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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.


Survivors Remember '79 Cleveland Elementary Shooting
San Diego Channel 10, 2002

Two survivors of a 1979 school shooting in San Diego County spoke of the difficult healing process with 10News reporter Leonard Villarreal Tuesday.

Brothers Jeff and Kevin Karpiak were students at Cleveland Elementary School in San Carlos when 16-year-old Brenda Spencer opened fire on the school with a .22 rifle on Monday, January 29, 1979.

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."

Sachs noted 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
06/19/2001

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
22-Jan-1993 Friday

CORONA -- Brenda Spencer, who has been imprisoned since she killed two people and wounded
nine others in a 1979 San Carlos schoolyard shooting, was turned down yesterday for a chance
at parole.

Spencer, 30, did not appear before the three-member Board of Prison Terms panel considering
her first opportunity for parole from the Frontera women's prison. But she said in a written
statement that she plans to file a legal challenge to her conviction on two murder charges
and one of assault with a deadly weapon, contending that authorities conspired against her.

Spencer pleaded guilty to the charges in October 1979, just as her trial was to begin, and
was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Spencer, then 16, fired a volley of bullets from her house toward the Cleveland Elementary
School playground Jan. 29, 1979. She told a reporter who called her during the 6 1/2 -hour
siege that she opened fire because, "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day."

The shooting attracted worldwide attention, and an Irish rock group, the Boomtown Rats,
wrote a song titled "I Don't Like Mondays."

In her statement yesterday, Spencer claimed for the first time that she had been under the
influence of drugs and alcohol when she opened fire.

She also contended that police, prosecutors and her defense attorney conspired to fabricate
laboratory test results that revealed no drugs in her system after she surrendered to
police.

She alleged she was given mind-altering drugs for two years after her arrest and did not
realize until a few months ago that she had signed an agreement to plead guilty to
first-degree murder.

"People who saw me say I was a zombie (during her court hearings)," Spencer said in her
statement. "I said what they told me to say, I did what they told me to do."

Spencer said in her statement that she is active in a prison group of about 50 women who
contend that they were given mind-altering drugs while they were jailed awaiting trial.
She said she plans to file a federal civil rights suit and is seeking help from state
legislators and members of Congress.

Both former prosecutor Charles Patrick, who is now a Municipal Court judge, and Spencer's
attorney, Michael McGlinn, vehemently denied that any evidence was hidden in her case.

"It's just absolute nonsense," Patrick said. "There was never any indication that any test
results were in any way falsified."

McGlinn, who wrote a letter on Spencer's behalf that was read at yesterday's hearing, said
Spencer was trying to challenge her conviction because she realized that the state Board of
Prison Terms is not giving parole dates to prisoners. He said Spencer got the best defense
he could give her.

"It obviously was a tragic case, but we couldn't do any better than we did," McGlinn said.
"She got our fullest attention."

Spencer's claims, outlined in the statement read by Richard Jallins, an El Cajon lawyer who
represented her at the hearing, elicited little sympathy from members of the parole board.

Former state senator James Nielsen, the chairman of the board, said Spencer had somewhat
recognized her responsibility for the crime, but said, "That acknowledgement is woven in a
web of denial, excuse and blame-claiming."

The board members -- Nielsen, former El Cajon state assemblywoman Carol Bentley and former
San Diego Police Department assistant chief Manny Guaderrama -- said Spencer would have to
wait three years before she would again be considered for parole.

Spencer opened fire from her house on Lake Atlin Avenue across the street from the school
at 8:30 a.m., just as students were heading into their classes from the playground.

Principal Burton Wragg, 53, was killed, and Mike Suchar, 56, the school's head custodian
was shot in the chest and killed when he ran to help Wragg. Eight children were wounded as
they ran for cover, and a police officer was wounded in the neck.

Authorities drove a trash disposal truck between Spencer's house and the school to block
her line of fire. After hours of negotiations with police, Spencer surrendered. Police
found a .22-caliber semiautomatic rifle and about 40 expended shells in her home.

