1989 Montreal Massacre was an anti-feminist attack, period.
Women of Canada: you know the 1989 Montreal Massacre, the École Polytechnique shooting that killed 14 women and injured 14 others? The tragedy this country memorialized all yesterday as the inspiration for our National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women?
Well, stop being so self-absorbed. That had nothing to do with you, so you can shut it with all the “misogyny” and “gendercide” stuff.
That’s the basic message of Jonathan Kay’s National Post article on the issue, rather uniquely titled, “For the 23rd anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre, Amish lessons in mourning”.
In his article, Kay ponders why the school shooting is remembered as a gesture of anti-feminist violence, viewing such treatment of the massacre as an insensitive politicization of an, in his opinion, apolitical event.
As he wrote in the Post, “I think Barbara Frum had it right when she asked, on CBC’s The Journal: ‘Why do we diminish [the act] by suggesting that it was an act against just one group?’”
Gee, might it have something to do with the perpetrator’s own admittance that he was “fighting feminism”, and the fact that he screamed "I hate feminists" before opening fire? Might it have to do with the suicide note he left behind, which condemned women as responsible for ruining his life?
Here's the event as Kay describes it:
“Twenty-three years ago, on December 6, 1989, Marc Lépine walked into École Polytechnique and shot 28 people, killing 14 of them, and then himself.”
What Kay doesn't bother mentioning is that Lépine did not just kill 14 “people”. He specifically directed the fifty or so men in the classroom to leave, sparing their lives, because he saw worth only in theirs.
It is also a mystery why Kay believes that treating a misogynistic murder rampage as such is somehow “diminishing” of the tragedy. Could it be that violence against women is less important than violence against men, in his (and Barbara Frum’s) eyes?
The third-floor classroom where Marc Lépine began shooting.
Kay continued in his article:
Like other school shooters, [Marc] Lépine presented his motives to the world in a way that he imagined gave them some sort of larger political coherence. But the more obvious explanation is that — like Aurora, Co. movie-theatre shooter James Holmes, and many other mass shooters — Lépine was simply insane.
As with Holmes, the Dark Knight shooter, there likely was no larger social or political message at play — it was just a horrible tragedy that symbolizes nothing more than our inability to prevent bad things from happening to good people. That inability is frustrating and tragic. But it’s been part of the human condition forever, and will continue to be such forevermore.
Translation: please stop thinking about why the Montreal Massacre happened—what it meant for all women, and what it still means for women today.
Please don’t consider trying to change the culture which twisted Lépine’s volatile rage into an anti-feminist weapon, and made it easy for him to utilize that weapon despite a history of mental instability. You will never be able to change anything. Don't try to understand why Lépine targeted women as opposed to men, or Jewish students, or artists. You will never be able to understand.
And most of all, please, please stop talking about feminism. Shit happens, okay? That sums it up well enough...
Well, what does Kay want the people of Canada to think about instead?
In 2006, Charles C. Roberts IV walked into a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Bart Township, Pennsylvania, and did something very similar to what Lépine did in 1989: He lined up 10 girls — aged 6 to 13 — against the wall and opened fire, killing half of them and wounding the rest. Like Lépine, he killed himself before he could be apprehended.
The tight-knit Amish community responded quickly with collective action. They tore down the schoolhouse, and built a new one down the street. The parents and neighbours all grieved in the normal, agonized human way. But there was none of the political, tribal fury against men (or anyone else) that erupted after Polytechnique.
“I pray for the families of the children,” a local artist told the Times reporter. “And I thought about what a struggle it was for them to live out each day in forgiveness.”
Compare those words to our reaction to Polytechnique, which has featured bitter attacks on men, Conservatives, and every Canadian who doesn’t happen to think that a national bureaucratic boondoggle is the best way to honour the legacy of 28 people gunned down by a mentally unstable lunatic.
“We can learn a lot from the men and women who still ride around in horses and buggies,” reads Kay's last sentence on the matter.
So, instead of examining where Lépine adopted his gory hatred of women, Kay wants his readers to examine the Amish.
This attempt to befit Canadian citizens with blinders, to distract them from the important questions pricked by the Montreal Massacre, is what is truly diminishing of the tragedy.
A memorial plaque for the victims at École Polytechnique.
Calling our national day of memorial, inspired by the event, a boondoggle—in other words, wasteful and pointless work—is also what is truly diminishing behaviour.
There's nothing wrong with forgiveness. But since when does forgiveness mean silence?
Misogyny is very much real, and so are its victims. That is why we have national days of remembrance in the first place.
If only people like Kay would let us have them without pissing all over the idea, ironically proving feminism's points in the process.