If you are one of those people who thinks white people do not have a special privilege to do or say things any other person of a different race or religion cannot. I implore you to look at this statement.
“I was almost a school shooter,” Aaron Stark wrote in a letter to Denver’s local station 9 News. “I am not a school shooter because I didn’t have access to guns.”
When I first saw the headline to Stark’s Ted talk he gave after his letter received widespread media attention, it suddenly dawned on me, if you are white you can do or say anything. One of those things you can say is you once had thoughts to shoot up a school which you justify because you were bullied and have mental health problems.
Stark’s heartfelt confession made me think of other’s who have thought of committing terrible atrocities and could justify them using Stark’s own reasoning. Would they get the same amount of sympathy?
This is a letter from a Muslim man:
“I was almost a suicide bomber
I didn’t carry out anything, I didn’t hurt anyone. But in 1996, I almost did the worst possible thing.
I always felt like I didn’t belong in my school, my home life wasn’t better, I never had a steady home, and the people closest to me caused me the most pain. I was shy, and sensitive, I never wore clean clothes, showers were hard to come back. This made me an easy target for bullies who were relentless , I was bullied for everything from being brown, Muslim, and having a weird accent. The more the bullies assaulted me, the more resentful I became until I started to look into terrorist organisations. I came into contact with some people on social media who said they could help me make a bomb.
I say all of this not to shock, or to upset people, or to say I agree at all with this evil. I say this to show that the problem is hard.
Mental health was a factor in my thoughts at the time, I was severely depressed and suicidal, I felt like I had nothing to lose. And when you get to that point, you stop thinking properly and that is a terrifying position for anyone to be.
A bigger factor was the images of my brothers and sisters being bombed by the west, this made me more susceptible to the propaganda that would radicalise me to even consider bombing my own school.
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.
The instruction to construct a bomb were too hard to understand.
I was almost a suicide bomber
I have grown in the past few years, I have a family now, I’m sometime disgusted with the way other Muslims are treated but now I know violence in not the answer.
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.
‘Love is all we need’ – John Lennon
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.”
You can read Stark’s original letter here, of course the letter above is our rendition of how the letter would’ve read had the person been trying to be a suicide bomber.