This year marks the 20th anniversary of the “Montreal Massacre”. On December 6, 1989 Marc Lépine/Gamil Gharbi embarked on a shooting spree at École Polytechnique in Montreal. In twenty minutes, he shot 28 people, killing 14, before turning his gun on himself.
Tragedies of this sort are extremely rare in Canada. Since 1975, when the first recorded shooting took place, there have been only 8 school shootings in this country. The École Polytechnique shooting claimed more lives than all of the other shootings combined.
The real tragedy though, is the way that left-wing fringe groups continue to use the events of that day for their own purposes. While I don’t agree with them, I can understand why the founders of the Coalition for Gun Control reacted as they did in the immediate aftermath of the shooting – the CGC was co-founded by Wendy Cukier and Heidi Rathjen, who was present at École Polytechnique the day of the shooting.
What I can’t understand or condone is how they justify their actions now, twenty years after the fact. Every year, militant feminist groups and gun control advocates brazenly disinter the victims, parading their ghosts before the public in a thinly veiled attempt to manipulate and shame people into supporting their cause.
The shooting at École Polytechnique was unique because the gunman specifically targetted women for the purpose of “fighting feminism”. Much discussion has taken place over the last two decades as to what motivated Marc Lépine/Gamil Gharbi. Some point to his upbringing with a mysoginist father, others say he suffered brain damage due to abuse, but the most commonly trumpeted response is that he was representative of wider societal violence against women.
It is this thinking that has led extremist feminist groups to hijack the anniversary of that day to shamelessly use it for their own ends. Rather than seeking real solutions to violence in our society and the causes of domestic abuse, they instead sully the memory of those who died in order to promote their own brand of misandry.
Approximately 70 women are killed as a result of domestic violence each year. Since 1989, that’s roughly 1400 women who have lost their lives. If these organizations claiming to be for the advancement of women’s rights were truly interested in preventing violence against women, you’d think they would be focussing on the 1400, rather than the 14.
There’s a very simple reason why these groups focus on the 14 though: it’s easier. Concentrating on the 1400 would require them to look for real solutions to complicated and deeply rooted problems in our society. By making a lot of noise and focussing on the gun control legislation that sprang from this tragedy, they can go to bed at night content that they’ve “done something” to prevent violence against women. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t work.
This year, when the Gun Control Lobby and the extremist feminist groups dishonour the victims of École Polytechnique, which they’ve already started, take a moment to remember that the women who lost their lives that day were people, not symbols. See the organizations who debase the memory of these women for what they really are: a group of angry, scared and grieving people who would rather blame men and guns for all of their problems than tackle the real issues.
Rest in Peace
Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968)
Hélène Colgan (born 1966)
Nathalie Croteau (born 1966)
Barbara Daigneault (born 1967)
Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968)
Maud Haviernick (born 1960)
Maryse Laganière (born 1964)
Maryse Leclair (born 1966)
Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967)
Sonia Pelletier (born 1961)
Michèle Richard (born 1968)
Annie St-Arneault (born 1966)
Annie Turcotte (born 1969)
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958)