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 Brenda Spencer - "I don't like Mondays" - Elementary School Shooting

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PostSubject: Brenda Spencer - "I don't like Mondays" - Elementary School Shooting   Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:56 pm

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In summary:
On the morning of Monday 29th January 1979 16 year old Brenda Ann Spencer opened fire on Cleveland Elementary School from her home across the street. She began shooting as the children waited outside for the Principal to open the school gates. Spencer killed school Principal Burton Wragg as he tried to help the children, she also killed school Custodian Mike Suchar as he tried to pull Wragg to safety. Eight children were injured and responding police officer Robert Robb was shot in the neck. It was reported Spencer fired around 30 rounds of ammunition from a Ruger 10/22 semi automatic .22 caliber rifle with telescopic sight she had received for Christmas in 1978. The rifle was given to her by her father and came with 500 rounds of ammunition.
After the shooting Spencer barricaded herself inside her home for nearly 7 hours. During the shooting a reporter from the San Diego Tribune called houses near the school and reached Spencer who admitted she was the shooter, when asked why she reportedly told him "I just did it for the fun of it. I don't like Monday's. This livens up the day. I have to go now. I shot a pig, I think, and I want to shoot more. I'm having too much fun." In conversations with police negotiators she told them she would come out shooting and those she had shot made easy targets. Spencer's "I don't like Monday's" quote became notorious and inspired The Boomtown Rats single of the same name: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Eventually Spencer surrendered.

Subsequently she was tried as an adult and pled guilty, she was sentenced to prison for 25 years to life imprisonment where she was diagnosed as epileptic and received medication for epilepsy and depression. Whilst in custody it was discovered Spencer had an injury to the temporal lobe of her brain. Spencer has been denied parole and in 2009 told she would not be considered for a Board of Parole hearing until 2019.

Prior to the shooting acquaintances reported Spencer expressed negative attitudes towards police and had talked about shooting one. She was described as introverted by teachers and by one classmate as "pretty crummy looking." Prior to the shooting Spencer's parents had separated and she lived in virtual poverty with her father. In 2001 she reported her father had drunkenly beat and sexually abused her. In 1978 Spencer had been referred to a facility for problem students due to truancy, they informed her parents she was suicidal. That year she was arrested for shooting the windows of Cleveland Elementary with a BB gun and burglary. Later in the year after psychiatric evaluation arranged by her probation officer it was arranged for Spencer to be admitted to a mental hospital due to her depressed state, her father denied permission for this. Spencer said she felt her father had bought her the rifle for Christmas that year because he wanted her to kill herself.

Additional information sourced from 'The Milwaukee Journal' Jan 30,1979 - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

I don't like Mondays Documentary:
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PART 2 - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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PART 5 - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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PostSubject: Re: Brenda Spencer - "I don't like Mondays" - Elementary School Shooting   Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:08 pm

I saw one of her parole hearings. She said she wanted freedom and to work as fork-lift truck driver and her dad denied the abuse. I like the song and Bob too Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Brenda Spencer - "I don't like Mondays" - Elementary School Shooting   Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:40 pm

She was only 16 and her father knew she was depressed and suicidal and he still bought her a gun? Idiot. Sorry, but that is what he is. Did anything happen to him for giving this kid a gun? Probably not.

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PostSubject: Re: Brenda Spencer - "I don't like Mondays" - Elementary School Shooting   Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:34 pm

This case certainly piqued my interest when I first heard of it, since I’d never heard of a female school shooter before. Brenda Spencer was featured in the show, “Deadly Women”, if you’d be interested in watching it.

She did not seem like a psychotic shooter, but more like a psychopathic one. Brenda appears quite deceptive and she has changed her reason for committing the crime many times.

Jenn wrote:
She was only 16 and her father knew she was depressed and suicidal and he still bought her a gun? Idiot. Sorry, but that is what he is. Did anything happen to him for giving this kid a gun? Probably not.

The father does not appear to be sane, not only because he bought his underage daughter a gun (which is enough to make people frown). Apparently, he married Brenda’s “look-alike inmate” when she was released from prison. The neighbors actually thought that Brenda had been released from prison, since the look-alike bore such a striking resemblance to her. I saw it in a documentary about Brenda Spencer. Let me know if you want me to link it.

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PostSubject: Re: Brenda Spencer - "I don't like Mondays" - Elementary School Shooting   Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:38 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Brenda Spencer - "I don't like Mondays" - Elementary School Shooting   Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:41 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Brenda Spencer - "I don't like Mondays" - Elementary School Shooting   Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:21 pm

Glamazon wrote:
This case certainly piqued my interest when I first heard of it, since I’d never heard of a female school shooter before. Brenda Spencer was featured in the show, “Deadly Women”, if you’d be interested in watching it.

