Montreal massacre: Let's stop this talk of cowards plus comments Apr 7 Apr 11, 2009


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In 2007 there were 2200 criminal code offenses per 100,000 (does not include traffic) of which approximately 25% were crimes of violence:assaults or homicides.

So if one wants to stand out on a daily basis, there might be an opportunity to be aware and look around. Most of us live in a very safe environment, but if you see things that you know are not right, either make a call and observe or if it is in your realm, help deflect the situation.

Last night a truck was stolen with a 5 month old inside. An amber alert was issued and the truck was spotted by a citizen in our neighbourhood. This kind of citizen involvement should be the norm.

People were looking and made a difference.

As one local theatre director stated as he was recovering after preventing two muggers from killing another person. Next time he hopes the next time the entire street acts rather than just him when they see an event occurring. Unfortunately he was stabbed, but he prevented the other fellow from being killed. However there were many others around him who also could have said or done something.
Posted 08/04/09 at 12:05 PM EDT

Shades of Grey from Whitehorse, Canada writes:

I've taken issue with feminists on more than one occasion. But feminism becomes the straw dog people like Sue can kick around, all the while ignoring the factors like women's inability to vote and the violence against women that created the need for the feminist movement in the first place.

Posted 08/04/09 at 12:11 PM EDT

Shades of Grey from Whitehorse, Canada writes:

People are also approaching the increase of women in the work force as a zero sum game: ie. for every job a woman gets a man loses one. Adding trained, hardworking and motivated people to the workforce will increase productivity, thus growing the pie to the benefit of everyone.

Posted 08/04/09 at 12:31 PM EDT

Sue McPherson, from Oshawa, Canada writes:

Shades of Grey, If names meant something, maybe you would be able to integrate two contradictory ideas into your head. I don't see any sign of that in your last two posts. If you looked at my websites (starting with my first: ) and read some of what I have written, perhaps you could see that I do indeed think like a feminist. Feminism hasn't resulted in the less capable men and women not getting the jobs they deserve/expected. It has resulted in more middle class women taking their places alongside middle class men in the best jobs. A lot of good, hardworking people are getting left out. As far as me "kicking around feminism", as you put it, would you rather I accept feminist dogma and defend it even to the point of irrationality, as so many feminists or pseudo feminists have done, and are still doing. By the way, this is a link to an essay I wrote, Beyond Workaday Worlds, about work and identity :
Sometimes we get stuck in some of these ideas, like are the best people getting hired to do the jobs. Obviously not, and while the money may be what's most important for some people, for others, finding fulfilment without having that great career may be a better idea (and may free up some jobs for those who really need them). See this website too: , for more on the casualization of labour (though not from the same perspective as me). We are in an economic downturn, in case you didn't realize it.

Posted 08/04/09 at 1:50 PM EDT

Chris Edwards from Canada writes:

By the way John Samuel, having read Steyn's article, I've ascertained that beyond being arrogant and delusional, it would seem you're also a sycophant and borderline plagiarist.

I fail to see the logic or direct inference that simply acknowledging an inarguable fact - you don't know what you would do until thrust into that situation - translates to a "fall back position of cowardice."

It's a hell of a lot more honest than, "I'd take a bullet or karate chop him to death", or whatever other testosterone fueled Chuck Norris fantasy you may be harbouring.

Posted 08/04/09 at 2:08 PM EDT

BC Philosopher from Canada writes:

Time to be unpopular. The following is food for thought. The key mistake in how this tragedy is highlighted is that it is highlighted as a crime against women. It is a crime period, were the massacre a group of me it would be no less a tragedy. Contradictory social values and confusing mores and standards somehow see the fact that it was against women as making it worse. Hate crimes are made worse by defining them as such, any act of murder is motivated by hate, be it hatred of women, hatred of christians, hatred of races, it is all hatred. Feminism pretends to seek equality for women, but if it were about equality why the double standard? What double standard you ask? Simply put if you regard it as a higher tragedy because it occured to and about women, then you are placing women apart from men. This very dialectic of language makes it impossible to achieve equal ground. Current gender issues are likely rooted in this contradictory issue. Women deserve to be equal to men, but the cry is that because they are women they deserve this. It simply cannot work that way, the human mind screams in outrage when you try to make it digest such things it is called cognitive disonance. They deserve equality because we are all human. Until we begin to seek equality for human beings, instead of equality for women or races or cultures, then we will forever be divided because we choose to be.

As another asside, rape is generally not about sex it is almost always about power. It is an extreme end of a spectrum of power abusive behaviours such as spousal abuse both emotional and physical as well as general psychological abuse. It is also an abuse that is generally perpetrated by men, on men or women, due the nature of our biology and the invasive nature of the act itself. Men are raped by women but it is rarely reported. It is a horrible horrible act against another human being, and it is not alone in that destinction.

