Rarely but occasionally, my many favorite subjects coincide to form a great story. In this case, they would be history, music and crime. In a piece for MadMike’s America, I was reminded of the tale of Brenda Ann Spencer, the 16 year-old girl who didn’t like Mondays, and hence shot the whole day down.
On the 29th of January, 1979, Ms. Spencer unloaded 30 rounds from her home across the street, aimed at the Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California – killing the principal and a janitor, and wounding 8 children. The Boomtown Rats made her a cult icon in a song, titled with her infamous quote upon being captured. This happened before Columbine, before Virginia Tech and before Newtown. It serves as a reminder that shooting tragedies – and this type of mental illness – are nothing new. Many believe it also serves as a reminder that women are as capable of going off the rails, as are men. Still others believe that poor Brenda Ann stands as testament to the state of our broken world.
And yet others can’t stop laughing long enough to seek any meaning at all, from this senseless crime. Daddy’s little girl slips her trolley one morning, swipes his service auto, and starts blasting away – screaming that she doesn’t like Mondays. They’re not laughing at the tragedy – the destroyed lives of both the victims and the perpetrator – they’re laughing at themselves, at us. The Crown of Creation, a broken toaster.
Nobody really knows why people do what they do, we just know that they can be counted on to do stupid and destructive things. And in the end, we all suffer. We suffer as much from what Brenda Ann and her ilk do, as we suffer from what we do to them. Brenda’s in prison now – one of the first juveniles to be tried as an adult, and one of the first females – but that’s our failing, as well as her own. Somebody, somewhere, failed this girl. I’m not naive enough to claim her as an innocent – I’m simply saying that we all share in her guilt.
See, a prison – any prison – isn’t a symbol of our success in fighting social deviance, it’s a symbol of our failure. As long as there are prisons, we haven’t beaten crime – we’ve merely built an ineffectual bastion against it. People ask me why I write about prison so much. Perhaps it’s because I know how easy it would be for me to end up in one. Perhaps it’s because I thank Dog – or whomever daily, that I’m not already there. But I think it’s because deviance is an essential and necessary component of civilization. That without those who violate the social contract – no such contract could exist at all.
My heart really goes out to poor schlemiels like Brenda Ann. She’s the flat tire on our Mercedes. The Trojan in our e-mail, the fly in our soup. But without her, our world wouldn’t exist. Flu doesn’t exist because you have an immune system – it’s the other way round. Police are our immune system – prison, our antibody – and Brenda Ann is our flu.
BitcoDavid is a blogger and a blog site consultant. In former lives, he was an audio engineer, a videographer, a teacher – even a cab driver. He is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and a Pro/Am boxer. He has spent years working with diet and exercise to combat obesity and obesity related illness.
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