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"I Don't Like Mondays"
I get many emails from people asking about 'I Don't Like Mondays'. So here goes...
Bob and Fingers were in the USA doing a radio interview. The telex machine relayed a news story that school girl Brenda Spencer had been shooting teachers and children. "I Don't Like Mondays" was the reason she gave to police.
16-year-old Brenda had wanted a radio for Christmas, but her father gave her a gun.
Bob and Fingers went back to the hotel and wrote the song. 'I Don't Like Mondays' was only going to be a b-side, but were persuaded to release it as a single. The Rats actually did a demo as a reggae version.
The song was a huge hit right around the world, and No.1 in over 30 countries. The one exception being the USA who banned the song.
Brenda Spencer's next parole hearing is in 2005. Murderers are rarely granted parole in California.
Press reports and lyrics below.
Remember '79 Cleveland Elementary Shooting
survivors of a 1979 school shooting in San Diego County spoke of the difficult
healing process with 10News reporter Leonard Villarreal Tuesday.
Spencer fired the shots from inside her home across the street, wounding nine and killing two. At Cleveland Elementary the two fatalities were the school's principal and the head custodian.
Police surrounded Spencer's home and the siege lasted for seven hours. When asked a motive, Spencer told a reporter who called the home, "I don't like Mondays."
For the Karpiaks, it was a day that would change their lives forever.
"I remember it like it happened yesterday, I remember my principal and my custodian being shot in front of my eyes," Jeff Karpiak said.
The brothers wanted the students at Santana High School to know that time would help heal the emotional wounds.
"Over time they will definitely feel better. I guess it is just something you get used to. Evil can be outdone by the good in the world," Kevin Karpiak said.
Brenda Spencer is currently serving a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. She is scheduled for a parole hearing next month.
Grover Cleveland Elementary School
On January 29, 1979, 16-year-old Brenda Spencer killed two people and wounded nine when she fired from her house across the street onto the entrance of San Diego's Grover Cleveland Elementary School with a .22-caliber rifle her father gave her for Christmas. The two victims were Principal Burton Wragg and custodian Mike Suchar were killed. Eight students and a police officer were wounded.
Spencer, the original school rampager, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to two 25 years to life in prison. When asked why she did it, she said "I just don't like Mondays." At the time she also told negociators, "It was a lot of fun seeing children shot."
Brenda -- who suffers from epylepsy and depression -- said at a parole hearing in April 2001 that she felt responsible for the many school shootings that have followed her 1979 sniper attack. "I know saying I'm sorry doesn't make it all right," she said, adding that she wished it had never happened. But she added, "With every school shooting, I feel I'm partially responsible. What if they got their idea from what I did?"
Spencer claimed her violence grew out of an abusive home life in which her father beat and sexually abused her for years. "I've never talked about it before," she said. "I had to share my dad's bed 'til I was 14 years old." Her father, Wallace Spencer, has never spoken publicly about the case.
Brenda, now 36, told the parole board the rifle was a Christmas present from her father. "I had asked for a radio and he bought me a gun," she said. Asked if she knew why he did that, she said, "I felt like he wanted me to kill myself." She also said she thought she had shot at the school in the hope that police would kill her at the end of the siege. "I had failed in every other suicide attempt. I thought If I shot at the cops they would shoot me," she said.
San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Richard Sachs, who prosecuted Spencer, said her crime remains "unthinkable" and he posed his own theory of why she did it.
"She probably was and still is a miserable person through and through," Sachs said. "But her way of dealing with the misery was to spread it around."
that after the recent breakup of a relationship between Spencer and another
woman in prison, she heated a paper clip and used it to carve onto her
chest the words "courage" and "pride." Spencer said
it was just a tattoo, but Sachs said it showed an inability to deal with
stress and an inclination to act out anger.
Parole denied in school shooting
CORONA, Calif. (AP) Brenda Spencer, who killed two people and wounded nine in the nation's first high-profile school shooting, was denied parole after a hearing in which she said she feels responsible for the many school shootings since her 1979 sniper attack.
Spencer, 38, told the three-member parole board at the California Institution for Women on Tuesday that she feels she is a different person now.