Posted 08/04/09 at 2:49 PM EDT

Neal M. from Langley, Canada writes:

Mark Steyn's comments were too logical for the flowery and unrealistic concepts of some Canadians to the kind of savage cruelty that a female jogger recently confronted alone in Pacific Spirit park or that beheaded and cannibalized Tim Mc Lean. Steyn's comments are a wake up call to those who never think they may confront a Lepine or a Li in their lives and therefore they never ponder what they should do if it happens. Obeying a gunman or a knife wielding thug has its limits. A store clerk may have a reasonable expectation that following orders to empty a cash drawer is a prudent course with a gun barrel pointing between their eyes. But following orders to get in a car may be your last chance to fight and survive. It is also not logical to assume that a heavily armed gunman that has invaded a classroom and is gender dividing his victims is going to show any kind of mercy. It was probably pure self survival instinct and not logical excuses that propelled the male classmates out of harm's way. Steyn's "upsetting" rendition of the L Ecole Polytechnique massacre should make us all think ahead of what we should do if we or anyone else near us is ever confronted by unfettered savagery.
Posted 08/04/09 at 3:16 PM EDT

Zane Lewis from Edmonton, Canada writes:

There was a play in Edmonton last year exploring a male survivor of that massacre. He spiralled down and eventually killded himslf and tragically his parents also ended up killing themselves. It was a very powerful experience of how his life was destroyed because of his self loathing at himself for leaving the classroom.
Posted 08/04/09 at 3:29 PM EDT

BC Philosopher from Canada writes:

We forget what heroes are when we expect everyone to be capable of being one.

Posted 08/04/09 at 3:58 PM EDT

Chris Edwards from Canada writes:

Neal - did you read Steyn's comments? Because I did, and there wasn't shred of logic contained therein.

On logic, saying "It is also not logical to assume that a heavily armed gunman that has invaded a classroom and is gender dividing his victims is going to show any kind of mercy" assumes there would or could BE any "logic" going through your mind at the time.

It would be the ultimate in cognitive dissonance to have such a situation occur, and your mind would utterly rebel.

Indeed, it probably was "pure self survival instinct...that propelled the male classmates out of harm's way." But they should not be censured for this, because survival instinct would likely be all you were capable of.

It isn't Canadian - it's human. If you care to disagree, I'd encourage you to approach any self respecting Jew and ask them why they were such cowards and didn't fight the Germans on their way into the rail cars to the concentration camps.

Good luck with that.

Posted 08/04/09 at 4:17 PM EDT

Chris Edwards from Canada writes:

Steyn's "upsetting" rendition of the L Ecole Polytechnique massacre should make us all think ahead of what we should do if we or anyone else near us is ever confronted by unfettered savagery."

Do you know why soldiers train the way they do from basic throughout their careers? It is because they must react instinctively under fire and follow their leaders' orders unquestioningly.

To accomplish this, they drill over and over, repetition after repetition, and participate in simulations as real as the military can make them.

Some of them still freeze up when under fire for the first time. And this is in a warzone where it is to be expected.

So imagine yourself in a classroom listening to a lecture or half asleep on a bus when all hell breaks loose. Even if you had "thought ahead", you'd be unlikely to be able to take action unless you'd drilled repeatedly for that eventuality, in that circumstance.

And if you'd done THAT - you just might be crazier than your attacker.

Posted 08/04/09 at 4:25 PM EDT

Bob Herron from Canada writes:

What we would do is mostly determined by how we have been socialized in our society. Our reactions are almost automatic. Canada has become a nation of passive, cautious and hopeless citizens taught by that way by our society. If the men in the room had been military or police members the gunman would have been attacked by them. Our civilian population is taught to avoid confrontation, make "deals" with thugs and criminals and, from childhood, taught that all violence is "bad". We blame ourselves when a nutter like Lepin commits murder, accusing our society of violence and hatred. Instead we should accuse ourselves of cowardice and an unwillingness to confront evil. Steyn is right.

Posted 08/04/09 at 5:12 PM EDT

Sue McPherson, from Oshawa, Canada writes:

BC Philosopher: Excerpt, FYI: Although not typical for a mass murderer, Lépine had selected women as his target group, and this factor of women only quickly became the basis of the framework for understanding Lépine’s actions. There was another view offered, however, as Jenn Ruddy and Elizabeth Curry explain: The day after, the late Barbara Frum, one of Canada’s most respected journalists, refused to admit that the massacre was indeed an act of violence toward women. "Why do we diminish it by suggesting that it was an act against just one group?" Frum said Dec. 7, 1989 on CBC’s The Journal (Frum, in Ruddy and Curry, 2004). Also mentioned was Frum’s bewilderment at the connection many women were making between the massacre and society’s apparent tolerance of violence against women. "Where is the permission?" she is said to have asked. Who was leading women to see the events in Montreal that day as being about violence against women? Most violence against women is committed within their relationships, not by strangers. This was something far larger than simply an instance of violence against women, but Frum did not seem able to get her point across. "Surely this is a crime against humanity, not women," Frum is reported as insisting, again and again (Frum, in Lakeman, 2002). Speaking in the moment, would Frum have seen it in terms of either one of the other, or that it was both, a crime against women, and against humanity? Roberta Spark argues that Frum not only specifically denied the public an analysis that reflects women’s experiences of violence, on ‘Prime-Time Journal’ but also refused to even use the word feminism or feminist (Perspectives on the Montreal Massacre: Canada’s Outrage Revisited. p. 24. Sue McPherson 2005. The Montreal Massacre website ).