Daryl Barnes, who was a teacher at Cleveland Elementary, saw Spencer's bullets hit and kill
Wragg and Suchar. He also brought a wounded child into the school while screaming for
someone to call police.

Barnes, who did not attend the hearing, said Spencer should never be released from prison.

"Everybody makes mistakes and should be forgiven, but to me it's a capital crime," said
Barnes, who is now a fifth-grade teacher at Hancock Elementary School in Tierrasanta. "If
the sentence is 25 years, she shouldn't be paroled until the 25 years are up."

Spencer contended in her statement to the parole board that she is remorseful for the crime
but said she is not guilty of murder because she was under the influence of alcohol and the
hallucinogenic drug PCP.

"I live with the unbearable pain every day of knowing that I was responsible for the death
of two people and caused many others physical and emotional pain and suffering," Spencer
said in the statement. "But I'm not a murderer."

She said that while under the influence of the drugs, she started to hallucinate and saw
commando types in paramilitary gear advance toward her house. She said she barricaded
herself in and started shooting, using the rifle her father had given her for Christmas.

She also said she doubts whether the victims were hit by bullets from her rifle, contending
that they might have been shot by police and that police officers lied in court about how
many shots they fired.

While in prison, Spencer has graduated from high school and taken college courses and
vocational courses in electronics. She has had only minor disciplinary problems.

Deputy District Attorney Dave Berry urged the Board of Prison Terms members not to grant
parole for Spencer, citing her lack of remorse and indications that she had planned the
shootings days before they occurred.

While the board members deliberated for 35 minutes on their decision in Spencer's case, she
could be seen in a small room next to the board's hearing room. Wearing glasses and with
her red hair in a short punkish cut, she appeared much like her pictures following her 1979
arrest.

None of the victims of Spencer's shooting spree appeared at yesterday's hearing. Those
contacted by a reporter said they did not know about the hearing and said officials had
not told them it was scheduled.

Wragg's widow, Kathe, said she hopes Spencer never gets out of prison.

"I could never feel trustworthy of a person like that," Wragg said. "Just the idea that she
felt she had to kill somebody. It's so self-serving and inward. I would never want her to
be out. I have not seen any remorse."

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."

Norman Buell's daughter, Christy, was 9 when she was hit twice by bullets fired by Spencer.
Buell, who works with troubled adolescents in a group home, said he would have no objection
to Spencer being paroled from prison. He cited Spencer's youth at the time of the shooting
and his belief that Spencer was abused.

"Those things put together are not a good chemical mix and I could see where it would
happen," Norman Buell said. "I personally would say that she's served her sentence."

Christy Buell, now 23, works at a daycare center in San Carlos. Buell said one child who
was enrolled at the center was the offspring of Brenda Spencer's father, Wallace, and his
present wife, who was Brenda Spencer's 17-year-old cellmate when she was being held at
Juvenile Hall.

Wallace Spencer still lives in the same house across the street from the former Cleveland
Elementary School, which is now the home of San Diego Hebrew Day School. He refused to
comment when contacted by a reporter.



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

The silicon chip inside her head
Gets switched to overload.
And nobody's gonna go to school today,
She's going to make them stay at home.
And daddy doesn't understand it,
He always said she was as good as gold.
And he can see no reason
'Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to be shown?

Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
I want to shoot
The whole day down.

The telex machine is kept so clean
As it types to a waiting world.
And mother feels so shocked,
Father's world is rocked,
And their thoughts turn to
Their own little girl.
Sweet 16 ain't so peachy keen,
No, it ain't so neat to admit defeat.
They can see no reasons
'Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to be shown?

Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
I want to shoot
The whole day down.

All the playing's stopped in the playground now
She wants to play with her toys a while.
And school's out early and soon we'll be learning
And the lesson today is how to die.
And then the bullhorn crackles,
And the captain crackles,
With the problems and the how's and why's.
And he can see no reasons
'Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to die?

Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
I want to shoot
The whole day down.



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