She did not seem like a psychotic shooter, but more like a psychopathic one. Brenda appears quite deceptive and she has changed her reason for committing the crime many times.

Jenn wrote:
She was only 16 and her father knew she was depressed and suicidal and he still bought her a gun? Idiot. Sorry, but that is what he is. Did anything happen to him for giving this kid a gun? Probably not.

The father does not appear to be sane, not only because he bought his underage daughter a gun (which is enough to make people frown). Apparently, he married Brenda’s “look-alike inmate” when she was released from prison. The neighbors actually thought that Brenda had been released from prison, since the look-alike bore such a striking resemblance to her. I saw it in a documentary about Brenda Spencer. Let me know if you want me to link it.
Please do link it.

This is from an article Peter Langman wrote. He believes that she is probably psychopathic.
In 1979, 16-year-old Brenda Spencer committed a sniper attack from her home in San Diego, shooting people at the elementary school across the street. Calling this attack a rampage school shooting may be stretching the definition of the phenomenon. Unlike the other shooters under discussion, Brenda was not a student at the school she assaulted. She had, however, been a student there five years previously. Though some definitions of school shootings include attacks by both current and former students, “former students” generally refers to students who have been expelled or drop out and shortly thereafter commit an attack. Although Brenda was a former student of the school she assaulted, she had not been a recent student at the school. It is not clear that she picked the school as the site of her attack because it had been her school, or if she simply chose it as a target of convenience because it was across the street from her home.

Regardless of why she chose the school, on 29 January 1979, Brenda killed the principal and a janitor, and wounded 8 children and a police officer. (Unless otherwise specified, the facts presented in this section are from Dr. Jonathan Fast’s book, Ceremonial Violence: A Psychological Explanation of School Shootings.)

Brenda was the youngest of three children, with a brother who was approximately six years older and a sister approximately four years older. In 1972, when Brenda was nine, her mother sought to get a divorce and petitioned to keep her children. After the children met with the judge privately, custody was awarded to the father. The reason for this is unknown. By 1976, Brenda’s brother and sister had moved out of the home, leaving Brenda alone with her father. Mr. Spencer was seen as a good father. There are apparently no reports of alcoholism, physical abuse, or any kind of mistreatment of Brenda.

For Christmas 1978, he gave Brenda a .22 caliber semiautomatic rifle with a telescopic sight, along with 500 rounds of ammunition. A few weeks later she was talking to her friends about having plans to turn her garage into a fortress. She also talked about an upcoming event that would be “big” and “will be on television and everything.” On 29 January, she committed her attack on the elementary school.

Although there are multiple factors to consider in this case, Brenda seems to belong in the psychopathic category. As with other shooters in this category (Drew Golden and Eric Harris), Brenda may have had a sadistic streak. According to Dr. Fast, Brenda’s peers “recall her chasing neighborhood strays with a can of lighter fluid, with the intention of soaking their tails and setting them afire."

Whether or not she ever did set animals on fire, however, is unknown. A book that was published in 2012 includes reports of many people who knew Brenda. There were no accounts of her ever torturing animals, and multiple accounts of how much she loved animals. In addition, however, she reportedly liked to shoot small creatures such as rabbits, birds, and squirrels (see Does Anyone Like Mondays? The Brenda Spencer Murder Case, by Eric D. Hart). The source of the report that she at least tried to set cats’ tails on fire is unknown; it is possible that Brenda herself started the rumor. She was known to brag about things she hadn’t done, apparently having a desire to shock people.

Another similarity she shared with Eric Harris and Drew Golden is an unusual interest in firearms and killing. As one peer said, “We were nice to her because we were afraid of her...l didn’t like her because she always talked about killing things.” She reportedly loved guns and was an excellent shot. At age eleven, she liked to shoot birds with her BB gun. According to a friend, Brenda “dreamed of making her living as a sniper.”

Brenda also had a fascination with knives and reportedly always carried a knife with her. A friend of hers recalled, “She loved knives.” Brenda had also been arrested twice prior to the shooting — once for shooting out the windows at the elementary school, and another time for shoplifting ammunition. She demonstrated other antisocial behavior in being truant so often that she was suspended.

