I DON'T LIKE MONDAYS
I had heard of, long long ago in the primitive time that was the 80's that a certain band had written a song and it was popular for a whole month and that it was based on a tragedy. I don't know how they got away with that, maybe because they were a UK band and the tragedy happened in the US, but nevertheless I had heard it on MTV (that was when a music channel was actually FOR music) and while I didn't like the song anyway, I certainly didn't like the fact that they took what was a shameful first (it was said) for America and made money off of it.
I have had absolutely no energy or desire to continue with movies (temporarily, thank goodness) and so was perusing Netflix's selection of TV series, among them crime series certain channels had offered. When this story came on it was very familiar and I finally got to learn some details. It is supposed to be the story of the very first schoolyard shooting in the United States.
Before 1979, shootings at schools were unheard of. At least no one ever spoke of them. While the program claimed this was the first, they were very, very wrong. Actually, there have been shootings at schools in the US dating back into the 1700's and that the incident of 1979 was far from the first in United States history. How they figured it was the first I don't know - didn't do their homework?
The most recent before this incident (And HOW THE HELL was this permitted?) was in May 18, 1978: In Austin, Texas John Daniel Christian, 13, son of Lyndon B. Johnson's former press secretary George Christian, shot to death his English teacher, Wilbur Grayson, 29, with his father's .22 caliber rifle in front of approximately 30 classmates. John Christian was never prosecuted and is now a practicing attorney in Austin, Texas. How's THAT for American justice?
But as usual I digress. In January 29, 1979, kids were arriving at Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego as usual, chattering with each other and playing, and since it was southern California, it was warm enough that no one was in a hurry to go inside. Until the first child grabbed his chest and fell to the ground. Adults inside the building describe the sound as the typical 'pop' sound of a firecracker but until kids started screaming no one thought to go outside.
In the end, miraculously no children died although eight were injured. But one police officer was also injured and both the principal and a custodian, who had rushed out with blankets to bravely try to grab the injured kids and bring them in, died. Why?
Brenda Ann Spencer. She was 16, she was a loner and she was tired of being dumped on by the world. She lived with her father in a small house across the street from the school, and although it states they lived in poverty, and that she was most likely abused (her father says not), she had a new .22 rifle. Why she was given a weapon when she basically had nothing else no one knows. But she was a crack shot. And that morning she decided that her life was miserable enough that she needed to spread the misery around.
This was not a girl just shooting aimlessly at kids. She chose her targets, some say based on her favorite colors but that's heresay, and carefully aimed before bringing each one down. And she was not going to stop, even when the police started showing up. Eventually, someone thought to park a garbage truck in front of the house to block her view and her shots, and she was arrested without incident.
But during the shooting, the local press was looking for anyone to give information and started making calls, including to her house. When asked why she was committing this heinous act she said blithely, "I don't like Mondays; this livens up the day."
It was that statement that proved to be her ultimate downfall as far as any mercy or leniency went. She was only 16, an outcast. Because of past behaviors and severe depression, she was recommended to be remanded to a mental facility in 1978 (her father objected). For Christmas in 1978 her father gave her the .22 rifle instead of the radio she wanted (she felt her father wanted her to kill herself). She was bullied, abused and certainly messed up (sane people do NOT shoot living beings for kicks). But the fact that she so flippantly gave that statement to the press (and committed this horrible crime against little kids) led to her being tried as an adult and sentenced to 25 years to life (the maximum at that time).
She has applied for parole four times and been denied each time. In 2009 she applied yet again and was denied, this time the board determining that she would not be able to apply again until 2019.
Oh, and gun control would not have stopped her or any of the others before her - that's a fact whether you want to believe it or not. And will the justice system protect you? I don't know, why not ask John Christian?