the most.”

  • “I just think there has to be a way we can keep guns out of the hands of someone who is like I was 25 years ago.”

  • “The sense of pain and isolation goes through everything, and it’s sad that that might be the one thing that connects us, but it does. And if we could see that, then maybe we can stop this cold civil war we have brewing, maybe we can fix a lot more than just this problem.”