Brenda also demonstrated a remarkable nonchalance during the attack. There was no indication of rage, anguish, or distress of any kind. Rather, the attack seemed to strike her as an entertaining activity. A quick-thinking reporter identified the Spencer home as one that was across the street from the school. Not knowing that someone in the Spencer home was doing the shooting, he called the house in hopes of finding a witness who could describe the scene that was unfolding. Brenda answered the telephone and talked to the reporter in a bantering manner, accompanied by giggles. She said, “I just started shooting. That’s it. I just did it for the fun of it.” The reporter described her as calm and matter-of-fact. When told that she may have killed three or four people, she said, “Is that all?...I saw lots of feathers fly.” Just before hanging up, Brenda said, “I have to go now. I shot a pig [police officer], I think, and I want to shoot more.”

As noted in the section on Robert Poulin, other rampage shooters experienced significant distress during and after their attacks. Most of them were suicidal, and most were full of rage. There was no indication of either depression or rage in Brenda. Nor was their any indication of distress regarding what she had done. In fact, just the opposite. After telling the reporter she had shot a police officer, she said she wanted to shoot more. Thus, even the interruption by the reporter during the attack did not faze her or have any deterrent effect. This lack of emotion is consistent with psychopathic behavior. Psychopaths have significant deficits in their ability to feel anxiety, fear, guilt, and other emotions. They also do not recognize other people as beings like themselves, and therefore can victimize them and feel nothing.

It is also noteworthy that Brenda specifically wanted to kill police. She reportedly had derived particular enjoyment when seeing cops shot in television shows. She also had talked to her friends about wanting to kill cops. Eric Harris wrote that he hated cops and there are passages in his writings about killing cops. Psychopaths are people who do not recognize the validity of laws; thus, it is not surprising that they would target the people who represent “the law.”

Psychopaths typically engage in a variety of illegal behaviors, and this was true of Brenda. She told her peers that she was often high on drugs, but the accuracy of this is unknown. As mentioned earlier, she had been suspended from school for excessive truancy. She bragged about her skill as a shoplifter, and was once arrested for stealing ammunition. She was also arrested for shooting out windows at the elementary school.

Though Brenda exhibited traits and behaviors suggestive of a psychopathic school shooter, there are other factors to consider. First, she reportedly hit her head in a fall from her bicycle at age 14. Following the attack, she was found to have abnormal brain waves and it was suggested that she might be epileptic. Though a traumatic brain injury can have a dramatic impact on someone’s functioning, there is no apparent evidence that Brenda’s head injury was significant, nor that there was any change in her functioning at all. In fact, she liked guns and killing at least as early as age 11. Her later misuse of firearms is consistent with the portrait of her as a girl prior to the fall from her bike.

Another point is that psychopaths can have highly unusual brain waves; this has been noted by Dr. Robert Hare, one of the world authorities on psychopaths. Thus, Brenda’s abnormal brain waves might have been due to her psychopathy, not the head injury. Finally, even if she did have epilepsy or brain damage of some kind, this would not explain her attack. Without more substantive evidence, the attack cannot be attributed to an injury she endured in a fall from her bicycle.

The second factor to consider is substance abuse. At her first parole hearing, 14 years after the attack, Brenda claimed she had been high at the time of the shooting. She said that she had been experiencing hallucinations of commandos and was paranoid that she was under attack. Therefore, she began shooting.

This testimony is contradicted by two sources. First, her own conversation with the reporter during the attack is completely at odds with what she claimed 14 years later. She clearly stated that she was shooting people just for fun. There was no mention of thinking she was under attack by commandos. The second contradiction to her claim of drug-induced hallucinations was that after her arrest she was tested for substances, and the tests were negative. Thus, her claim of drug-induced behavior does not stand up.

Brenda made other statements at this hearing that are clearly inaccurate, including stating that the results of her drug tests had been falsified (by a conspiracy involving the police, the prosecuting attorney, and her defense attorney), and that the children she shot had actually been shot by the police. The impression she gave is that she was willing to say anything to avoid accepting responsibility for her actions. As a result, her parole was denied.

Another possible factor to consider is child abuse. If Brenda were an abused child, perhaps she would belong in the traumatized category of school shooter. At her second parole hearing, 22 years after the attack, Brenda claimed that her father committed incest with her and beat her with his hands. Her statements at this hearing need to be carefully considered. Though it is possible that she kept the incest a secret for 22 years, it is also possible that having failed to obtain parole at her previous hearing, she was willing to say anything she thought would help get her out of jail. The claim that she was traumatized is questionable.

