Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Montreal Massacre and a Noisy Minority. Taking a Look Back

The video above is a look back at the horrible day twenty years ago, when Marc Lépine went on a rampage in a Montreal university, killing 14 women and wounding another 13. It is still fresh in many minds, including my own.

My boss at the time had a daughter attending that school, and was having a great deal of difficulty trying to obtain information. Just before leaving Kingston for Montreal, she received a call that her child was OK, but it did not mean that she didn't grieve.

I came across an article that was written at the ten year anniversary of this horrific event. It also tracks the history of the gun registry and includes an interview with Wendy Cukier, then president of the Coalition for Gun Control.

At the time it was believed that Ms Cukier's work was done, but she still lived in fear of "...what a noisy minority can do to change things", so never gave up her diligence. Her fears have now been realized, because a "noisy minority", has done the unthinkable.

I wasn't surprised after reading this that Garry Breitkreuz led the charge by Reform to oppose new gun legislation, but the article also states "so does about half the New Democratic Party caucus." Why did I assume their views would be in favour of women? I guess that's why so many voted to scrap the registry. They never agreed with it in the first place.

Lépine Massacre Ten Years After
Macleans Magazine
December 6, 1999

The nightmares that haunted Heidi Rathjen for such a long time seem to have disappeared.

For years, she snapped awake at night, tormented by remembered sounds of screams, shouts and the popping of an assault rifle. Rathjen was reliving real life: on Dec. 6, 1989, she spent 45 minutes huddled in silent terror in a student lounge at the University of Montreal, while Marc Lépine, a 25-year-old semi-recluse with a hatred of women, roamed the halls, shooting at any female he saw. "Whenever we thought things had quieted down," Rathjen recalled later, "another round of bullets would shatter the silence, smashing our hopes."

By the time Lépine's rampage ended as he turned the gun on himself, he had killed 14 women and wounded another 13 people. Rathjen, then a 22-year-old engineering student at the university's Ecole polytechnique and now an anti-tobacco activist, considers herself "one of the lucky ones: the nightmares are a small thing next to keeping my life." ...

1 comment:

  1. My, how much things have changed. Now, in 2009, proponents of the long gun registry are the loud minority. Yet somehow we're suddenly supposed to bow to them.