Gonna get inside you
Gonna get inside your bitter mind
– Pete Townshend Rough Boys.
Montreal is a beautiful city. Canada’s second largest city is known for hosting the 1976 Summer Olympics. The Olympics that made Bruce Jenner Kardashian and Comaneci household names. It just dawned on me that the significance of those games was the fact it was the last time the superpowers would compete in the same Olympics until 88 in Seoul. If you don’t plan on going there anytime soon try watching a few Denys Arcand films. You will get a little bit of a feel for it. A Canadian in Montreal on that day did irreparable harm to his country and beyond. No I am not talking about Pattie Mallette and Jeremy Bieber conceiving Justin. It is actually something much more public than that.
On that rainy afternoon twenty four years ago, Marc Lepine burst into a classroom of Ecole Polytechnique, the engineering school at the University of Montreal brandishing a hunting rifle. He then verbally ejected the men out of the room. Lepine shot the women who remained then went out to the hallway specifically targeting women. Some men were hit in the crossfire. There was no armed police standoff like most American mass murders. This situation just had people in shock. Still this ended the way most lone gunman mass murders end. With the cliche phrase “before turning the gun on himself”.
If you are reading this story for the first time the question will always be why. Some of the facts that I can say was Mr.Lepine was denied entrance to that same engineering college. He changed his name to his mother’s maiden name after his parents split up. His dad physically abused his family. Based on what I read, he seemed like being a classic case of hating his dad so much he became just like him. He felt women should not be pursuing higher education even though that is exactly what his mother did. You can not help but come to the conclusion he hated women and he blamed them taking up slots he deserved. It is so sad to see the external manifestation of that pretzel logic. For a very detailed account of this black day in history you may refer to this excellent compilation.
Perhaps this final act was meant
To clinch a lifetime’s argument
That nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could
For all those born beneath an angry star
Lest we forget how fragile we are
On and on the rain will fall
Like tears from a star like tears from a star
On and on the rain will say
How fragile we are how fragile we are
People are names , friends, relatives, memories and not statistics. In my space allotted to me here in GRP I will give you the names of the 14 people who so sadly lost their lives that day. Lost their lives because a lunatic felt they did not deserve to live because of their gender.
- Geneviève Bergeron, 21, was a second year scholarship student in civil engineering.
- Hélène Colgan, 23, was in her final year of mechanical engineering and planned to take her Master’s degree.
- Nathalie Croteau, 23, was in her final year of mechanical engineering.
- Barbara Daigneault, 22, was in her final year of mechanical engineering and held a teaching assistantship.
- Anne-Marie Edward, 21, was a first year student in chemical engineering.
- Maud Haviernick, 29, was a second year student in engineering materials, a branch of metallurgy, and a graduate in environmental design.
- Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31, was a second year engineering student specializing in engineering materials.
- Maryse Laganière, 25, worked in the budget department of the Polytechnique.
- Maryse Leclair, 23, was a fourth year student in engineering materials.
- Anne-Marie Lemay, 27, was a fourth year student in mechanical engineering.
- Sonia Pelletier, 28, was to graduate the next day in mechanical engineering. She was awarded a degree posthumously.
- Michèle Richard, 21, was a second year student in engineering materials.
- Annie St-Arneault, 23, was a mechanical engineering student.
- Annie Turcotte, 21, was a first year student in engineering materials.
Canadians are seen as laid back , gentle and warm despite their harsh winters. I don’t think there is a nationality on planet Earth that has ever picked a fight with Canada. Marc Lepine was just one abomination of a person. Ironically maybe because people like that exist, the more we should love the people around us with whatever time we have left. People like Marc Lepine can’t win. There are things in life that really make no sense. One moment you are in a classroom paying attention to a lecture then next thing you know somebody shoots two shots into the ceiling and tells all the men to get out of the room. The screams from inside the room have haunted those men since. This is not the movies where John McClane wise cracks the gunman then subdues him and everybody leaves in a limo with Let It Snow playing. Life is precious.
