Monthly Archives: November 2009

“Montreal Massacre” – Twenty years later


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)

Advertisements

The War on Freedom


I’ve been stateside for the last week, and after spending hours in various airports listening to “Homeland Security Advisories”, dealing with airport security and watching American newscasts, I’m now more convinced than ever that the Fear Industry is very real.

For reasons that I can only speculate on, there seems to be a concerted global effort to create a culture of fear throughout the developed world.  In countries like Australia and Canada, this industry is more subtle, but in the UK and the USA, there seems to be little or no attempt to hide it. 

As I type this, I’m actually sitting in the airport and listening to the “Security Advisories” being announced.  Has anyone else noticed that since they started doing these threat level announcements 8 years ago, the level has never dropped below “Orange”?  Be vigilant, they say.  Watch for suspicious activity.  Inform the police or Transport Security officers of any perceived threats.  Oh and while you’re at it, why don’t you subject yourself to our overzealous and ineffective security screening process?  You don’t mind do you?  Sure it violates a couple of your rights, but it’s in the name of public safety in the “War on Terror”, so you really shouldn’t complain.

What really disturbs me though is the number of people who truly believe that by carrying 100mL bottles of shampoo, the world, or at least the airport, is a safer place.  They truly believe that by taking off their shoes, they are thwarting the next 9/11. 

“Most people want security in this world, not liberty” ~H.L. Mencken, Minority Report, 1956

Especially here in the United States, the people are constantly inundated with messages of violence and fear and possible terrorist attacks.  All of the major news networks flood their viewers with information.  There’s the news anchor with pictures and videos of some tragic story that they repeat ad nauseum for days on end.  There are the scrolling panels that are impossible to follow and leave the viewer feeling overwhelmed and anxious.  And my personal favourite, has been the gradual shift from reporting facts to intentionally eliciting a specific emotional response in the viewer.  “There was a motor vehicle accident on the highway this afternoon involving multiple vehicles that left one person dead and several others in hospital with minor injuries” has been replaced with “There was a horrific crash on the highway that took the life of an innocent young mother, left several others clinging to life in hospital, and left witnesses traumatized”.

The news writers carefully word the stories to guide the viewer to a precise emotional response, be it fear or grief or worry, etc. Whatever that emotion may be, it will very rarely be positive.  CNN hasn’t been dubbed “Constantly Negative News” for no reason.  This phenomenon is by no means limited to the US – it’s just far more blatant here than in other countries.

As I mentioned earlier, I could speculate endlessly on the reasons for this constant fear factor, but I think that would serve little purpose.  What’s more important, in my opinion, is being aware of what has been, and could be, done while people are in this state.  You see, when people are feeling afraid, or hopeless, or anxious, or overwhelmed, or stressed, they have a tendency to give up rational thought.  They’ll listen to anyone who claims to be able to make those uncomfortable feelings go away, and damn the consequences.

The consequences, however, are huge!  What I see happening on almost a daily basis is a gradual erosion of our rights and freedoms.  Every day we trade a little bit of freedom for the illusion of safety.  I’ll repeat that last bit: the illusion of safety.  All of the endless new laws and security screening procedures simply make us think we’re safer, while doing nothing to actually address the underlying issues. 

What many people fail to grasp, is that we live in a world of duality.  Light and dark, hot and cold, up and down, love and hate, good and evil.  You can’t have one without the other.  All the rules, regulations, laws and security procedures in the world will never, ever change that.  If someone is determined enough, they will always find a way. 

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to make the world a better place.  I’m saying that we need to carefully consider the wisdom of our current path.  Do we really want to live in a world where everyone is presumed guilty?  Do we really want to live in a world where people are punished because of what they might do?  Is legislating safety really making us safer, or just making us feel like we are?

Lastly and most importantly: what’s the point of fighting for freedom, if you’re going to use that freedom to create laws that take it away?