Little Bits of History

Montreal Massacre

Posted in History by patriciahysell on December 6, 2015
Minto Park Memorial of the Montreal Massacre

Minto Park Memorial of the Montreal Massacre*

December 6, 1998: The Montreal Massacre takes place. Gamil Rodrigue Liass Gharbi was born in Montreal in 1964. His father was an Algerian mutual funds salesman and his mother was a nurse from Montreal. They lived in a variety of places while Gamil was young. His father was a domineering man who abused his wife and children. When the boy was 7, his father struck him in the face so hard a mark was still visible a week later. His mother filed for divorce and the couple was legally separated in 1971. The couple’s divorce was finalized in 1976. Gamil changed his name to Marc Lépine when he was 14, citing his hatred of his father who had abandoned the family in 1971. Although no longer under the influence of his father, he apparently had adopted the older man’s contempt for women.

On this day, Lépine was 25 years old and armed with a Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife when he entered the École Polytechnique, an engineering school affiliated with the Université de Montréal. He had purchased the gun on November 21 and claimed he was going to use it to hunt small game. Lépine was familiar with the layout of the school, although he was not a student there. He had visited several times in the weeks before. He entered the building and sat in the office of the registrar without ever speaking, but rummaging through a plastic bag. He then left the office and wandered around the building for a while. At 5.10 PM, he entered a mechanical engineering class on the second floor.

He asked a student who was making a presentation to stop and ordered the men and women to stand on different sides of the room. No one moved. He fired a warning shot into the ceiling. The students separated and about fifty men were ordered to leave the room. Speaking in French, he talked with the women and stated he was “fighting feminism”. One of the students said they were just engineering students but he opened fire, shooting from left to right. He killed six women and injured three more. He wrote the word “shit” twice on the projector and then left the room. Lépine injured three students in the hallway before entering another room where he tried to shoot another female student, but his gun did not fire. He left the room and reloaded the gun.

Lépine attempted to reenter the room but the door was locked. He moved through the hallways and shot at people, killing some and wounding others. He went to the first floor cafeteria where about a hundred people were gathered and shot more people there. He then went up to the third floor and entered another classroom, shooting more students. Maryse Leclair was wounded and when she asked for help, he stabbed her three times and killed her. He took off his cap, wrapped his coat around his rifle, and shot himself in the head twenty minutes after the rampage started. He had killed 14 others and wounded another 14. All the dead were women, four of the injured were men.

Look, we are just women studying engineering, not necessarily feminists ready to march on the streets to shout we are against men, just students intent on leading a normal life. – Nathalie Provost (survived)

You’re women, you’re going to be engineers. You’re all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists. – Marc Lépine

There’s lots of different feminist groups. It’s not as straightforward as just looking like a plumber. – Jo Brand

Courage to be is the key to revelatory power of the feminist revolution. – Mary Daly

Also on this day: Encyclopædia Britannica – In 1768, the first edition of the encyclopedia is released.
Under My Thumb – In 1969, a rock concert ended in murder.
Blood in the Water – In 1956, the Melbourne Olympics became violent.
Boom – In 1917, two ships collided in the Halifax Harbour.
Keep Out – In 1648, Pride’s Purge took place.

* “MintoParkMemorial” by I, Padraic Ryan. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –


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