Remembering Why we Hate and Fear Change

Back in ’89, I was in high school. I was pretty much an average teenager. Unhappy with being at school, trying to get through the days like any of those of my ilk.

Behind me in my english class, there was this girl that I was sort of crushing on. We chatted in class and were, at the very least, friends. But on December 7th, she was quiet, not very talkative.

Back then, I wasn’t big on news. Didn’t watch it much, didn’t really care what was going on out there because, well, hell, I was a teenager. I was the center of my universe. Not much else matters out there and if anyone tried to interfere with my life, they were pretty frickin rude to do so.

But I remember this day, because I kept trying to joke around with this girl, but she wasn’t having any of it. Like I said, on this day, she was quiet, not very talkative this day. But, being a stupid, I kept at her until finally she packed up her stuff and left. Before she left, she mentioned something that happened the day before. A massacre in Montreal. 

That night, I went home and actually watched the news, read the papers. I read how Marc Lepine walked into the Ecole Ploytechnique, an engineering school affiliated with the University of Montreal, and began shooting, eventually killing twenty-eight people, focusing on women. In the end, he killed fourteen women, injured ten others. He also injured four men, but he wasn’t after men. He went in there for the express purpose of killing women.

It was tragic. Terrible. The kind of brutal violence one only saw in the States had somehow come north. But even as I began to watch the news more and learn about the events, it never really sunk in the reason for Lepine’s motives.

His suicide note indicated his so-called political motives, as well as blaming feminists for ruining his life. The note also contained the names of nineteen women he wanted to kill specifically.

One part of the note that caught my attention was his anger towards feminists for seeking social change that “Retain the advantages of being women… while trying to grab those of the men.”

It has been twenty-two years since that day when one man’s petty, irrational fear of strong, forward-thinking women compelled him to use a rifle and hunting knife to vent his frustration. December 6th has become a national day of remembrance and action on violence against women. The federal government enacted a long-gun registry because of the events of that day. Changes to tactical responses for shootings, because of what happened, are credited with minimizing casualties at the Dawson College shooting.

But, have we, as a society, really changed?

Sure, more women are entering the work force, getting better jobs, becoming more prominent players in business, media and politics.

But it’s still a man’s world. And, like teenagers, men are stupid.

I read a recent article that talked about the p0rn industry. It’s true women who make a name for themselves make more money and call the shots, but that’s only a fraction of the women in the industry. The rest have to do whatever they are told, regardless of how degrading, humiliating, and painful it is.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve watched porn for the same reasons other do. Fortunately, I’ve only been privy to average porn, and even that, after a while, it gets repetitive and boring. Sadly, I’ve glimpsed the harder stuff. And it is exactly that, hard to watch, hard to take. The titillation vanishes pretty quick when th act looks painful, mean, and brutal.

The harder stuff is what sells though. Men get off on that, watching women getting brutalized, punished, violated. 

In short, men will always want to be the ones in control. The range in the degrees with which they exert their control may differ, but they will never relinquish that control. They will continue to make snide, sexist remarks behind a woman’s back. They will continue ignoring a woman’s talent and education in favour of a man, who may be less experienced. They will continue to enjoy porn that degrades women to little more than three holes. They will continue to abuse, beat and kill women when they try to stand up for themselves. 

I’d like to end this blog, touting the virtues of women and their ongoing fight for equality. I’d ask you, the reader, to remember that terrible day twenty-two years ago, in Montreal, where a cowardly man, who felt he was losing control, killed so many so senselessly. I hope that you’ll remember to look upon a woman as a person and not an object.

I’d like to end this blog like that, but sadly, I have to mention something else.

What if, twenty-two years ago, a man had walked into, say, a mosque and shot twenty Muslims, killing fourteen. Or maybe, he walked into a gay club and began shooting. I wonder if the changes that were made as a result of what happened at Ecole Ploytechnique would have happened? Would there be a nation day of remembrance for Muslim people, or gays?

Somehow, I doubt it.


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