I’m Not Supposed to Feel Sorry for Brenda Spencer

When pseudo-celebrity/daughter of Bob Geldof Peaches Geldof died of a heroin overdose- on a Monday- I thought to myself “I’ll bet Bob Geldof doesn’t like Mondays now!”

Bob Geldof is of course famous in the US as author/singer of the Boomtown Rats song “I Don’t Like Mondays”. The song was inspired by the shooting spree of a teenage girl in San Diego in January 1979, who opened fire on an elementary school across the street from her house. A radio station called the house before she was apprehended and asked her why she did it. She reportedly told them, “I don’t like Mondays.”

The 16 year-old girl in question, Brenda Ann Spencer, was subdued by police and plead guilty to two counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Her attempts to gain parole have been repeatedly denied.

The whole thing was immediately treated like a big joke, which is probably what encouraged Geldof to write the song. “She doesn’t like Mondays! Ha ha ha!” was the general response. This was I think the first “school shooting” and the outrage machine that immediately springs into action hadn’t been organized. I remember the incident being brought up in discussion in the gifted class, and when of the reliably leftists suck-ups brought up the funny aspect of the quote, I objected.

I thought and think I have a pretty good idea of what wags going on with Ms. Spencer. I too was a weird kid with strawberry blond hair in suburban beach city southern California, and I guessed immediately she was not having a real good time. The verifiable facts of her home life and school life are sordid enough; in recent parole hearings she has alleged sexual abuse, the assertion of which is denied because she didn’t bring it up earlier. I’m not inclined to doubt her, if only because people don’t talk about these things unless they think they have to.

Geldof went on to become a crusader against hunger and the organizer of benefits concerts- he is Sir Bob now- and married a music journalist with whom he had three daughters, the middle being Peaches. The woman left him for another musician and died of a heroin overdose.

Peaches had the sort of life you would expect a child of a low-level celebrity, and a moderately good-looking woman, to have. She was a journalist of sorts, in the kind of job that depends more on social status than ability to write or express thoughts. Unfortunately she picked up her mother’s taste for drugs, and she occasionally found herself in bad company. She was the kind of rich person who has everything, and yet nothing.

One young woman had almost nothing, and killed others. The other had almost everything, and killed herself. The two are pitiable in different ways. Peaches Geldof will be quickly forgotten by all but family and friends, since there is always plenty of new material for the tabloids. Brenda Ann Spencer remains in prison, and will be revived in public memory each itme she applies for parole. It is unlikely she will ever receive it.

Pretty much nobody expresses any empathy for Brenda Spencer, however qualified. She wasn’t poor, she wasn’t a minority, she was a girl, and likely enough sexually abused, but in the end I think just too weird and outside what people are willing to give a little bit of consideration to.

But, you know, I still do. I guess that’s another one of the things that makes me a bad person.

1 Comment

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One response to “I’m Not Supposed to Feel Sorry for Brenda Spencer

  1. sandy silvie

    No actually, the thing that makes you a bad person is trying to pass off that you were the only one affected by the Brenda Spencer incident. And in taking satisfaction at the death of Bob Geldorf’s daughter. The incident was never taken or treated as a joke. Not by those of us who watched the special report coverage of it on the news that day or by the Boomtown Rats who were being interviewed at a radio station in Georgia when the reports — including Spencer’s “I dont like Mondays” quote came over the telex. By all reports they were aghast. Shaken by the report of the incident and by the radio station employees treatment of it as just another incident reported over the telex. Why do you way too white for your own good types always have to search to find someone to feel superior too. YOu pompous ass you!

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