Marc Lépine entered a classroom at l’École polytechnique on December 6, 1989. Despite Lépine being visibly armed, male students followed his instructions, separating themselves from women and leaving the room after he told them. Not one of them made any effort to confront or stop Lépine. How do they live with themselves? To quote Mark Steyn writing in Maclean’s magazine in 2009:
As I [Steyn] wrote in this space three years ago:
“The defining image of contemporary Canadian maleness is not M Lépine/Gharbi but the professors and the men in that classroom, who, ordered to leave by the lone gunman, meekly did so, and abandoned their female classmates to their fate—an act of abdication that would have been unthinkable in almost any other culture throughout human history. The ‘men’ stood outside in the corridor and, even as they heard the first shots, they did nothing. And, when it was over and Gharbi walked out of the room and past them, they still did nothing. Whatever its other defects, Canadian manhood does not suffer from an excess of testosterone.”
Three more items on the crime:
While l’École polytechnique massacre remains the largest mass shooting in Canadian history, it’s far from the only one. I don’t know if it was the first misogynist mass shooting in the world, but it certainly served as a template for all the insecure toxic males that followed.
Or shooters who preceded him. Howard Unruh perpetrated the first US mass shooting happened on September 6, 1949. His motivations and actions mirror many of the shooters that followed: not “mental illness”, but a sense of entitlement and anger that he didn’t get the same opportunities as others. Personal failings and inadequacies fueled his toxic masculinity.
The crimes, the motivations an the easy access to guns haven’t changed in seventy years. It’s not the shooters who are insane, it’s society for repeatedly doing the same thing – nothing – and expecting different results.