I Was Almost A School Shooter | Aaron Stark | TEDxBoulder

  • Published on Jun 26, 2018
  • After growing up in painful, abusive conditions, Aaron Stark was on his way to an atrocity, until simple acts of kindness changed his life forever. What is causing the rise of violence and are our current fears and solutions just making it worse? My name is Aaron stark. I am 39 years old with 4 children, 2 cats, one dog, and a beautiful wife. I am a stay at home dad; my wife is the breadwinner of the family. I am a comic book fan, a pop culture junkie, and a lover of the sciences. I have more knowledge about superheros, pro wrestling, and comedy than anyone really has a right to. After growing up in very abusive and violent circumstances followed by over a decade if personal recovery, I am now a happy family man. I recently shred a very personal story of my triumph over my past, and it has changed my life forever. My mission is to let people know that no matter how dark it may seem, there is light coming. We really are not alone. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at www.ted.com/tedx

Comments • 24 047

  • DrugnaW
    DrugnaW 4 hours ago

    this is why we have Everquest and WoW
    a society where everyone is accepted

    LITTLE HORN 5 hours ago

    Thank god I sore this I was gonna shoot up my class tomorrow cheers dude you saved me from becoming a monster

  • Two Pills a-day
    Two Pills a-day 10 hours ago +2

    That friend is basically a hero. He saved tens of people from being murdered by being nice to this guy.

  • Caio Ferrer
    Caio Ferrer 13 hours ago

    That's amazing... Beautiful

  • Jennifer W
    Jennifer W 14 hours ago

    My biggest questions are, WHY do kids treat each other so badly? (Don't blame the parents! You already know that the most popular are just as quick to pick on others they feel are beneath them!) AND how do we help them to STOP?

  • Jennifer W
    Jennifer W 14 hours ago +1

    "When someone treats you like a person when you don't even feel like you're human, it will change your entire world."

  • Jennifer W
    Jennifer W 14 hours ago

    My daughter went through bullying every where we went. Not fair, no, but we couldn't stop it.
    On first day of a new school she learned that kids she didn't know would just cuss her for no reason. She thought her day was going better when a Mexican girl invited her to sit at her table at lunch. But when she got there, the others said no, because she's white, and they're Mexican. She'd already dealt with a group of African American kids who picked on her for wearing South Pole clothes, saying they were only for blacks. That she was too skinny. And later the oldest (15 yr old) offered $20 bill for the first person to beat her up. So she knew not to mess with this newest group.
    Soon after, she once got up at school and hollered "Leave me the F*** alone!" to the girl who kept pulling her hair. She got suspended for 3 days. Teacher said she didn't see anything from anyone else.
    Another day, she called and begged us to pick her up from park. Husband pulls up. She gets in back seat. The crazy boy tries to get in back seat With her! He banged a dent in the back side of our lovely car! We called the cops. The park kids claimed my husband tried to kidnap the boy! The police officer said he could go after the boy, but my husband would also get investigated!
    She's almost 21 now. She trusts very few people, but who could blame her? I'm grateful she's with people she trusts now, but I hate that, as her mother, I couldn't keep her safe.
    PLEASE bear in mind before randomly shooting people, that you could shoot down someone with a story just like hers, or like your own.
    She recently told me that the gun age should be 21, so that the kids you want to hurt are out of school, and they should look at locking the school during the day, so no one can just walk in with a gun, because nobody resource officer can be everywhere in the school.

  • Carter Steggerda
    Carter Steggerda 15 hours ago


  • Ben Crawford
    Ben Crawford 17 hours ago

    Mad respect to this guy

  • Alduin 12345
    Alduin 12345 20 hours ago

    On Monday we had a school shooting threat.

  • Beth King
    Beth King 22 hours ago +1

    Bravo. So glad you overcame the odds. I must ask, would the drug addled parents deserve unconditional love, or would they just take advantage of it and steal everything they could? How do you differentiate?

  • Malkavius
    Malkavius 23 hours ago

    *Intense clapping and cheering*
    "I was almost a school shooter."
    *dead silence*

  • Citizen Jim
    Citizen Jim Day ago

    what a speech! that's the way to go!

  • Senior Zolo
    Senior Zolo Day ago +1

    Is there any way I can talk to this man?

    • Aaron Stark
      Aaron Stark Day ago

      Hello! I'm the man in the video. Nice to meet you.


    Maybe if he was waving that gun at his Moms..

  • sarahx87
    sarahx87 Day ago


  • ERIN478
    ERIN478 Day ago

    Thank God for that friend. He saved a very dear person.

