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A moment of silence please

LostClown's picture

Today marks the 19th anniversary of the École Polytechnique Massacre.

The shooter, who claimed that feminism had ruined his life came into a classroom and separated the nine women from the approximately fifty men and ordered the men to leave. Speaking in French, he asked the remaining women whether they knew why they were there, and when one student replied "no", he answered: "I am fighting feminism". One of the students, Nathalie Provost, said, "Look, we are just women studying engineering, not necessarily feminists ready to march on the streets to shout we are against men, just students intent on leading a normal life." Lépine responded that "You're women, you're going to be engineers. You're all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists." He then opened fire on the students from left to right, killing six, and wounding three others, including Provost. Before leaving the room, he wrote the word shit twice on a student project He killed 14 women. Here are their names:

Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student.
Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student.
Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student.
Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique's finance department.
Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student.
Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student.
Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student.
Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student.
Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student.
Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student.
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student.

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Historiann's picture
Submitted by Historiann on

I remember this vividly. This happened my last year in college, as I was preparing for final exams. The women were all about my age.

No other class of people could be lined up and shot like this without mass outrage. I strongly believe that the gendered aspects of these mass shootings--the fact that it's overwhelmingly men who commit them, and the fact that when people are targeted, girls and women are singled out (as in the Pennsylvania Amish school shootings, for example)--are at this point willfully neglected or overlooked in the media and even in scholarly analyses. I guess we don't want to admit that it's somehow natural or inevitable (albeit tragic, as in these cases) that women are subject to eliminationist violence.

LostClown's picture
Submitted by LostClown on

and I remember him in his video Tough Guise talking about how we say it's "kid shooting kids/boys & girls" when it's really "boys shooting kids/boys & girls." (About the latest rounds of school shootings.)

Sadly he's one of the few in the media talking about that fact.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

even though it is almost entirely male violence. Women create very little of the destruction in the world yet we are saddled with equality there.

Iridescence's picture
Submitted by Iridescence on

I remember I was in high school when this happened and how horrified and shocked myself and everyone I spoke to was that something like this could happen in Canada. Actually, I think it did raise awareness of violence against women and certainly did create shock and outrage.

Those victims were such brilliant vibrant women with so much to contribute and Lepine was such a pathetic loser. Hopefully, decent men and women can keep fighting violence and misogyny in memory of those victims. We shouldn't ever forget them...

Submitted by gob on

of these killings is what jumps out at me on reviewing the Wikipedia article. I remember this at the time, too, from my then-husband as well as male fellow students.

It's really quite bizarre. Lepine explicitly announced that he was killing his victims because they were women studying engineering, therefore feminists. Yet feminists who commemorate these events are condemned as "divisive."

What other group of people could be so blatantly targeted and so loudly condemned for protesting?

HeroesGetMade's picture
Submitted by HeroesGetMade on

It never ceases to amaze how on-time the divisive response is when an uncomfortable truth is brought to light, and how if you persist in bringing such things up, you are bitter! Bitter is the new strident.

I remember being on the job as a freshly granulated engineer at the time of the massacre. I'll never forget some of my male counterparts at work trying to minimize the awfulness of the shooting by actually trying to make light of it, saying it wasn't so awful, and was of course random. Then onto the usual discussion of bad apple-ism that goes hand in hand with randomness. This, of course, may be the most unambiguously non-random killing of its kind. Not much doubt that the killer singled out women because he felt threatened by them being on what he considered his turf and outperforming him. Feminism defined and personified, maybe, for the insecure.

One good outcome, though, was a heightened awareness of misogyny and, I think, mandatory gender studies classes in Canadian universities? Of course, mandatory gender studies classes can be good and bad. I know one Canadian who deeply resented having to take that class and considered it tantamount to being falsely accused of hating women. I am perpetually boggled by people who are always outraged by all the wrong things.

HeroesGetMade's picture
Submitted by HeroesGetMade on

I realize that's the motto around here, but I've personally been called strident on more than one occasion, but not shrill .... yet. BTW, why is Boldly Shrill gone from the banner? I loved that, and miss it.

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

To stand up to all the hate "humor" out there, especially right now. They laugh because they find the hate to be true and they try to shut you down with, "Get a sense of humor" which is nothing more than "Don't you dare dissent from The Truth!"

I can't believe that women and girls can be singled-out to be raped, tortured, or slaughtered en masse (e.g., Amish school girl massacre in October 2006; serial killings) and we consider misogyny to be the most trivial issue possible to the point of being a dame joke. Huckabee (rightly) caught flak for saying homophobia wasn't as serious as racism (i.e. gays aren't as human as blacks) because skulls weren't being "cracked" during the fight for gay rights. Here women were massacred for being women and...nothing anywhere on par with the fight against racism, antisemitism, or even homophobia. Why? Because we, as a society, have honestly accepted the impossible belief that it is natural and desirable to kill off the female gender. Seriously.

We shouldn't be surprised considering rape is seen as not just acceptable, but also downright glorious to our culture (No wonder we're so fond of it as a metaphor for destruction and ownership). If women and girls do not even have the most fundamental of human rights--sovereignty over their own being--then they have no rights. If it's acceptable to torture women and girls on the basis of gender (what rape is) then the logical conclusion of such assumptions (women and girls are subhuman and evil, thus, justifying anti-female torture/hate crimes) is that it's acceptable to kill off the entire gender. That's how utterly batshit misogyny is: it honestly has you believe it's "natural" even part of "evolution" to kill off one half of the human species, which would of course make us suicidal as a species.

Since someone upthread mentioned Jackson Katz, I'll add this opening montage of a classic of his that reminds me the world is raising my gender to be absolutely parasitic