31 years ago at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique, a disgruntled man walked into a mechanical engineering class room. It was the beginning of a rampage that resulted in the murder 14 women. An additional 10 women and 4 men were wounded in what has become known as the Montreal Massacre. Why did the gunman do this? He was fighting feminism. It said so in the suicide note.
At the start of this horrible act of violence, the gunman ordered the women to stand on one side of the room, and told the men to leave. When they stared at him in disbelief, the gunman fired a shot into the air. After he managed to get the women lined up on the one side of the room, the gunman told them: “I am fighting feminism.”
One of the women, Nathalie Provost, attempted to talk sense into the gunman. She argued: “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.”
The gunman was not convinced. “You’re women, you’re going to be engineers. You’re all a bunch of feminists. I hate feminists”, the gunman declared before he shot them. Of the 9 women in that classroom, 6 died and 3 were wounded.
The gunman then moved on to other rooms, presumably looking for women to kill. Students were locking their classroom doors, and the gunman attempted to shoot his way through these locked doors. He wounded 3 people in the corridor and managed to kill a woman through a door while she locked it. Another person was hiding under a desk in the foyer. The gunman attempted to shoot this person twice, but failed to hit them.
Proceeding to the cafeteria, the gunman shot two more people. Then, he entered a storage room and shot two women that were hiding there. For some reason, the gunman ordered another two people to get up from under the table they hid under, and when they complied, he did not shoot them.
Moving up to the third floor, the gunman wounded 3 people in the corridor. Entering another classroom, the gunman started shooting students. He shot one of the people giving a presentation, he shot people in the first rows of desks, and he shot people as they attempted to escape.
Striding back to the front of the classroom, the wounded presenter pleaded for help. The gunman responded by stabbing her to death with his knife. Then, he shot himself. The entire massacre took place in just under 20 minutes.
On December 6th, 1989, the date of the Montreal Massacre, there were few women enrolled in engineering programs. According to the National Science Board, only 8.6% of engineers were women in 1993. By 2015, that number had risen to 14.5%. The gunman had originally hoped to kill 19 specific feminists that annoyed him, but he was unable to get at them. Instead, he chose to kill women who were studying to become engineers. The same women that were taking university seats that the gunman believed should belong to him and other men who were denied entrance to the Polytechnique.
The suicide note said it all.
“Forgive the mistakes, I only had 15 minutes to write this. See also Annex.
“Please note that if I am committing suicide today 89/12/06 it is not for economic reasons (for I have waited until I exhausted all my financial means, even refusing jobs) but for political reasons. For I have decided to send Ad Patres (means: to death) the feminists who have ruined my life.
“It has been seven years that life does not bring me any joy and being totally blase, I have decided to put an end to those viragos. (Viragos is a disparaging word that refers to a domineering and band-tempered woman).
“I had already tried as a youth to enlist in the [Armed] Forces as an officer cadet, which would have allowed me to enter the arsenal and precede Lortie in a rampage. They refused me because of asociality. (In 1984, Denis Lortie attempted to kill Quebec Premier Rene Levesque by storming the Quebec National Assembly with several weapons. He misjudged timings and arrived too early to come in contact with any politicians, but still murdered 3 government employees and wounding 13 others).
“So I waited until this day to carry out all my projects. In between, I continued my studies in a haphazard way for they never really interested me, knowing in advance my fate. Which did not prevent me from obtaining very good marks despite not handing in my theory assignments and studying little before exams.
“Even though the Mad Killer epithet will be attributed to me by the media, I consider myself a rational and erudite person that only the arrival of the Grim Reaper has forced to undertake extreme acts.
“For why persevere in existing if it is only to please the government? Being rather retrograde by nature (except for science), the feminists always have a talent for enraging me.
“They want to retain the advantages of being women (e.g. cheaper insurance, extended maternity leave preceded by a preventive leave) while trying to grab those of the men.
“Thus, it is self-evident that if the Olympic Games removed the Men/Women distinction, there would be only be women in the graceful events. So the feminists are not fighting to remove that barrier.
“They are so opportunistic that they neglect to profit from the knowledge accumulated by men throughout the ages. They always try to misrepresent them every time they can.
“Thus, the other day, people were honouring the Canadian men and women who fought at the frontlines during the world wars. How does this sit with the fact that women were not authorized to go to the frontline at the time??? Will we hear of Caesar’s female legions and female galley slaves who of course took up 50 per cent of history’s ranks, although they never existed? A real Casus Belli. (meaning: an act or situation that justifies war).
“Sorry for this too brief letter. [List of 19 women he wanted to kill] nearly died today. The lack of time (because I started too late) has allowed those radical feminists to survive. Alea Jacta EST.
(The final Latin phrase quotes Julius Caesar and should have read “lacta alea est” – translated as “the die is cast.”)Suicide note left at the scene of the Montreal Massacre
Clearly, the gunman had been angry at women for an extended period at time. Until this past year when a Nova Scotia dentist killed 23 people and wounded 3 others, the Montreal Massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history. Just like the Montreal Massacre, the Nova Scotia incident was associated with a violent hatred of women.
Over the last 10 years, there have been several mass murders committed by men who who have expressed anger at women. Many of the men have been associated with the Incel (involuntary celibate) online subculture, which is a group of men that blame women for their problems. Many Violent incels have claimed the Montreal Massacre as inspiration for their actions. That is horrifying and a major reason why feminist ideas remain relevant. Feminists do not hate men. Feminists merely demand that women may have the same opportunities that men have always enjoyed. It would be great if men stopped killing women for wanting civil rights.
These are the names of the murdered students:
Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department
Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student