As noted above, though Brenda’s mother petitioned for custody of her children, custody was given to the father. This was done after the judge met with the children. This suggests that the children gave the judge compelling testimony that they wanted to live with their father. Though we don’t know what was said, the outcome suggests that the children preferred their father. There was no indication at that point that he mistreated the children. Nor is there any evidence that any abuse occurred after Brenda moved in with her father. This does not mean that there was no abuse, only that there is no corroboration of Brenda’s allegation of incest.

In fact, other statements Brenda made during the second parole hearing raise further questions about her testimony. She said that she thought her father gave her a gun as a present because he wanted her to kill herself. She also said, “I had failed in every other suicide attempt. I thought if I shot at the cops, they would shoot me.” Several points can be made about these statements.

First, Brenda had loved guns and shooting for years. When her father gave her a gun for Christmas, he may have simply been giving her a gift he knew she would enjoy. Second, I have found no reference to any suicide attempts by Brenda, and as noted above, there is no indication that she was suicidal at the time of the shooting. In fact, she was having a good time and made no effort to kill herself. Finally, if she had wanted to be shot by police, she could have committed the shooting in public (as other shooters have done), rather than engaging in a sniper attack from the safety of her home.

Thus, in both her first and second parole hearings, Brenda made statements that are at odds with what is known from other sources, or which cannot be corroborated. There is insufficient evidence to classify Brenda as a traumatized shooter, or to at- tribute her attack to a head injury or substance abuse. Given her fascination with weapons and killing; her illegal behavior; her lack of empathy, guilt, and remorse; and her sadism, she is best placed in the psychopathic category.

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PostSubject: Re: Brenda Spencer - "I don't like Mondays" - Elementary School Shooting   Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:09 pm

sscc wrote:
Glamazon wrote:
This case certainly piqued my interest when I first heard of it, since I’d never heard of a female school shooter before. Brenda Spencer was featured in the show, “Deadly Women”, if you’d be interested in watching it.

She did not seem like a psychotic shooter, but more like a psychopathic one. Brenda appears quite deceptive and she has changed her reason for committing the crime many times.

Jenn wrote:
She was only 16 and her father knew she was depressed and suicidal and he still bought her a gun? Idiot. Sorry, but that is what he is. Did anything happen to him for giving this kid a gun? Probably not.

The father does not appear to be sane, not only because he bought his underage daughter a gun (which is enough to make people frown). Apparently, he married Brenda’s “look-alike inmate” when she was released from prison. The neighbors actually thought that Brenda had been released from prison, since the look-alike bore such a striking resemblance to her. I saw it in a documentary about Brenda Spencer. Let me know if you want me to link it.
Please do link it.

This is from an article Peter Langman wrote. He believes that she is probably psychopathic.
In 1979, 16-year-old Brenda Spencer committed a sniper attack from her home in San Diego, shooting people at the elementary school across the street. Calling this attack a rampage school shooting may be stretching the definition of the phenomenon. Unlike the other shooters under discussion, Brenda was not a student at the school she assaulted. She had, however, been a student there five years previously. Though some definitions of school shootings include attacks by both current and former students, “former students” generally refers to students who have been expelled or drop out and shortly thereafter commit an attack. Although Brenda was a former student of the school she assaulted, she had not been a recent student at the school. It is not clear that she picked the school as the site of her attack because it had been her school, or if she simply chose it as a target of convenience because it was across the street from her home.

Regardless of why she chose the school, on 29 January 1979, Brenda killed the principal and a janitor, and wounded 8 children and a police officer. (Unless otherwise specified, the facts presented in this section are from Dr. Jonathan Fast’s book, Ceremonial Violence: A Psychological Explanation of School Shootings.)

Brenda was the youngest of three children, with a brother who was approximately six years older and a sister approximately four years older. In 1972, when Brenda was nine, her mother sought to get a divorce and petitioned to keep her children. After the children met with the judge privately, custody was awarded to the father. The reason for this is unknown. By 1976, Brenda’s brother and sister had moved out of the home, leaving Brenda alone with her father. Mr. Spencer was seen as a good father. There are apparently no reports of alcoholism, physical abuse, or any kind of mistreatment of Brenda.

For Christmas 1978, he gave Brenda a .22 caliber semiautomatic rifle with a telescopic sight, along with 500 rounds of ammunition. A few weeks later she was talking to her friends about having plans to turn her garage into a fortress. She also talked about an upcoming event that would be “big” and “will be on television and everything.” On 29 January, she committed her attack on the elementary school.

