What happened in Montreal in 1989 was an act of hate, resentment and fear. It was an act of entitlement. It was the act of a man who felt that he deserved something, that he was entitled by birthright to a privileged education, with all of the socioeconomic benefits that this would entail. It was the act of a man who believed that it was others who were taking this entitlement from him, that it was women and feminists who were blocking his access to what was rightfully, morally, unequivocally his.
What happened in Montreal was male privilege at its worst, or at least at its most blatant.
But it wasn’t unique. On December 6th, we remember what happened in Montreal and the 14 women killed by Marc Lepine. But we also remember that what happened in Montreal did not happen to those 14 women simply because Marc Lepine was a sick man who could not face the challenges of life and needed to lash out against someone. Anyone. It happened to those 14 women because Marc Lepine felt he deserved something that they had, that he was entitled to something that they had gotten unjustly. What happened in Montreal happened because of what we call male privilege. Not exclusively – this does not mean that Marc Lepine was “society’s fault”, that he had no control and bore no responsibility for his actions. But when I hear men expressing sentiments ranging from entitlement, to resentment, to anger, to rage at what they have lost and what has been taken from them by feminists and feminism and women, this is what I’m thinking about.
This is where “lest we forget” matters, to me. Because what happened in Montreal is happening now.