"I know saying I'm sorry doesn't make it all right," she said, adding that she wished it had never happened. "With every school shooting, I feel I'm partially responsible. What if they got their idea from what I did?"
Spencer was 16 on Jan. 29, 1979, when she fired on San Diego's Grover Cleveland Elementary School with a .22-caliber rifle from her family's house across the street.
Principal Burton Wragg and custodian Mike Suchar were killed. Eight students and a police officer were wounded. Spencer pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
The parole board unanimously denied parole Tuesday and said Spencer won't be eligible again for another four years. She was first denied parole in 1993.
The board's chairman, Brett Granlund, on Tuesday questioned the truthfulness of some of Spencer's remarks.
Asked about her infamous comment to a reporter, that she had opened fire with a .22-caliber rifle that day because "I just don't like Mondays," Spencer told the board she couldn't remember saying it. She said she had been drinking and taking drugs and doesn't remember much from that day.
"I only remember talking to negotiators," she said.
She was then reminded that she told a negotiator: "It was a lot of fun seeing children shot."
For the first time, Spencer claimed her violence grew out of an abusive home life in which her father beat and sexually abused her.
Her father, Wallace Spencer, has never spoken publicly about the case. He did not answer a reporter's knock on his door last week and his phone number is not listed.
Granlund expressed doubt about the sexual abuse allegations, saying Spencer had never discussed them with counselors.
She had tried to, she said, but they generally ignored her.
"I'm just going to tell you, you are either involved in a situation with counselors and psychiatrists who are covering up, or you are making this up," he said.
The hearing disclosed that Spencer has been under treatment for epilepsy and is also receiving antidepressants.
"I don't get depressed like I did," she said. "I'm not scared all the time."
But San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Richard Sachs, who prosecuted Spencer, said her behavior in prison shows she isn't ready for freedom. After the recent breakup of a relationship between Spencer and another woman in prison, he said, she heated a paper clip and used it to carve onto her chest the words "courage" and "pride."
Spencer said it was just a tattoo, but Sachs said it showed an inability to deal with stress and an inclination to act out anger.
One of Spencer's victims, Cam Miller, also spoke at Tuesday's hearing. He said he has been plagued by nightmares and fears since Spencer shot him in the back when he was 9.
When he went to testify at her trial, he said, "I had to go up and face this cruel monster. The look Brenda Spencer gave me was enough to scare anyone to death."
No parole for sniper who hated Mondays
By Anne Krueger
- Staff Writer
-- Brenda Spencer, who has been imprisoned since she killed two people
30, did not appear before the three-member Board of Prison Terms panel
guilty to the charges in October 1979, just as her trial was to begin,
then 16, fired a volley of bullets from her house toward the Cleveland
attracted worldwide attention, and an Irish rock group, the Boomtown Rats,
In her statement
yesterday, Spencer claimed for the first time that she had been under
contended that police, prosecutors and her defense attorney conspired
she was given mind-altering drugs for two years after her arrest and did
who saw me say I was a zombie (during her court hearings)," Spencer
said in her
in her statement that she is active in a prison group of about 50 women
prosecutor Charles Patrick, who is now a Municipal Court judge, and Spencer's
just absolute nonsense," Patrick said. "There was never any
indication that any test
who wrote a letter on Spencer's behalf that was read at yesterday's hearing,
obviously was a tragic case, but we couldn't do any better than we did,"
claims, outlined in the statement read by Richard Jallins, an El Cajon
senator James Nielsen, the chairman of the board, said Spencer had somewhat
members -- Nielsen, former El Cajon state assemblywoman Carol Bentley
fire from her house on Lake Atlin Avenue across the street from the school
Burton Wragg, 53, was killed, and Mike Suchar, 56, the school's head custodian
drove a trash disposal truck between Spencer's house and the school to
who was a teacher at Cleveland Elementary, saw Spencer's bullets hit and
Barnes, who did not attend the hearing, said Spencer should never be released from prison.