Although there are multiple factors to consider in this case, Brenda seems to belong in the psychopathic category. As with other shooters in this category (Drew Golden and Eric Harris), Brenda may have had a sadistic streak. According to Dr. Fast, Brenda’s peers “recall her chasing neighborhood strays with a can of lighter fluid, with the intention of soaking their tails and setting them afire."

Whether or not she ever did set animals on fire, however, is unknown. A book that was published in 2012 includes reports of many people who knew Brenda. There were no accounts of her ever torturing animals, and multiple accounts of how much she loved animals. In addition, however, she reportedly liked to shoot small creatures such as rabbits, birds, and squirrels (see Does Anyone Like Mondays? The Brenda Spencer Murder Case, by Eric D. Hart). The source of the report that she at least tried to set cats’ tails on fire is unknown; it is possible that Brenda herself started the rumor. She was known to brag about things she hadn’t done, apparently having a desire to shock people.

Another similarity she shared with Eric Harris and Drew Golden is an unusual interest in firearms and killing. As one peer said, “We were nice to her because we were afraid of her...l didn’t like her because she always talked about killing things.” She reportedly loved guns and was an excellent shot. At age eleven, she liked to shoot birds with her BB gun. According to a friend, Brenda “dreamed of making her living as a sniper.”

Brenda also had a fascination with knives and reportedly always carried a knife with her. A friend of hers recalled, “She loved knives.” Brenda had also been arrested twice prior to the shooting — once for shooting out the windows at the elementary school, and another time for shoplifting ammunition. She demonstrated other antisocial behavior in being truant so often that she was suspended.

Brenda also demonstrated a remarkable nonchalance during the attack. There was no indication of rage, anguish, or distress of any kind. Rather, the attack seemed to strike her as an entertaining activity. A quick-thinking reporter identified the Spencer home as one that was across the street from the school. Not knowing that someone in the Spencer home was doing the shooting, he called the house in hopes of finding a witness who could describe the scene that was unfolding. Brenda answered the telephone and talked to the reporter in a bantering manner, accompanied by giggles. She said, “I just started shooting. That’s it. I just did it for the fun of it.” The reporter described her as calm and matter-of-fact. When told that she may have killed three or four people, she said, “Is that all?...I saw lots of feathers fly.” Just before hanging up, Brenda said, “I have to go now. I shot a pig [police officer], I think, and I want to shoot more.”

As noted in the section on Robert Poulin, other rampage shooters experienced significant distress during and after their attacks. Most of them were suicidal, and most were full of rage. There was no indication of either depression or rage in Brenda. Nor was their any indication of distress regarding what she had done. In fact, just the opposite. After telling the reporter she had shot a police officer, she said she wanted to shoot more. Thus, even the interruption by the reporter during the attack did not faze her or have any deterrent effect. This lack of emotion is consistent with psychopathic behavior. Psychopaths have significant deficits in their ability to feel anxiety, fear, guilt, and other emotions. They also do not recognize other people as beings like themselves, and therefore can victimize them and feel nothing.

It is also noteworthy that Brenda specifically wanted to kill police. She reportedly had derived particular enjoyment when seeing cops shot in television shows. She also had talked to her friends about wanting to kill cops. Eric Harris wrote that he hated cops and there are passages in his writings about killing cops. Psychopaths are people who do not recognize the validity of laws; thus, it is not surprising that they would target the people who represent “the law.”

Psychopaths typically engage in a variety of illegal behaviors, and this was true of Brenda. She told her peers that she was often high on drugs, but the accuracy of this is unknown. As mentioned earlier, she had been suspended from school for excessive truancy. She bragged about her skill as a shoplifter, and was once arrested for stealing ammunition. She was also arrested for shooting out windows at the elementary school.

Though Brenda exhibited traits and behaviors suggestive of a psychopathic school shooter, there are other factors to consider. First, she reportedly hit her head in a fall from her bicycle at age 14. Following the attack, she was found to have abnormal brain waves and it was suggested that she might be epileptic. Though a traumatic brain injury can have a dramatic impact on someone’s functioning, there is no apparent evidence that Brenda’s head injury was significant, nor that there was any change in her functioning at all. In fact, she liked guns and killing at least as early as age 11. Her later misuse of firearms is consistent with the portrait of her as a girl prior to the fall from her bike.

Another point is that psychopaths can have highly unusual brain waves; this has been noted by Dr. Robert Hare, one of the world authorities on psychopaths. Thus, Brenda’s abnormal brain waves might have been due to her psychopathy, not the head injury. Finally, even if she did have epilepsy or brain damage of some kind, this would not explain her attack. Without more substantive evidence, the attack cannot be attributed to an injury she endured in a fall from her bicycle.

