On this day in 1979, 16-year-old Brenda Spencer shot at an elementary school, killing the principal and a custodian. Eight children and a police officer were also shot and injured. When asked why she did it, Spencer simply replied, “I don’t like Mondays.”
Bob Geldof the Boomtown Rats used this line for the title to what became their biggest hit.
According to Geldof, he wrote the song after reading a telex report on the shooting spree that took place in a school playground at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego.
Geldof explained how he wrote the song:
“I was doing a radio interview in Atlanta with Fingers and there was a telex machine beside me. I read it as it came out. Not liking Mondays as a reason for doing somebody in is a bit strange. I was thinking about it on the way back to the hotel and I just said ‘Silicon chip inside her head had switched to overload’. I wrote that down. And the journalists interviewing her said, ‘Tell me why?’ It was such a senseless act. It was the perfect senseless act and this was the perfect senseless reason for doing it. So perhaps I wrote the perfect senseless song to illustrate it. It wasn’t an attempt to exploit tragedy.”
Spencer, who lived in a house across the street from the school, was convicted of the shootings. Tried as an adult, Spencer pled guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon, and was given an indefinite sentence.
She is 53 years old and is currently still in prison.