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Polytechnique: the 30th anniversary of a Canadian tragedy

The massacre of 14 women at the École Polytechnique by a gunman who later took his own life, destroyed families and deeply injured a community.
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY

December 6, 1989, was a day of shattered innocence for the city of Montreal. The massacre of 14 women at the École Polytechnique by a gunman who later took his own life, destroyed families and deeply injured a community that was used to peace and safety.

The gunman walked into classrooms, through the halls, into offices, into the cafeteria, killing women along the way. In the first classroom he walked into, he instructed the men and women to separate, then let the men leave. He targeted only the women. His stated mission was to fight feminism. The men, apparently, walked out of the classroom without incident, leaving their classmates to their doom

The women he killed were not activists, but students, and members of the Polytechnique community, who were trying to live their lives, study, and work. Violence against women is not a new problem, and it’s one that is continuously overlooked. When men see women as a threat to their livelihoods, status, and pride, women are taken out. Across North America, women are murdered for no reason other than their being female.

The École Polytechnique massacre was the deadliest school shooting in Canada, with 15 dead, including the gunman, and an additional 14 injured. The names of the murdered women will be read aloud at a memorial service planned for this evening, marking the 30th anniversary of this tragedy.

At 5:10, the time the shooting began, beams of light representing each of the 14 women will shine into the darkness from Mount Royal. Those students killed were: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.

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Libby Emmons
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