Monday, December 06, 2004


Politicizing tragedies is a lose-lose situation. Kevin Steel at the Shotgun marks the 15th anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre, and points out correctly that those of a particular worldview have seeked to exploit this tragedy to tar all men as violent. The Colby Cosh piece he points us to is probably as definitive an analysis as you'll find.

But, Kevin is doing the same damn thing, and it looks bad on him. No, Marc Lepine is not a typical male, and yes, it was the act of a madman. But the fact still remains that 15 years ago, 14 young women were killed because of (A) their gender, and (B) their career choice. If he deplores the misappropriation of an isolated tragedy to make a political point, wouldn't the proper (and decent) response be to acknowledge the isolated tragedy?

What I find heartbreaking 15 years on is that 15 people died that day, and 99% of the focus is on one of them - the crazed gunman. 1989 wasn't that long ago, but the female component of engineering classes was somewhere in the 10-20% range. Some professors - and fellow students - were decidedly unenthusiatic at having women in their classes. I don't want to overstate it, but it did take a certain amount of bravery for a woman to decide to enroll. Of course, maybe it's impossible to overstate it, because that decision by 14 women led directly to their deaths.

For the first few years after the Massacre (when I myself was at engineering school), every December 6th, the paper published a picture and short bio of each of the 14 women. That seems like a considerably more civilized way to mark such an anniversary than Kevin's contribution - bemoaning kid-glove treatment by the media for Andrea L'Abbe.


At 7:19 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post.



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