The second factor to consider is substance abuse. At her first parole hearing, 14 years after the attack, Brenda claimed she had been high at the time of the shooting. She said that she had been experiencing hallucinations of commandos and was paranoid that she was under attack. Therefore, she began shooting.

This testimony is contradicted by two sources. First, her own conversation with the reporter during the attack is completely at odds with what she claimed 14 years later. She clearly stated that she was shooting people just for fun. There was no mention of thinking she was under attack by commandos. The second contradiction to her claim of drug-induced hallucinations was that after her arrest she was tested for substances, and the tests were negative. Thus, her claim of drug-induced behavior does not stand up.

Brenda made other statements at this hearing that are clearly inaccurate, including stating that the results of her drug tests had been falsified (by a conspiracy involving the police, the prosecuting attorney, and her defense attorney), and that the children she shot had actually been shot by the police. The impression she gave is that she was willing to say anything to avoid accepting responsibility for her actions. As a result, her parole was denied.

Another possible factor to consider is child abuse. If Brenda were an abused child, perhaps she would belong in the traumatized category of school shooter. At her second parole hearing, 22 years after the attack, Brenda claimed that her father committed incest with her and beat her with his hands. Her statements at this hearing need to be carefully considered. Though it is possible that she kept the incest a secret for 22 years, it is also possible that having failed to obtain parole at her previous hearing, she was willing to say anything she thought would help get her out of jail. The claim that she was traumatized is questionable.

As noted above, though Brenda’s mother petitioned for custody of her children, custody was given to the father. This was done after the judge met with the children. This suggests that the children gave the judge compelling testimony that they wanted to live with their father. Though we don’t know what was said, the outcome suggests that the children preferred their father. There was no indication at that point that he mistreated the children. Nor is there any evidence that any abuse occurred after Brenda moved in with her father. This does not mean that there was no abuse, only that there is no corroboration of Brenda’s allegation of incest.

In fact, other statements Brenda made during the second parole hearing raise further questions about her testimony. She said that she thought her father gave her a gun as a present because he wanted her to kill herself. She also said, “I had failed in every other suicide attempt. I thought if I shot at the cops, they would shoot me.” Several points can be made about these statements.

First, Brenda had loved guns and shooting for years. When her father gave her a gun for Christmas, he may have simply been giving her a gift he knew she would enjoy. Second, I have found no reference to any suicide attempts by Brenda, and as noted above, there is no indication that she was suicidal at the time of the shooting. In fact, she was having a good time and made no effort to kill herself. Finally, if she had wanted to be shot by police, she could have committed the shooting in public (as other shooters have done), rather than engaging in a sniper attack from the safety of her home.

Thus, in both her first and second parole hearings, Brenda made statements that are at odds with what is known from other sources, or which cannot be corroborated. There is insufficient evidence to classify Brenda as a traumatized shooter, or to at- tribute her attack to a head injury or substance abuse. Given her fascination with weapons and killing; her illegal behavior; her lack of empathy, guilt, and remorse; and her sadism, she is best placed in the psychopathic category.

Thank you for writing this. It's awful that so many people view Spencer as a poor mistreated person, rather than the psychopath she clearly was.

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PostSubject: Re: Brenda Spencer - "I don't like Mondays" - Elementary School Shooting   Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:43 am

Quote :
This is from an article Peter Langman wrote. He believes that she is probably psychopathic.
[i]In 1979, 16-year-old Brenda Spencer committed a sniper attack from her home in San Diego, shooting people at the elementary school across the street. Calling this attack a rampage school shooting may be stretching the definition of the phenomenon. Unlike the other shooters under discussion, Brenda was not a student at the school she assaulted. She had, however, been a student there five years previously. Though some definitions of school shootings include attacks by both current and former students, “former students” generally refers to students who have been expelled or drop out and shortly thereafter commit an attack. Although Brenda was a former student of the school she assaulted, she had not been a recent student at the school. It is not clear that she picked the school as the site of her attack because it had been her school, or if she simply chose it as a target of convenience because it was across the street from her home.

Regardless of why she chose the school, on 29 January 1979, Brenda killed the principal and a janitor, and wounded 8 children and a police officer. (Unless otherwise specified, the facts presented in this section are from Dr. Jonathan Fast’s book, Ceremonial Violence: A Psychological Explanation of School Shootings.)

