I watched the film Polytechnique as part of a local event reminding us of the Montreal Massacre of 30years ago. The film is a powerful re-enactment of the horrific event at the Université de Montréal’s École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989.
There was an interesting disjunction that evening. Our Member of Parliament, Ted Falk, failed to attend, but did send a written, well written in fact, comment. But in it he referred to the killer, who killed himself when he was done, as a “madman.” During the film the killer called himself “a rational person.” This may surprise, but I think the killer was right. Our MP was wrong. He was not a madman. And that is the real chilling aspect of this case. He was not mad. He was not errant. He was the natural product of more than a century of male dominance. He was the logical conclusion of that dominance.
People who have power rarely give it up gently. In fact, people who have power see any opposition to that power as deeply irrational. It does not make sense, because their power makes perfect sense. They deserve the power. So invariably they believe. That is true of tyrants and it is equally true of ordinary male supremacists. They can’t even see the incongruity. White male power is natural. Many even claim it is endorsed by God. Just goes to show you how irrational men can be.
All too often men who see their power slipping away react badly. Sometimes, as in the case of Marc Lepine, the Montreal mass killer, their resentment explodes into irrational rage. No I don’t think Lepine was a madman. I wish he was. It would be easier to deal with than the truth.
10 thoughts on “Montreal Massacre: Not a Mad man”
This has been an honest and thought provoking series, Meanderer. Keep it up. A topic I find interesting in all of this is REDRESS: When society declares the status quo intolerable and acts to stop it and more, to seek to reset the scales and right past wrongs. Pendulum swing. It’s a real separate-the-bearshit-from-the-buckwheat item.
Male law-makers in particular find the redress issue hard to handle. Too easy to circle the frat wagons under the “meritocracy” flag and brand redress as an over-reaction, etc. A wimp-ass move right out of the Old Bailey.
If we men really do accept wrongs and the privilege we fell into backwards by accident of birth… if we really do love our daughters and our grands and want to show the next gens of boys how to behave… then we have to accept redress “like a man”. No whining or equivocating.
I mean, would we really be done disservice if, for example, Mrs. Falk, became our MP? I don’t think I know her, but no matter… What if ol’ Ted took one for the team and offered the ultimate act of redress and just walked away and went back to his old (divested) business interests, turning his office over to Madam Falk? Let her legislate redress? Hell, it’s not as if he’s a Bomber middle linebacker or a mule skinner or a rocket scientist and even if he was, the Missus might have those skills too. At the very least, It would be worth a try. She might just be the next Princess Leia or Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland! More time for the Tedster to attend Frog Follies, too: win-win!
What does redress mean? Does it mean reparations? In the US this is very controversial now. The African Americans want reparations. It sounds fair. Who should pay? What about Indigenous People in Canada? What about women? In environmental law there is a principle that the polluter pays. That always makes sense.
Reparations might be part of it. I was thinking more of formalized equal opportunity measures put in place in a broad atmosphere of equality. Righting past wrongs and ending their institutionalization. I haven’t read it but I think the U.S. ERA is an example. Even if the redress pendulum swings too far, and it’s “not fair”, so what? “Not fair” was the status quo for women (still is), so we fellas should just be quiet and not fuss about “what about merit, regardless of gender?” and all that. —Cheers from the place where ice is like iron.
mr. new field
how is it that we cannot see how this man got to where he got?
first, abused by his father. watched his mother being abused by his father for his first 6 years. then placed in foster care with multiple families for the next six years. then abused by his sister who ended up a drug user. killed her cat. dug a grave and placed her name on a tombstone over it. changed his name to escape identity. retreated to violent computer games. cold without emotion. enigmatic. marginally obsessive in obedience to his mother.
this is/was a sociopath. how is this rational?
how is it that over and over we are unable to find the logical thread to the obscene ongoing violence against women.
I think that is the point I was trying to make. Lepine was a murderer, but he was not mad. His actions were the direct result of centuries of dominance of men over women. Men, like everyone in power, hate to give up power. It irks them. It seems unfair. After all their dominance to the men seems entirely rational. Then to have abuse piled on them by other men and horrors even a sister, is beyond the pale. That is an outrage. The dominated male then takes out his frustration and lack of esteem on those beneath him–ie.e those he can dominate. Only that way can he get his pride back. Those are often women, or children, or people of another race. It is the logical result of an insane system of dominance. It is a logical conclusion. It is to be expected unless we uproot this system at its fundamental core. And that requires the active participation of men, like you and me.
sorry but you are stuck. the patriarchy is indeed bankrupt, but this kind of mass slaughter does not emerge out of rational choices within the context of male power and dominance; a context that is obviously relevant, but not sufficient.
i have 45 years of clinical experience with vulnerable people. guys like this are all over the place. spend serious time with the child welfare system and you will see the psycho/logic. the damage is overwhelming, sometimes beginning in utero although that does not appear to be the case here. the de facto police state that most of the poor live within and normal “neurotic” repression are the only thing that prevent it occurring much more frequently.
the vast majority of people just cannot see that individuals like this arenot in control of their actions.
he should be sequestered for a very long time and given serious treatment. the latter of course will not happen because everybody is out for avenge this “willful” act. and revenge gets us nowhere.
as for active participation of men to give up their power………dream on. women will have to “take” power, however they can. the radical feminists in the “old” days suggested refusal to have sex, refusal to bear children until this is resolved.
I did not mean his choices were rational. I meant that his actions were to be expected as a natural consequence of centuries or more of a system in which men have dominated women. It is a rational (or likely) conclusion. I don’t know enough about Lepine to say whether he was a psycho or not. The scary thing though is sometimes these are not psychos. Like the guards at Abu Graib or Nazi concentration camps were ordinary people. Ordinary people caught in an insane system. That is the “psycho/logic” to use your phrase, that really interests me. We will always have psychos, but do we always need a pyscho system? I think that is a much more important question.
i believe i stated that the system was relevant but not sufficient.
i still say the issue is rationality or irrationality, irrationality regardless of cause. and i think this guy was mentally ill, as in irrational.
there is nothing about a system analysis of this case that answers the question of why the repression no longer worked and he flipped. i say it was a psychotic break.
all the system analysis in the world does not get us to why he specifically did what he did when he did it.
fascism is a more complicated matter it seems to me.
I do not know why he flipped. I’m not sure you can either without examine him in depth. All the psychological analysis from a distance will not tell us why he did what he did and when he did it either. I just think he was the logical result or inevitable conclusion of an oppressive system. I do not deny that he might be mentally ill as well. Fascism is certainly complicated.
tis a deep divide. most people are on your side.
but i can’t see how his actions are a rational or likely conclusion of the system. if that was the case mass slaughter would be much more frequent and the only place where it is frequent is south of your border. otherwise the normal repression of average civilization prevents it.
this is not domestic violence, however frequent and reprehensible that is. this is psychosis.
the old saw about we don’t know who the guy really is and we are all distant is truistic, obvious, too easy.
just look at his childhood history. all the signs are there. obviously he needs to be examined carefully, but my point about who he probably is cannot be more speculative than your sweeping statements about patriarchy, statements i agree with.
we make judgements for god’s sake. sometimes we agree and sometimes disagree, but to suggest that sociological speculation is more sound than psychological speculation is nonsense.
the only mystery is the trigger. otherwise the cultural set-up was the context for a family history that predisposed or made the individual vulnerable to a breakdown, for the ego to fracture. until that point repression worked.
to compare him to a amerikan soldier in iraq or people living in nazi germany is something of an extreme stretch.
fascism and military action cannot possibly compare to civilian life under “normal” patriarchal circumstances.