makes mistakes and should be forgiven, but to me it's a capital crime,"
in her statement to the parole board that she is remorseful for the crime
with the unbearable pain every day of knowing that I was responsible for
that while under the influence of the drugs, she started to hallucinate
said she doubts whether the victims were hit by bullets from her rifle,
prison, Spencer has graduated from high school and taken college courses
Attorney Dave Berry urged the Board of Prison Terms members not to grant
board members deliberated for 35 minutes on their decision in Spencer's
None of the
victims of Spencer's shooting spree appeared at yesterday's hearing. Those
Wragg's widow, Kathe, said she hopes Spencer never gets out of prison.
never feel trustworthy of a person like that," Wragg said. "Just
the idea that she
Wragg, who never remarried, said she is constantly reminded of her husband's death.
"This is always on my mind. You never forget," she said. "It did a lot to our family."
daughter, Christy, was 9 when she was hit twice by bullets fired by Spencer.
things put together are not a good chemical mix and I could see where
now 23, works at a daycare center in San Carlos. Buell said one child
still lives in the same house across the street from the former Cleveland
Stockton tragedy brings back horror to school people who recall S.D. sniper
By Jim Okerblom
January 19, 1989
Daryl Barnes heard the name Cleveland Elementary, the Stockton school where a group of children were gunned down, and the words jarred his mind.
Ten years ago this month, Barnes was in a San Diego schoolyard picking up wounded children as a sniper fired rounds at him. The name of the school: Cleveland Elementary.
"When I heard it on TV, I could hardly believe it," said Barnes, now a sixth-grade teacher at Foster Elementary School.
Gaetana Patton has these words of advice for families of children who survived the Stockton massacre: "Get through it as quickly as possible" and don't avoid talking about it.
Patton, a speech therapist with the San Diego Unified School District, also knows firsthand the horror of bullets fired at schools.
She was in a classroom at Cleveland Elementary in San Carlos on Jan. 29, 1979, when the sniper, a skinny 16-year-old named Brenda Spencer, opened fire with a .22-caliber rifle from her home across the street. Patton dragged a wounded 9-year-old girl through the bullet-scarred door of her classroom during Spencer's six-hour siege.
Patty Satin-Jacobs, social service administrator with the county, has also been engrossed in news accounts of the Stockton massacre.
"I became wrapped up in what was going on," she said. "I started dreaming about (the Spencer shootings)."
Satin-Jacobs' husband, Jake, dropped their son Scott off in front of Cleveland Elementary 10 years ago, and drove away not knowing anything was wrong. Their son wasn't hit, but he saw schoolmates fall to Spencer's bullets and saw Principal Burton Wragg lying fatally wounded on the sidewalk.
Spencer, serving a sentence of 25 years to life at the California Institution for Women in Frontera, killed Wragg and school custodian Mike Suchar. Eight children and a police officer were wounded. Her explanation to a reporter, "I just don't like Mondays," became the title of a song by the Boomtown Rats, an Irish rock group.
The school closed in 1983 because of declining enrollment, but the tragedy there forged close ties among the staff.
"That still exists," said Patton. "We still get together socially."
The adults who witnessed Spencer's rampage all say that the Stockton tragedy will be harder on that school and that community because five children died. They praised the Stockton district's decision to reopen the school yesterday and to make counselors available.
The San Diego district did the same thing, and it allowed the children to come to grips with what happened and to get over it quickly.
"Otherwise, you hold those fears in and it gets worse," said Barnes, who was named acting principal after the shootings here.
Satin-Jacobs said her son, now a freshman at Berkeley, suffered no long-term ill effects from Spencer's attack, but listed it as a major formative event in his life on a college-entrance essay.
She and her husband had a harder time.
Satin-Jacobs became alarmed in the weeks after the shootings, when her son had violent daydreams, like one in which he was Superman using his cape to deflect bullets back into Spencer's brain. A counselor assured her it was a normal reaction for an 8-year-old.
For years she could not stop crying on the anniversary, and to this day her husband cannot stand the sound of helicopters.
"It really shatters your illusions of security and safety when something like this happens," she said. "It affects every area of your life."
I Don't Like Mondays
chip inside her head
Tell me why?
machine is kept so clean
Tell me why?
All the playing's
stopped in the playground now
Tell me why?
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