Saturday, December 07, 2013

The Montreal Massacre and the Con War on Women

In my sadness over the death of Nelson Mandela, and because I'm so tired, I forgot that Friday was the anniversary of a monumental Canadian tragedy.

That on a snowy day in Montreal twenty four years ago, an angry man with a gun stormed through an engineering school and killed fourteen young women. 

Fourteen young women who were killed in Canada’s worst mass shooting were remembered on Friday amid repeated calls for more to be done to eradicate violence against women.

And I feel really bad about that. Because some things simply cannot be forgotten. They mark the history of a country. And how we remember and react to them says a lot about the kind of people we are.  

But the sad truth is the years are taking their toll. The faces of the murdered women remain frozen in time...

But the story of their lives is fading into history. People forget what exactly happened to them on that snowy day in Montreal. 

So Stephen Harper can shed crocodile tears: 

“On Dec. 6, 1989, the lives of 14 innocent and promising young female students were taken in a depraved act of violence at l’Ecole polytechnique de Montreal, simply because they were women,” Harper said. “While we will never fully understand this atrocity, our government is committed to helping ensure that it does not happen again by making our streets and communities safe for women, girls and all Canadians.”

Without mentioning that he killed their most precious legacy the long-gun registry, to pleasure the deranged gun lobby.

Or that violence against women in his ghastly Harperland is out of control.

According to Statistics Canada, the rate of women being admitted to shelters is rising and most are seeking shelter from abuse. The United Nations has called Canada’s scar of missing and murdered aboriginal women a “disturbing phenomenon” in an understated but dangerous admission that aboriginal women can be abducted and killed with little recourse in Canada.

Women are the victims of violent crime more often than men, and that crime is often gendered. “Women were 11 times more likely than men to be a victim of sexual offences, and 3 times more likely to be the victim of criminal harassment,” the report from Statistics Canada reads. “The overall rate of intimate partner violence against women was … almost four times higher than the rate for men.”

Or that because he has opposed women's equality from the moment he came to power, he could never accept the REAL reason those fourteen women were killed.

Not just because they were women, but because their killer thought they were FEMINISTS.

So that first Marc Lepine separated the women from the men. Then he told the men to leave the room.

Then he unleashed his murderous male rage upon them...

And that's what really happened on that snowy day in Montreal, and no Canadian should ever forget it. Or the horror of gun violence.

Never forget or forgive how Stephen Harper destroyed their precious legacy. Or how he wouldn't let a massacre get in the way of his Con war on women.

Never forget why we must defeat him.

Never forget the women who are suffering today from male violence.

Never forget our precious martyrs...

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  1. .. though we have never met, Simon.. there seems nothing about you that is forgetful.. passionate & caring seems more your norm. Surely you have noticed how many Canadians, similar to you.. remember & honor those young women.. and the others that were wounded ? And we use the extraordinary, documentary power of the web, email, technology, art and reason.. to express these ideas and concerns.. and memories.

    Your comments and reflections that I read this morning.. are exceptional..
    I'm sure they resonate out into the land.. and inspire

    Who was it that once said.. 'I can forgive.. but I will never forget'
    .. I hope it was a Canadian .. like you

    1. hi salamander...I am passionate about women's rights and gun violence. But I'm just an ordinary guy with many of the dunderhead flaws that afflict so many of my gender. However, I was lucky to have been raised by some strong feminists who taught me that being male didn't just mean being strong and brave and the best soccer player in the neighbourhood. But also being kind and gentle, and being able to iron your own shirts. ;)
      And because I want that kinder gentler world, I am not prepared to let Stephen Harper get away with claiming he's making Canada safer for women when he isn't, and I want everybody to know exactly what happened that snowy day in Montreal. For as I pointed out in my post I feel that the real story is being lost in the mists of time, and I owe it to those fourteen women to make sure that never happens...

