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I think, therefore I harm

The Montréal Massacre

Exterior_of_Ecole_Polytechnique_de_MontrealI was nine. I was young and innocent. Nothing could have prepared me for this. It was all over the news, there was no way around it. I was old enough to realize, but too young to understand. There was my mother trying to explain to me what little she was able to figure out of this mess.

On December 6th, 1989, 25-year-old Marc Lépine entered École Polytechnique de Montréal and killed 14 women and injured 10 more, and accidentally injured four men, before taking his own life. In the years following the drama, 14 more people (that we know of) committed suicide because of the consequences of the event on their life. A suicide letter found on his person made it clear he specifically targeted women. The event became known world-wide as the Montréal Massacre, and locally as the Massacre de la Polytechnique.

Born from a French-Canadian mother and an Algerian father, Lépine was raised in a world where women are inferior and where tenderness between a mother and a child is discouraged. He was seven when his parents separated, and soon his father disappeared, leaving the family in poverty.

Marc Lépine hated feminists which, according to him, were not only women seeking to “retain the advantages of being women […] while trying to grab those of the men”, they were any woman occupying a job previously reserved to men. He believed women had been a major obstacle to his success and blamed them for ruining his life.

École Polytechnique is a university specialized toward engineering teaching, though over the years its main activities shifted toward research. It was the perfect place for Lépine to find feminists, young women studying to become engineers. Only about 15% of the students were females in 1989. The little known school instantly became generally known and, ironically, in the early 90s, a lot more women began to enroll. Today, nearly a third of the attendance are women.

The tragedy was largely used by feminist groups and the women movement. A lot was done in the early 90s to ensure that gender equality would be a reality, not just a cute motto printed on a piece of paper.

The police had been blamed for their slow reaction time as the first agent only arrived after Lépine’s suicide. Only months after the tragedy, a procedure was instated. The procedure proved effective as the Dawson College shooting, in 2006, resulted in only one casualty, as police force arrived in minutes.

In 1995, Canada imposed stricter regulations concerning gun control, in the light that the Mini-14 used by Lépine, a military grade weapon, had been legally bought from a hunt articles shop just weeks prior to the event.

However, 25 years after the tragedy, something has not changed. The source of danger remains. Nobody treats the mentally ill people.

in memoriam - names of 14 victims - 6 décembre 1989

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One comment on “The Montréal Massacre

  1. heretherebespiders
    December 17, 2014

    Fourteen women who could have made a huge difference in this world, lost to one ill man. I have heard about this – I didn’t back then, but have since.

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This entry was posted on December 6, 2014 by in Society and tagged , , , .
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