  • Ur Mom
    Ur Mom Day ago

    OmG same

  • 1947 GD
    1947 GD Day ago

    Right, we can’t turn people into monsters, kill them, and call ourselves heroes

  • Mariah Cruces
    Mariah Cruces Day ago

    I felt his pain

  • oceanexploration

    I wager 10K dollars to say Aaron's friend is a Christian.

    • oceanexploration
      oceanexploration Day ago

      +Aaron Stark Then I am out $10K! Even still, just because you both do not believe in God, does not mean God does not believe in you and can work in and through an atheist for the good of an atheist, whom he also loves. Thank you for telling your story. That takes a lot of strength and bravery and I am certain it touched a lot of people.

    • Aaron Stark
      Aaron Stark Day ago

      You would lose that bet. Both he and I are very much athiest.

  • 이남호
    이남호 2 days ago

    Usually, hate makes another hate, violence makes another violence but there are some of these extraordianry people who eventhough got hate from others but turn it into love, got violence but returning tenderness and kindness to others, stopping the darkness from growing and spreading. I hope I can become one of those people

  • Jonnie Gee
    Jonnie Gee 2 days ago

    Lord forgive me.😂 3:03

  • Andrew L
    Andrew L 2 days ago

    This really shows that no one is bad, they are just influenced by negative events

  • Cody Gebert
    Cody Gebert 2 days ago

    Sometimes the smallest things can make a huge impact on someone else's life. The man that helped this guy saved so many lives and the life of his friend. Truly amazing story.

  • REBEL Gaming
    REBEL Gaming 2 days ago


  • DragonCall
    DragonCall 2 days ago +1

    That's why forgiveness is so important.

  • Jesse Segedy
    Jesse Segedy 2 days ago

    Love and care would stop all sorts of crime. I heard of a guy who used to preach that.

  • thebigs
    thebigs 2 days ago +1

    God bless the person who shows the true simple act of kindness to a troubled heart

  • Kenithan Lee
    Kenithan Lee 2 days ago

    His story sounds liie Eminem, especially that he likes comics

  • FairyGardens TV
    FairyGardens TV 3 days ago

    Ummm... Should I be worried that I got an ad for a local Community College before this played?

  • Mateo Bans
    Mateo Bans 3 days ago

    This man shouldn’t be praised. When I see a pedestrian and have the ability to hit them and run them over. I don’t get praised because that’s mental. He’s mental unstable.

  • Ling Lang
    Ling Lang 3 days ago

    I really wanna give him a hug, he made it ❤️🌹

  • Bree R
    Bree R 3 days ago +6

    this gave me chills and brought me to tears. SO inspired by your journey, you are so outstandingly brave

  • J4ckFostTv
    J4ckFostTv 3 days ago +1

    It takes bravery to do what this dude did

  • Dustin Borough
    Dustin Borough 3 days ago +3

    Love the ones you feel deserve it the least; they’re the ones who need it the most.

  • DunnoAUsername Dunno
    DunnoAUsername Dunno 3 days ago +2

    when you get second place in kahoot

    • Jake Harkenrider
      Jake Harkenrider 2 days ago

      It was pretty funny but the story he tells makes it messed up

    • NBA Remixes
      NBA Remixes 2 days ago

      DunnoAUsername Dunno you’re really not that funny

  • Captain Cabbage
    Captain Cabbage 3 days ago

    It’s Mr. Stark!

  • TheMcSongs best songs

    dude im about toshut theskool

  • Victoriya BW
    Victoriya BW 4 days ago

    Wow! So beautiful! Not the shooting peace but he has a family and a beautiful life. Very life changing 💕

  • Matbob420
    Matbob420 4 days ago

    Strongest person I’ve ever seen n heard! Heaps of support from someone else who knows how it feels :)

  • The Time Is Now
    The Time Is Now 4 days ago +2

    Wow... last night I was looking for sad songs to cry but couldn't find anything to break those emotions in me. Finally, I find this video and it brought those emotions I was looking for to surface. Incredible.

  • tarzan
    tarzan 4 days ago

    Hey Friend, I am glad you are standing on this stage. Your experience needs to be shared because there are so many kids who suffer just like you, and they do not have a voice or anyone to look up to. Your message is so very important for all of us who come into contact with troubled kids. I respect you so much. You earned my respect, with your thoughts, actions and words. They didn't ruin you. You survived. I hope that in the moments of doubt, you remember how far you've come, and how much you've helped. I'm so sorry this was your childhood. You deserved better.

