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Dec 06 2012

An anniversary to remember, with a thumb to Harper’s eye

Today’s the 23rd anniversary of the Montréal Massacre, which has of late been a focus in Canadian politics with Harper having successfully destroyed the long gun registry.

Except, as it turns out, in Quebec. The provincial government kept their copy, with the help of a sympathetic judge, and plans on implementing their own registry, according to Stephane Bergeron in statements made marking the anniversary of the deadly shooting at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique.

Bergeron also mentioned the deadly shooting at Dawson College in 2006, as well as the fatal shooting that disrupted Premier Pauline Marois’ victory speech on Sept. 4.

“Quebec believes in a system of firearms registration, essential to the administration of justice, to police work and to the safety of the population,” he said.

[...]
In a ruling Sept. 9, Superior Court Judge Marc-Andre Blanchard ordered the federal government to transfer the data to the province while safeguarding any relevant equipment or personnel.

He said “uncontested evidence” shows that gun-related suicides and crimes, including homicides, dropped in the years following the creation of the registry.

Police associations and shooting victims have supported the registry but the Conservatives, as well as shooting and hunting clubs, say the database is costly, ineffective and infringes on the rights of legal gun owners.

So, that uncontested evidence is, of course, contested without counterevidence by the Conservatives. Ideology before reality, always.

PZ Myers honors the dead of the Montréal Massacre by pointing out that Marc Lépine was a disturbed antifeminist. People bandy around the term “MRA” as though it is euphemistic for antifeminist, and most of the time it is. It’s important to make this clear though — Lépine was decidedly antifeminist, and this had repercussions to his decision-making process. This was a person so primed against feminism and steeped in the natural misogyny that flows therefrom, that he did the following:

One student, Nathalie Provost, protested: “I’m not feminist, I have never fought against men.” Lépine shot her anyway.

Why? Because she’s a woman. A woman going to a school he’d decided was populated by feminists. Her words were insufficient to stay his hand because, of course, surely a feminist woman would lie — because they’re an evil to be purged.

I cannot disagree with PZ’s assertion that any person frothing about feminism on the internet, frothing about how those evil women just want to castrate all men, frothing about any attempt to achieve some measure of egalitarianism between the sexes and trolling on the internet, is a potential Marc Lépine in the making. When your arguments and a mass murderer’s align so perfectly except for the actual actions, I can’t help but fear what might and probably will happen eventually.

If you feel stung by this, if you feel like we’re calling every antifeminist keyboard warrior a mass-murderer, perhaps you could itemize the ways in which your philosophy and his differ with respect to how harmful to society as a whole it is to allow women autonomy, self-direction and equal rights, and to ferret out all the intrinsic biases that lead to those rights being abrogated. Go ahead, itemize those differences please. I’m waiting.

3 comments

  1. 1
    sambarge

    I have just returned from a candlelight vigil; the 23rd such vigil I have attended. I’ve been to one every year since the shooting and I’m still angry. I’m angry at Lepine, ofcourse, but most of my anger is directed to those who see his actions but fail to acknowledge that Lepine acted in a culture which turns a blind eye to misogyny every day.

    Many of the women who died that day were just my age. I was at university at the same time, in my second year. I can never forget that day, hearing the news, trying to understand it and then realizing that many of my fellow students would never fully understand what happened. They couldn’t because acknowledging the misogyny of our society would have condemned us all. Easier, by far, to blame Lepine and move on.

  2. 2
    Alyssum

    Like sambarge, I was in Univerity when this happened. Only about a quarter of the people in my program were women (and it wasn’t even engineering.) To this day it is still very disturbing and scary to think that the same thing could have happened to me just because there were (and still are) people out there who do not think women should do the same things that men do.

    I am also really disgusted at the lack of media coverage about the Montreal Massacre this year.

    Alyssum

  3. 3
    left0ver1under

    Not to ignore the mass murder, but Harper’s destruction of the gun registry is another huge social, political and financial mistake in the history of the Canadian government, on par with Chretien’s cancellation of the EH101 purchase and Diefenbaker’s cancellation of the AVRO Arrow. All three were acts of knee-jerk stupidity, by Canadian governments allowing themselves to be influenced by foreign governments instead of listening to their own people.

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