(FOX 13) - Why have so many school shooters snapped? FOX 13 spoke with a man who nearly became one, but had a change of heart at the last minute. He's helping shed light on what can be the tipping point for a young person on the edge.
Years ago, back in high school just outside of Chicago, the man we're calling Dave says he nearly became the next one.
“From a young age, I was bullied, I was jumped. Often, I was beat [sic] up. And then, in 2002 it came to a head,” he said.
Dave's story may be more important now than ever. He first shared it with radio host Drew Garabo.
“I was at a pep rally with a loaded gun, three clips. I was going to take out the ones that tortured me,” he told Garabo. “I just wanted to solve my problem and I had bigger problems than everyone else around me."
What stopped him?
He says it was a conversation with a guidance counselor, who was unaware that he was armed just a couple of class periods earlier. She told him high school does not last forever -- and to get an education and just move on.
“When I was finally going to pull it out, what she said kept going through my head and I didn't,” he recalled.
Dave says that simple moment of kindness kept him from joining a list that includes the Columbine killers, the Sandy Hook shooter, and Nicholas Cruz in Parkland.
“It was a clash of emotion. It was her words being the good angel and my feelings being the devil. It was literally a clash, man,” he continued.
Psychologist Dr. Wendy Rice says those sorts of interactions, while subtle, can make all the difference for a troubled child.
“Anything that makes somebody feel seen and valued, and connect; that social connection is so valuable,” Dr. Rice said.
“Just be kind. If you see someone that’s always looking down walking, doesn't talk to anyone, maybe they need someone to talk to,” Dave added.