Sunday, December 6, 2009

Je Me Souviens

Today is the anniversary of the infamous École Polytechnique Massacre.

For those of you who don't know, here are the basics: on December 6, 1989, a gunman named Marc Lépine entered the École Polytechnique in Montreal, an engineering college. He entered a classroom, separated the men from the women, and then shot all nine of the women, killing six. He then began wandering the school, specifically targeting women, before taking his own life. He killed 14 women, wounded 10 others, and also wounded four men.

Before setting out on his mass murder, he had left a suicide note which mentioned that he specifically targeted "feminists" for ruining his life, and included a list of nineteen women he wanted to die because they were feminists.

Today is commemorated as National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. Survivors of the massacre helped pass a gun control law that required the registration of all firearms--and which probably has helped reduce firearm-related violence against women.(Which is something to think about, O ye who criticize TDOR for being an ineffectual "pity party.")

And the response has been a serious consideration of how misogyny pervades our society, right? Or about how violence and especially armed violence is a plague, right? No. It seems lots of folks deny that what has to be one of the most brain-thuddingly obvious acts of violent misogyny in recent history...wasn't misogyny at all, no ma'am. Oh, and the Harper government wants to drop the gun registry. Nice commemoration, assholes.

CaitieCat on Shakesville has a poignant post on the subject today, and I highly recommend (and when was the last time you read a post from me with this sentiment?) the comments thread. The Toronto Star has an article about how the lives of the survivors have changed, and how many of them have fought to prevent further massacres, and for women's rights in general.

Je me souviens. Je ne oublierai jamais. Jamais encore.

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