  2. Anonymous11:12 AM

    Although I agree with all you said about this unforgivable and tragic situation, Simon, simple statistics prove that that fucking monster still would have killed those women. Gun registries only record the legal actions of people. The crazies always did and always will have access to weapons. There's no way to stop that realistically.
    It doesn't excuse his actions or lessen the abject horror of that mass execution. It's just the way of it. I owned a number of guns while I was still living in the u.s. and I and my gun owning friends never murdered anybody with them. I did have the acquaintance of some guys who had spent time in prison and none of them had committed acts of terror like this, either. Blaming the sickness of this kind of action on the simple fact of gun ownership is way too simplistic and exceptionally naive. It just isn't that simple. They don't publish the very numerous stories that occur in the u.s. about law abiding people legally licensed to carry firearms saving numerous other people's lives because they were capable and able to do so. We, as a country, do need to look at the primum motor of these increasing acts of violence and then to act on the cause instead of bemoaning the symptom. There's a reason that these things are occurring more frequently, not the least of which is the pseudo-militarization of Canadian thinking. We are trying to mimic the predator/aggressor neighbor to our south more and more. Idiots who never were part of any form of proper weapons or military training are the ones who are screaming the loudest about the rising crime rate in Canada and the so-called need for stiffer minimum sentences and more gun laws and gun registries and making all firearms illegal and yet ignoring the repeated and constant barrage of propaganda imported into this country from the south glorifying uber violence as normal and the objectification of women as strictly eye candy and less than worthy compared to a big, strong ultra-violent militarized guy. (See G20 for more on that meme.) Check out your or your friends' collection of video games before you respond to this observation. Getting any hints from that shit? Or "24"? Or "The Blacklist"? Or "strike Back"?
    Get my point?
    Guns or cars or poison or knives don't kill people, Simon. People kill people. Trite, but true.
    God Bless You for your excellent work.

    1. hi anon...look the object of this post is not to re-open the gun registry debate. I long ago concluded that nobody on either side is ever going to change their minds. Neither do I wish to portray responsible gun owners as potential killers. And you make some very good points about the pseudo militarization of Canadian thinking and the Americanisation of our unique Canadian culture. As I told salamander the purpose of this post is simply to remind people what exactly happened on that terrible day, and that Lepine killed those women because he hated feminists. If he was just a crazy woman killer he could have killed them anywhere. But he chose to kill them because he thought they didn't have the right to attend an engineering school, which remain to this day bastions of masculinity. I want every young girl in this country to believe that they can do ANYTHING they want. And the good news is that women now make up more than 20% of the students at the Polytechnique, so we are making some progress. The other purpose of the post is to also remind people that Stephen Harper is a miserable misogynist, and that his record on women's rights is simply appalling. Unlike him however, I don't claim to own the truth, so I welcome your comment. And I'm pretty sure that though we disagree on the gun registry issue, we share the dream of a kinder gentler more just world, free from Harper and his ilk....

    2. There are numerous "accidents" everyday in the US by law-abiding, registered gun owners. Maybe, just maybe, gun owners need training, licencing and liability insurance - just like driving a car.

  3. Anonymous11:57 AM

    My brother and I donated all of my late mother's belongings to a local community woman's shelter. They were in need and very appreciative. Going through her papers, we noticed that she donated regularly to the shelter, so it seemed a perfect fit.

    We have to do what we can to help our fellow citizens while we endure the malicious insanity of Harperland.

    1. hi anon...good for you. I am absolutely horrified that in this day and age the number of women being forced to seek shelter from abuse is still increasing. And remember those are only reported cases. How many others are suffering in silence? We need to end that silence, we need to do more to educate boys to respect women. And in the meantime any help anyone can give to women's shelters is as you point out most appreciated. Your late mother would have been proud of you...

  4. Then we have the failed cpc misogynist stevie appointed senator dagenais attacking a young woman member of parliament.

    What really goes on in the minds of these cpc assholes?

    1. hi Ron... yes I saw that story. And wouldn't you know it, Dagenais got the appointment because he was one of the few police officers in Canada to support the destruction of the gun registry. What a small world eh? As for what goes on in the mind in the mind of those CPC assholes, I dare not inquire I just want them driven from power before they do any more damage...

  5. Anonymous10:46 PM

    Sorry Simon, much as I generally enjoy your insights you have some factual errors here. What StatsCan and the Global surveys indicate is domestic violence is just about equal in Canada. Look up Dr. Rene Sommers doctoral thesis, same thing. In spousal murders in North America more men kill a spouse than women kill men in direct confrontation. However when a third party is involved more men are killed by their spouses than the other way around. Overall men are far more likely to be victims of violence than women. Children and elders are more likely to be victims of violence committed by women.

    The issue is violence and it serves society poorly to propagate false information rather than deal with violence against all citizens.

    1. hi anon…look you're right, the core issue is violence. We need to educate kids about that in their homes and in their schools. But as I've said before I consider any method of gun control as part of the solution, so I'm afraid we are going to have to agree to disagree about that one...

    2. Anonymous8:09 AM

      Oh I agree about gun control. Don't know why people who have no problem with registering their car seem to have so much difficulty registering an instrument with a primary purpose designed to kill.

  6. I'd forgotten about the anniversary of this. I always find it a bit of a slap in the face, because back then I fell for the bullshit extreme right's excuses regarding this massacre. That if it weren't for the horrible ways "feminazis" were walking all over white men, this tragedy should never have happened. Also, those women should have been at home taking care of their families instead of trying to gain an education to join the workforce.

    I'm ashamed of the reaction I originally had to this tragedy, and I hope that shame never fades.