Brenda was the youngest of three children, with a brother who was approximately six years older and a sister approximately four years older. In 1972, when Brenda was nine, her mother sought to get a divorce and petitioned to keep her children. After the children met with the judge privately, custody was awarded to the father. The reason for this is unknown. By 1976, Brenda’s brother and sister had moved out of the home, leaving Brenda alone with her father. Mr. Spencer was seen as a good father. There are apparently no reports of alcoholism, physical abuse, or any kind of mistreatment of Brenda.

For Christmas 1978, he gave Brenda a .22 caliber semiautomatic rifle with a telescopic sight, along with 500 rounds of ammunition. A few weeks later she was talking to her friends about having plans to turn her garage into a fortress. She also talked about an upcoming event that would be “big” and “will be on television and everything.” On 29 January, she committed her attack on the elementary school.

Although there are multiple factors to consider in this case, Brenda seems to belong in the psychopathic category. As with other shooters in this category (Drew Golden and Eric Harris), Brenda may have had a sadistic streak. According to Dr. Fast, Brenda’s peers “recall her chasing neighborhood strays with a can of lighter fluid, with the intention of soaking their tails and setting them afire."

Whether or not she ever did set animals on fire, however, is unknown. A book that was published in 2012 includes reports of many people who knew Brenda. There were no accounts of her ever torturing animals, and multiple accounts of how much she loved animals. In addition, however, she reportedly liked to shoot small creatures such as rabbits, birds, and squirrels (see Does Anyone Like Mondays? The Brenda Spencer Murder Case, by Eric D. Hart). The source of the report that she at least tried to set cats’ tails on fire is unknown; it is possible that Brenda herself started the rumor. She was known to brag about things she hadn’t done, apparently having a desire to shock people.

Another similarity she shared with Eric Harris and Drew Golden is an unusual interest in firearms and killing. As one peer said, “We were nice to her because we were afraid of her...l didn’t like her because she always talked about killing things.” She reportedly loved guns and was an excellent shot. At age eleven, she liked to shoot birds with her BB gun. According to a friend, Brenda “dreamed of making her living as a sniper.”

Brenda also had a fascination with knives and reportedly always carried a knife with her. A friend of hers recalled, “She loved knives.” Brenda had also been arrested twice prior to the shooting — once for shooting out the windows at the elementary school, and another time for shoplifting ammunition. She demonstrated other antisocial behavior in being truant so often that she was suspended.

Brenda also demonstrated a remarkable nonchalance during the attack. There was no indication of rage, anguish, or distress of any kind. Rather, the attack seemed to strike her as an entertaining activity. A quick-thinking reporter identified the Spencer home as one that was across the street from the school. Not knowing that someone in the Spencer home was doing the shooting, he called the house in hopes of finding a witness who could describe the scene that was unfolding. Brenda answered the telephone and talked to the reporter in a bantering manner, accompanied by giggles. She said, “I just started shooting. That’s it. I just did it for the fun of it.” The reporter described her as calm and matter-of-fact. When told that she may have killed three or four people, she said, “Is that all?...I saw lots of feathers fly.” Just before hanging up, Brenda said, “I have to go now. I shot a pig [police officer], I think, and I want to shoot more.”

As noted in the section on Robert Poulin, other rampage shooters experienced significant distress during and after their attacks. Most of them were suicidal, and most were full of rage. There was no indication of either depression or rage in Brenda. Nor was their any indication of distress regarding what she had done. In fact, just the opposite. After telling the reporter she had shot a police officer, she said she wanted to shoot more. Thus, even the interruption by the reporter during the attack did not faze her or have any deterrent effect. This lack of emotion is consistent with psychopathic behavior. Psychopaths have significant deficits in their ability to feel anxiety, fear, guilt, and other emotions. They also do not recognize other people as beings like themselves, and therefore can victimize them and feel nothing.

It is also noteworthy that Brenda specifically wanted to kill police. She reportedly had derived particular enjoyment when seeing cops shot in television shows. She also had talked to her friends about wanting to kill cops. Eric Harris wrote that he hated cops and there are passages in his writings about killing cops. Psychopaths are people who do not recognize the validity of laws; thus, it is not surprising that they would target the people who represent “the law.”

Psychopaths typically engage in a variety of illegal behaviors, and this was true of Brenda. She told her peers that she was often high on drugs, but the accuracy of this is unknown. As mentioned earlier, she had been suspended from school for excessive truancy. She bragged about her skill as a shoplifter, and was once arrested for stealing ammunition. She was also arrested for shooting out windows at the elementary school.