  • EnterVenom
    EnterVenom 4 days ago

    RESPECT x 9 million

  • George Andrews
    George Andrews 4 days ago

    I Was Almost A School Shooter.... then he found Mcdonald's......

  • anonomyss
    anonomyss 5 days ago +19

    God damn it, I was listening to a bunch of TED talks at work and I started crying into my paperwork.

  • War Horse
    War Horse 5 days ago

    Sometimes the world needs Monsters

  • Booper Dooper
    Booper Dooper 5 days ago +2

    Imagine him going backstage and then coming back a minute later with an AR-15 and saying "SIKE, THATS THE WRONG NUMBA"

  • Bob's your Uncle
    Bob's your Uncle 5 days ago +1

    Powerful. That’s all I got to say.

  • ole banjolip
    ole banjolip 5 days ago

    He looks like the type

  • Christopher Mills
    Christopher Mills 5 days ago +2

    What a courageous man.

  • ThePart ThatGamed
    ThePart ThatGamed 6 days ago

    That was amazing

  • Pedro Castro
    Pedro Castro 6 days ago

    And the left wants you to think that drugs are ok and you dont need a family

  • Ghoti Fish
    Ghoti Fish 6 days ago

    I came from a meme i saw but I'd never thought it would be this deep

  • Josh Glover
    Josh Glover 6 days ago

    Notice how he said "least amount of security"? Gun free zones are magnets to killers! Arm qualified teachers and school shootings will stop!

    • Martin Baselier
      Martin Baselier 6 days ago

      Why do you think they almost exclusively happen in the U.S. ?

  • freedom1234573
    freedom1234573 6 days ago

    I’m so glad this man is doing well now

  • BeanRice.38
    BeanRice.38 6 days ago

    *I guess he went through with it last week*

  • Lucid
    Lucid 6 days ago +1

    who is the dude's mom wtf

    FBI OPEN UP 7 days ago


  • suicide
    suicide 7 days ago

    Did I bump elbows with you? You sound like we may have traveled a few hells the same time.......

  • IHappyChicken
    IHappyChicken 7 days ago +4

    Social services need to do better..

  • Anil Gupta
    Anil Gupta 7 days ago

    thank you for sharing. we all needed to hear this.

  • Julysa Scott
    Julysa Scott 7 days ago +1

    I like watching stuff like this because you can learn from other people and what they went through 💔and honestly I’m happy to say that I’m glad god healed them from whatever they was suffering from 💛

  • ultimategame47
    ultimategame47 7 days ago

    This was really a great speech

  • Final Frost Fall
    Final Frost Fall 8 days ago +2

    Clicked on this video knowing it was probably just click bait. Turned out to be possibly my all time favourite TED talk.

  • AJtheory
    AJtheory 8 days ago

    *I* was almost a skeet-tutor. Also I was almost a Manchurian Candidate.

  • W A V E
    W A V E 8 days ago +1

    I'm surprised this comment section isnt...

    • W A V E
      W A V E Day ago

      +DarkPandaLord toxic
      Like most comment sections

    • DarkPandaLord
      DarkPandaLord 6 days ago

      +W A V E, isn't what?

  • Samuel Henrique
    Samuel Henrique 8 days ago


  • crystallapis
    crystallapis 8 days ago +1


  • Lucas Zorn
    Lucas Zorn 8 days ago


  • Leon Schuring
    Leon Schuring 9 days ago +3

    We all owe this man an apology out of Honor and respect. This would've been perfect if people at the end bowed down as repentance for their sins, because I think most people are guilty of bullying and ostracism

  • F We
    F We 9 days ago +3

    We need more armed security at our schools. We protect our courthouses more then our children

  • Jenni Whipple
    Jenni Whipple 9 days ago +27

    "When someone treats you like a person when you don't even feel human.." Thank you. 💖

  • DonPeyote
    DonPeyote 9 days ago

    Almost doesn't count

  • rathernot say
    rathernot say 9 days ago

    How can you say with this s*** staying said at the beginning and not get thrown in jail

    • rathernot say
      rathernot say 3 days ago

      +LPSSeaSour he could blow any minute

    • LPSSeaSour
      LPSSeaSour 3 days ago

      rathernot say this was when we was 16. Not when he was 30. People change.

    • rathernot say
      rathernot say 8 days ago

      +S U C K M E O F F D A D D Y wrong it means he has the propensity to do it in the will to do it he should be in jail

    • S U C K M E O F F D A D D Y
      S U C K M E O F F D A D D Y 8 days ago

      rathernot say just because he said he wanted to. They can’t do anything because they see that he’s changed an not wanting to anymore.

