Do any of you remember Laurie Dann, the spree killer from the University of Wisconsin-Madison?
An unusual case in that she was female, Jewish, and from a prominent family. She was also seriously mentally ill. Dann shot up a classroom of children, killing one kid and wounding several others.
At the UW dorm, she would ride the elevators up and down for hours and she would watch static on tv.
And yet, due to her status of being a vagina, she's never mentioned by the media, the press or even late night comics.
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'Status of being a vagina'? Why, however did she pick up a gun?
Rotting meat in cushions? What a freak.
R3, WTF are you talking about, this happened many years ago, it wouldn't be mentioned now.
Yes, it certainly WAS in the media when it happened. I remember her weird face on the cover of the local NYC newspapers as well as on the national news.
Why would any comedian joke about this horrific incident anyway?
This situation, with the killer being protected by her parents, while clearly being batshit crazy, is very similar to Dr. Amy 'Boom Boom' Bishop!
I was a sophomore at UW-Madison when this happened. Although I remember it was a huge story at the time, these kind of events didn't get the wall-to-wall coverage they do now.
Laurie Dann lived in one of the off-campus, private dorms with mostly students from the East Coast. At the time, the University was becoming highly popular for East Coast students who couldn't get into the University of Michigan.
I think what made it so interesting is that in any large college town/city with a transient population there are well-known odd & eccentric people. Knowing that someone who was known for riding up/down the elevators all day could commit such a horrible crime was a wake up call to many students that we lived mostly among strangers from many different backgrounds.
R9, back in the 1980s, what was the student culture like at U Wisconsin? Was it a friendly or super competitive campus? Did the girls shun her? The woman was 30 and living in the dorm.
The Lizzie Borden syndrome -- a woman did this?
People have know about women who were serial killers for hundred of years. Mass murderers? Not so much. Now it is becoming an equal-opportunity career path.
I hold her crazy parents, the Wassermans, at least halfway to blame for this tragedy.
I wonder if Laurie had any siblings and if they're crazy too.
I grew up in the NY/NJ area & transferred to UW-Madison in the Fall of '87 at a time when the University was transitioning. It was no longer making the "Top Party School" lists and was becoming more respected and popular on the East Coast. When I graduated high school in '86 a handful of students applied to Madison (most wanted to attend Michigan). Two years later, hundreds of students from my high school applied. Part of the reason for this was that the U of Michigan had became so competitive and most couldn't get in.
As a Big Ten school, the football team wasn't great and only started to become the winning team they are now after Barry Alvarez become the coach in 1990. The success of the football team gave the University greater national exposure and it no longer seemed odd to go to school in Wisconsin when you were from the East Coast.
Madison can best be compared to Austin, Texas - a liberal City within a much more conservative state. The campus is beautiful and Madison is surrounded by lakes. Unlike other large university towns where the school runs everything, Madison is the state capital so it was an interesting intersection of education and politics.
The campus was as political as you would expect a large, liberal campus to be with protests and rallies for everything. The school is huge so there is something for everybody and I remember it being a friendly place. I wasn't out in college but I know they had a gay student organization at that time.
With regard to Laurie Dann, I'm not sure she was well-known around the campus as she was in the private dorm where she lived. The building was popular with the large influx of Jewish, East Coasters (I'm both) but on a campus that big I believe it is easy to blend in unless you're behavior is so extreme.
I can't say enough great things about both the University and City - I have only the fondest memories.
"And yet, due to her status of being a vagina, she's never mentioned by the media, the press or even late night comics."
Stop lying. If anything, female killers get a disproportionatley large percent of media attention - look at Casey Anthony or Jodi Arias.
"People have know about women who were serial killers for hundred of years. Mass murderers? Not so much. Now it is becoming an equal-opportunity career path."
ROFLMAO. Like 1% of mass murderers are female. That's hardly equal opportunity.
Nice, r13. But you make it sound as if Wisconsin was not a great school before the late 80s. It has been one of the great American universities since long before then and has a long history of political commitment with its heyday of activism being long before the 80s.
[quote]Those who knew Dann described her as shy and withdrawn but attractive.
Why did she have a different last name than her parents?
She kept her married name after the divorce.
I remember this story very well. I was in 5th grade at the time and I was frightened that some nut with a gun was going to come to my school. My teacher talked about it in class because we were all scared.
One of my professors at Northwestern had her as a student in a class and said that she had seemed odd, haunted, not quite there--retrospectively, there were clearly signs.
Ironically, the teacher was Lilla Heston, sister of NRA President and advocate, Charlton. Lilla was universes away from her brother's politics (and a much better actor).
R19 I swear, when I first read your post I thought it said "some nun with a gun"!
This story sounds very familiar, especially the rotting meat part. Didn't Valerie Bertinelli do a TV movie version of the events? Seems like I remember the mom was played by the actress who portrayed Anne Frank in that terrible film. Millie Perkins?
Saw it by accident many years ago.
Yes, Valerie Bertinelli played Dann in a tv movie. As I recall, she was very unconvincing as the disturbed Laurie Dann.
I read a good book about this case a long time ago. Dann had been exhibiting bizarre behavior for quite some time. People generally ignored it. She was a time bomb waiting to explode, but nobody did anything about it. Her murder of an innocent child might have been prevented if she had been involuntarily committed. But since she was deemed "not a threat" to herself or others, she was allowed to walk free.
That's what usually happens. There are so many dangerously mentally ill people walking around that it would be impossible to lock them all up just because they act crazy and irrational. Until they actually DO something (like kill or maim somebody) they're pretty much left on their own.
As soon as I read "Winetka" I remembered the whole thing.
Great info, R13 and R20. Despite the pathology, this is why I love DataLounge.
how can you say the tv movie w/Valerie Bertinelli was bad? I remember being totally captivated by the whole sordid mess.
Hoarding rotten meat
poisoned juice boxes
HOT husband (how did she hide the crazy long enough to fool that poor guy into marrying her)
What was wrong with her? Schizophrenia?
"how can you say the tv movie w/Valerie Bertinelli was bad? I remember being totally captivated by the whole sordid mess."
I thought Bertinelli's performance was inadequate. I didn't think the movie as a whole was bad. It was pretty unpleasant to watch, though.
I doubt Laurie Dann's husband was as "hot" as the actor who played him. Dann herself was plain and odd-looking. Her face always had the look of someone who had obvious mental issues.
r3 is an idiot, apparently due to his status of being a penis.
I remember this well because my aunt and uncle lived in Winnetka at the time.
Quite a bit later on, several years later, wasn't there some kind of connection found between this woman and the Tylenol murders that plagued that area in the 80s? Does anyone else recall this or am I mixing up my serial killers here?
You got it R3.
Dann was investigated and cleared regarding the Tylenol murders. It sounds like her though.
Is this the woman who gave "I hate Mondays" as the reason for the shootings?
No r32, that was Brenda Spencer in my neighborhood in SD. The 30 year anniversary of that was last week and some of my friends were students at that school. One of them had a picture of him and one of the teachers that was shot helping the little kids. It was always weird to hear that song on 91x when you were with a certain crowd.
The part I remember about Dann was that she would crouch in a closet filled with bird seed.
What's also weird about Laurie Dann is that she was promiscuous, old compared to the college kids, and had bad hygiene.
R32, no, that girl was in San Diego and she took out a playground full of kids from her bedroom window.
Only in America, folks!