Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: The Boomtown Rats song "I Don't Like Mondays" was inspired by a deadly shooting at a school.
Origins: Horrifying events like the April 1999 killing of twelve students and a teacher at Columbine High School by two of their classmates might persuade some to believe deadly school shootings are a new ill bestowed upon us by a society only recently gone mad, yet that is not the case. That today's death tolls are higher and the media coverage surrounding them more intense might serve to encourage belief that this sort of random murder of young people is a recent phenomenon, but the sad history of such attacks belies this. Deadly shooting sprees at schools perpetrated by troubled teens took place at least as much as a generation ago.
One of the earliest school shootings occurred in 1975 in Ottawa, Canada. On Monday,
Of the pre-Littleton school shootings, the one that sticks in people's minds best is recalled primarily because of its impact on pop culture — it inspired the popular Boomtown Rats song "I Don't Like Mondays." Released in October 1979, this song captured the insanity of the moment by working the killer's chilling utterance into its lyrics.
Of course fallible memory being what it is, folks now remember the shooting spree behind the song in only the most haphazard of fashions. They recall that there was a shooting at a school, that lives were lost, that the shooter was female, and that by way of explanation for her actions she said "I don't like Mondays," but some have her as a high school student gunning down students at her own school, while others remember her as a high school teacher who turned a gun on some of her pupils.
On 29 January 1979, 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer opened fire on children arriving at Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego from her house across the street, killing two men and wounding eight students and a police officer. Principal Burton Wragg was attempting to rescue children in the line of fire when he was shot and killed, and custodian Mike Suchar was slain attempting to aid Wragg.
Spencer used a rifle her father had given her as a gift. As to what impelled her into this form of murderous madness, she told a reporter,''I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day.''
The "Mondays" comment was not the only eyebrow-raising declaration to issue from Spencer that day. According to a report written by the police negotiators who spoke with her during the six-hour standoff, she made
That Spencer failed to kill any of the children she shot at was attributable to luck rather than any reluctance on her part to take their lives. The bullet that struck 9-year-old Charles "Cam" Miller missed his heart by about an inch.
Spencer pled guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to
She is eligible to again apply for parole in 2019. Those who continue to be troubled by the callousness of Brenda Spencer's crime and concerned by her continued attempts to shift blame for her actions onto anyone or anything else can draw comfort from the knowledge that murderers are rarely granted parole in California.
Barbara "california deeming" Mikkelson
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.