What of December 6, 2013? I can’t believe how many misinterpreted my previous post that I trivialized the death of Paul Walker. If anything I was slamming the pinoy culture for trying to insert themselves into his death. The dual streams of pinoy culture known as KSP and Epal. Making it more about them and less about him. Hours after I released the blog, news was already going around about people superimposing the Tulong Na Tayo Na T-shirt on him. Incidents like this are exactly what I was addressing in the blog. So for all the detractors, aim your fury at them. I am just observing what is there. Life is precious. Celebrate his life, don’t insert yourself in his death.
In preparation for writing this, I asked via SMS a female friend in a technical field if December 6 1989 meant anything to her. Within a minute of her Google search she got goosebumps. The victims in the tragedy were only different than her in time and location. Yet there was this instant connection. The story may be set in Canada but it is a very human story. Hence why I am not a big pinoy pride guy. We all bleed red except the Aquinos and the army of zombies who bleed yellow and are so much better than everybody else. I have gone on record that I believe human life is cheap in the Philippines instead of treasured. Yet I got much bigger resistance when I said I could care less whether Smart Gilas wins or loses. Pinoy values ladies and gentlemen.
The beauty of all your interactions is I get to address things I did not think of or not make clear in the original blog. Of course no amount of detail and careful planning can make up for the ignorance of those that hate you based on what they think is in your blog not what they actually read in your blog. There was the objection that I did not respect the dead. On the contrary I was calling out the people who did not respect his death by making it about them. There was an apparent clarification that he was in the area for the specific charity benefiting Yolanda therefore pinoys should be stressed. 1) he was in Southern California and he was a movie star. That is as rare an occurrence as fish swimming in water. 2) Others were involved in that charity and none of them died. Doing a charity event is not a hazard. 3) he had a charity that helped a lot of other causes other than typhoon Yolanda. 3) He was in a car designed to go fast and that was going fast. Without going into specifics that formula has lead to many unnecessary deaths. My opinion his life and death should be about him and not about you. In your eyes he gave to you, give back to him and remove yourself. Life is precious.
I work my back till it’s racked with pain
The boss can’t even recall my name
I show up late and I’m docked
It never fails
I feel like just a number
Spoke in a great big wheel
Like a tiny blade of grass
In a great big field
To workers I’m just another drone
To Ma Bell I’m just another phone
I’m just another statistic on a sheet
To teachers I’m just another child
To IRS I’m just another file
I’m just another consensus on the street
Gonna cruise out of this city
Head down to the sea
Gonna shout out at the ocean
Hey it’s me
And I feel like a number
Feel like a number
Feel like a stranger
A stranger in this land
I feel like a number
I’m not a number
I’m not a number
Dammit I’m a man
I said I’m a man
Earlier in this blog I listed the young women whose lives ended December 6 , 1989. It is important to people that they are not merely a body count. I thought you should learn about them and their progress and dreams just as it was all taken away from them by an insane person. I can not help but think of the insensitivity of our government heads even with just the number of casualties. Life and death in that region has taken a back seat to Noynoy and Mar trying to give the illusion they are in control.
How arrogant and blase our government was during Yolanda disgusts me. Mar Roxas on CNN talks about the “same bodies” with the same sensitivity as uncollected trash. He saved his empathy for later though. Even to a CNN audience he talks about his precious “President Pnoy”. Like people internationally would know that. Besides isn’t that redundancy? Well never underestimate the power of terms of endearment. Or is that never underestimate the power of a Freudian slip? Imagine if Michelle Obama referred to her husband as Snookums in the site of tornado stricken Oklahoma while on air with CNN. I guess Mar’s sweetness will not be denied.
The more you study the shooting of Dec 6, 1989 the more you know what you don’t know. There will always be the mentally ill who will do harm to people if unchecked. Show your concern and compassion. Please don’t vote for them.
Obviously a few years have passed since the Montreal Massacre happened and for me my closest involvement was seeing it on TV. I have seen a lot happen in my life since December 6 1989. If you count these lone gunman/ two gunman shootings Fort Hood, Washington Navy Yard, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Kawit, Cavite are among the many that have transpired since. One of the reasons this event sinks in more than most, is I have a friend named Brigid who I have known for decades. She is an engineer. Her birthday is December 6.
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