  • Anti- Civilization
    Anti- Civilization 9 days ago +2

    Everyone : not a damn thing
    TED : *i was almost a school shooter*

  • william broberg
    william broberg 9 days ago

    I’m surprised that his parents were able to kick him out at 15 despite him being legally bound.

  • Kyle Lusk
    Kyle Lusk 9 days ago +2

    But he couldn’t get up the stairs

  • Jose Posada
    Jose Posada 10 days ago

    I bet he went to Burger King after this

  • Samurai Lulu
    Samurai Lulu 10 days ago

    Don’t do it Mr. Stark

  • PsyintZ
    PsyintZ 10 days ago +10

    Takes a lot of balls to do this. Much respect for this man.

  • Marcus Henderson
    Marcus Henderson 10 days ago +1


  • Milan Nikolin- CarpKidUSA

    I’ve been around guns my whole life and I have never thought about killing or hurting anyone. Instead of pushing guns farther away maybe we should try pulling them closer. I once heard that if drugs were legal and easier to get kids would never do them because there would be no thrill in it for them. Kids need to learn about guns and gun safety and not how to keep guns out of their life. The second amendment is there for a reason. Everyone should know how to use a gun and what they can do. 50-200 years ago it was fairly easy to get a gun in the United States and you don’t hear stories about the great outlaws and gunslingers of the “wild west” shooting up schools because it never happened. Live free or die.

  • Elias Whatling
    Elias Whatling 10 days ago

    Now you’re almost a couch veteran.

  • shuumai
    shuumai 10 days ago

    Got misty eyed, not at all the suffering, but by the simple kindness. Thank you, friend.

  • Fernand El Helou
    Fernand El Helou 10 days ago +1

    Well this guy’s flagged for life

  • acajudi100
    acajudi100 10 days ago +1

    Great you decided to destroy food and drinks to the excess.

  • Patrick Bateman
    Patrick Bateman 11 days ago

    I have loved comic books my entire life & while they are fun to read, they are also fiction. Made up. Fantasy created for our enjoyment by the masters of their craft. The artists lending their talents to form a make believe universe for us to escape to whenever we open the pages, but if you want to see a real life super hero you need only to look to this man. Mr. Aaron Stark, not to be confused with Tony Stark, is the real iron man. Mr. Stark had every excuse to lash out against society & repay some of the pain that it had inflicted upon him his entire life. But he didnt. Instead he took the high road & chose to contribute in a positive way. This man was unfairly dealt abuse every time he turned around & he overcame what is likely to be the worst treatment one could ever imagine and like the champion he is, he endured it and persevered. Mr. Stark refused to be defined by his wrongful persecution on a daily and turned it into a message of hope. A message he could have well kept to himself but was kind enough to share with all of us & I think we all owe the man many thanks!!! Mr. Aaron Stark I just want to tell you that I wish you nothing but the very best in life & though we have never met, you are one of my heroes. May God bless you and your family

  • Vincent Wright
    Vincent Wright 11 days ago

    how are you almost a school shooter

  • Mc Channel
    Mc Channel 11 days ago

    the genuinely way he presented his life, with no barriers or unuseful drama, made me emotional and made me think.

  • Alexander Bucks
    Alexander Bucks 11 days ago +1

    “Hey can you get me a gun?”
    “Sure can you get me an ounce”

    This is the society I support, unrestricted Free market capitalism

  • Grace U.
    Grace U. 11 days ago

    This opened my eyes! Kindness is the only answer!!!

  • Steve Sarnowski
    Steve Sarnowski 11 days ago +1

    Damn thanks for this

  • Wewetree 88
    Wewetree 88 11 days ago +1

    2 wrongs don’t make a right. I’m all about punishing individuals not the whole group.

  • Jess G
    Jess G 11 days ago +3

    This man is really compelling, very brave and important speech. It's not easy to speak on a stage but he's doing amazing work for our world in this TED talk.

  • John McNally
    John McNally 11 days ago

    BS, now you're a liar

  • belorisos
    belorisos 11 days ago

    i wanna give this man a big hug. he turned his life for the better, and i feel really proud of him even if i don’t know him personally.

  • Mike Mills Lynn Mass
    Mike Mills Lynn Mass 12 days ago +1

    Now you ate too many donuts and gut a tiny pp

  • Brody Groome
    Brody Groome 12 days ago