Though Brenda exhibited traits and behaviors suggestive of a psychopathic school shooter, there are other factors to consider. First, she reportedly hit her head in a fall from her bicycle at age 14. Following the attack, she was found to have abnormal brain waves and it was suggested that she might be epileptic. Though a traumatic brain injury can have a dramatic impact on someone’s functioning, there is no apparent evidence that Brenda’s head injury was significant, nor that there was any change in her functioning at all. In fact, she liked guns and killing at least as early as age 11. Her later misuse of firearms is consistent with the portrait of her as a girl prior to the fall from her bike.

Another point is that psychopaths can have highly unusual brain waves; this has been noted by Dr. Robert Hare, one of the world authorities on psychopaths. Thus, Brenda’s abnormal brain waves might have been due to her psychopathy, not the head injury. Finally, even if she did have epilepsy or brain damage of some kind, this would not explain her attack. Without more substantive evidence, the attack cannot be attributed to an injury she endured in a fall from her bicycle.

The second factor to consider is substance abuse. At her first parole hearing, 14 years after the attack, Brenda claimed she had been high at the time of the shooting. She said that she had been experiencing hallucinations of commandos and was paranoid that she was under attack. Therefore, she began shooting.

This testimony is contradicted by two sources. First, her own conversation with the reporter during the attack is completely at odds with what she claimed 14 years later. She clearly stated that she was shooting people just for fun. There was no mention of thinking she was under attack by commandos. The second contradiction to her claim of drug-induced hallucinations was that after her arrest she was tested for substances, and the tests were negative. Thus, her claim of drug-induced behavior does not stand up.

Brenda made other statements at this hearing that are clearly inaccurate, including stating that the results of her drug tests had been falsified (by a conspiracy involving the police, the prosecuting attorney, and her defense attorney), and that the children she shot had actually been shot by the police. The impression she gave is that she was willing to say anything to avoid accepting responsibility for her actions. As a result, her parole was denied.

Another possible factor to consider is child abuse. If Brenda were an abused child, perhaps she would belong in the traumatized category of school shooter. At her second parole hearing, 22 years after the attack, Brenda claimed that her father committed incest with her and beat her with his hands. Her statements at this hearing need to be carefully considered. Though it is possible that she kept the incest a secret for 22 years, it is also possible that having failed to obtain parole at her previous hearing, she was willing to say anything she thought would help get her out of jail. The claim that she was traumatized is questionable.

As noted above, though Brenda’s mother petitioned for custody of her children, custody was given to the father. This was done after the judge met with the children. This suggests that the children gave the judge compelling testimony that they wanted to live with their father. Though we don’t know what was said, the outcome suggests that the children preferred their father. There was no indication at that point that he mistreated the children. Nor is there any evidence that any abuse occurred after Brenda moved in with her father. This does not mean that there was no abuse, only that there is no corroboration of Brenda’s allegation of incest.

In fact, other statements Brenda made during the second parole hearing raise further questions about her testimony. She said that she thought her father gave her a gun as a present because he wanted her to kill herself. She also said, “I had failed in every other suicide attempt. I thought if I shot at the cops, they would shoot me.” Several points can be made about these statements.

First, Brenda had loved guns and shooting for years. When her father gave her a gun for Christmas, he may have simply been giving her a gift he knew she would enjoy. Second, I have found no reference to any suicide attempts by Brenda, and as noted above, there is no indication that she was suicidal at the time of the shooting. In fact, she was having a good time and made no effort to kill herself. Finally, if she had wanted to be shot by police, she could have committed the shooting in public (as other shooters have done), rather than engaging in a sniper attack from the safety of her home.

Thus, in both her first and second parole hearings, Brenda made statements that are at odds with what is known from other sources, or which cannot be corroborated. There is insufficient evidence to classify Brenda as a traumatized shooter, or to at- tribute her attack to a head injury or substance abuse. Given her fascination with weapons and killing; her illegal behavior; her lack of empathy, guilt, and remorse; and her sadism, she is best placed in the psychopathic category.

Brenda Spencer featured in Deadly Women; [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Documentary about Spencer; [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

In addition, she also stated that she enjoyed watching the kids squirming on the ground once they’d gotten shot. One of the few things that made me initially doubt that she was a psychopath, was because they usually tend to appear charming and charismatic, which are traits that she seemingly lacks. She also has a long way to go before she can become an accomplished liar. Doesn’t she realize that her tendency of changing her statement arises suspicion?

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