Thursday, August 13, 2009

Brenda Ann Spencer: "The silicon chip inside her head gets switched to overload..."

Brenda Ann Spencer fired 36 rounds from a semi-automatic rifle through her bedroom window at a bustling schoolyard on January 29, 1979. Her shooting spree left two adults dead, and another nine people wounded (eight of them children). The rifle had been a Christmas present from her father, Wallace Spencer.

Amid the six and a half hour standoff, which eventually led to her arrest, she was asked what had compelled her to do such an unfathomably horrible thing. Young Brenda, only 16 years old at the time of the shootings, provided an equally horrifying response: "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day."

Like many people my age, my first exposure to the life and crimes of Brenda Ann Spencer came courtesy of the highly popularized song by The Boomtown Rats. Singer/songwriter Bob Geldof had been in the midst of giving a radio interview when news of the tragedy came through on a Telex machine. Although the song has become a Monday morning radio classic across the globe, it is important to remember that it all began with a messed-up young woman, a telescopic rifle, and the haunting phrase which has since become ensconced in popular culture.

Today (August 13, 2009), Brenda Ann Spencer will sit before a roomful of legal officials as she has a number of times before, to request parole from the California Institution for Women, where she has been incarcerated for the last 3 decades.

While Brenda has, in recent years, provided a somewhat clearer explanation for her terrible crimes than her initial 'Mondays' claim, it doesn't look like this broad is getting out of the Big House any time in the near future. Still very clearly detatched from what she did on that frosty morning back in '79, she claims to remember very little about what transpired that day, and nothing at all about the actual shootings. "I don't remember, but I'm sure that I did it."

Update (08/13/09 @ 10:15 PM): Sorry, Brenda -- looks like you'll be eating fruit cocktail for at least another decade. Better luck next time.

The silicon chip inside her head

Gets switched to overload
And nobody’s gonna go to school today
She’s gonna make them stay at home
And daddy doesn’t understand it
He always said she was good as gold
And he can see no reasons
Cos there are no reasons
What reason do you need to be shown?


The Frog Queen said...

Wow, thanks for that trip down memory lane....and the quick ride back to the present. Very well written post.

Thanks for sharing.


Kitty LeClaw said...

Thanks, Frog Queen! The Boomtown Rats song appeared on a "One-Hit Wonders" special I watched a few weeks back, and it got me to thinking in-depth about the dirty deeds of Brenda Ann. As luck would have it, my interest was piqued just as she was preparing to make yet another attempt at winning her freedom from prison.

Pax Romano said...

I have always been fascinated by this crime...the fact that such a horrid act was committed and that the culprit sort of shrugged it off.

Years ago I wrote about Ms. Spencer on my old blog:

Kitty LeClaw said...

Great post, Pax. Clearly, I'm as fascinated with this strange case as you are! I haven't been able to get that blasted song out of my head alll day!

anonymous said...

I found a short story that is based on a woman from Roman times that is horrific!! I loved it in a weird way. It's only $1.98 check it out