- 16-year-old Brenda Spencer’s answer as to why she shot up an elementary school in 1979.
Spencer, who is one of only three female school shooters, used a .22 calibre semi-automatic rifle to shoot 11 people. Eight children and a police officer were severely injured, while the principal and a custodian were killed. After the shooting, she locked herself in her house and telephoned a journalist whom interviewed her over the phone. He then passed the call onto police negotiators, who she told “I’ll come out shooting!” After a few hours, Spencer ended up surrendering.
Tried as an adult, Spencer pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. She remains incarcerated.
“As a young child, Dylan made parenting easy. From the time he was a toddler, he had a remarkable attention span and sense of order. He spent hours focused on puzzles and interlocking toys. He loved origami and Legos. By third grade, when he entered a gifted program at school, he had become his father’s most devoted chess partner. He and his brother acted out feats of heroism in our backyard. He played Little League baseball. No matter what he did, he was driven to win—and was very hard on himself when he lost.
His adolescence was less joyful than his childhood. As he grew, he became extremely shy and uncomfortable when he was the center of attention, and would hide or act silly if we tried to take his picture. By junior high, it was evident that he no longer liked school; worse, his passion for learning was gone.
In high school, he held a job and participated as a sound technician in school productions, but his grades were only fair. He hung out with friends, slept late when he could, spent time in his room, talked on the phone, and played video games on a computer he built. In his junior year, he stunned us by hacking into the school’s computer system with a friend (a violation for which he was expelled), but the low point of that year was his arrest. After the arrest, we kept him away from Eric for several weeks, and as time passed he seemed to distance himself from Eric of his own accord. I took this as a good sign.”
-Susan Klebold, O Magazine Essay, “I Will Never Know Why”