Posted 08/04/09 at 6:01 PM EDT

Terry Daly from London, United Kingdom writes:

There's really no mystery - or shouldn't be - about the fatal element in all of this. A liberal mindset.
Posted 08/04/09 at 6:18 PM EDT

Shades of Grey from Whitehorse, Canada writes:

Terry Daly, thanks for adding meaningfully to the debate.
Posted 08/04/09 at 6:39 PM EDT

Sue McPherson, from Oshawa, Canada writes:

Shades of Grey from Whitehorse, Canada wrotes: Terry Daly, thanks for adding meaningfully to the debate.
Me: Yes, the view from afar can be useful. I was in england, as it happens, when I came to see the injustice that Mark Lepine must have experienced. It helped to be outside of the Cndn system. People in Canada are for the most part stuck in their views, as well as being at the mercy of the feminist perspective.
Posted 08/04/09 at 7:05 PM EDT

Shades of Grey from Whitehorse, Canada writes:

Sue, for what it's worth (very little, in my opinion) I spent my formative years in England. You've obviously put a lot of thought into developing your position. I can't debate someone who's rationalizing Lepine's actions as a valid response to feminism:

"I am certain Marc Lepine must have suffered terribly at the hands of feminists." "He didn't kill the women because they had vaginas, because of some relationship problem. He killed them because women were taking places at university and in careers that had previously been held for men."

Posted 08/04/09 at 7:42 PM EDT

Sue McPherson, from Oshawa, Canada writes:

Shades, Whereabouts in england? I was born in Bristol, and lived not too far from the white horse there, as it happens. As far as what I wrote in the essay, and your respnse to that, you have taken it out of context. I'm not rationalizing. I'm explaining. What he did was wrong, but he didn't do it because he was a madman. He did it because he believed feminists had ruined his life and that there was no future for him. You'd think feminists would be able to comprehend that, wouldn't you, seeing as they themselves, as women (sexual objects, child and men care-givers) didn't think too much of the lives they were forced to live, because men had prevented them from following their heart's desire. It seems that feminists could complain, but nnot Marc Lepine. Or was it because Marc Lepine killed, and that act of violence of such proportions blinded feminists to the reasons why he did what he did. Tell me, can you, Shades, debate someone who rationalizes feminists' political activism as a valid response to traditional gender roles? Feministss have destroyed lives. Maaybe they haven't shot anyone, but they have destroyed the hopes and dreams, and the contributions some men and women could have made, had they had the chance. How many suicides, besides the two young men of the MM and the parents of one them, have they contributed towards? I have had to deal with feminists and pseudo-feminists, some of which have spoken out here, and I believe I know a little of what Marc Lepine must have had to contend with, trying to talk to such women, and the men who protect them (for whatever reason).

Posted 08/04/09 at 8:28 PM EDT

N Dawg from Canada writes:

Bob Herron from Canada writes: What we would do is mostly determined by how we have been socialized in our society. Our reactions are almost automatic. Canada has become a nation of passive, cautious and hopeless citizens taught by that way by our society. If the men in the room had been military or police members the gunman would have been attacked by them.
Another totally useless comment. They weren't military or police. They were students - not trained killers. Duh.
Posted 08/04/09 at 9:48 PM EDT

John Samuel from St. Paul, United States writes:

Well, I did not in any respect ask for any Chuck Norris- like fantasies to be played out, or super hero behavior, or cowboy like swaggering. What I suggested is that for us to be neighbors to each other, wherever we live, we need to stand in solidarity with each other. Sometimes this means saying "no" to someone who is trying to harm our neighbors, our friends and our families. This behavior might not be violent at all, but it might put us at risk. People need to tell themselves that good is worth it, that our fellow human beings are worth it. Sometimes courage is called for, but this does not mean it is cartoonish or violent or ugly. Much lies between passivity and Chuck Norris: our humanity.

Posted 08/04/09 at 10:04 PM EDT

Chris Edwards from Canada writes:

John's post also included:

"This notion that "who knows what I would do in a similar situation?," already makes it clear that you know you would not act to save your fellow woman or man."

"...the best thing to do is not put your life in the crazed guy's hands BUT TO ACT."

"Canadian passivity in the face of evil is now pathological, and it is seen as a virtue."

Nice attempt at trying to rationalize your point.

Neighbours standing in solidarity is one thing - allowing your neighbour to beat his wife, or for an attack to occur in broad daylight and simply walk by, is not acceptable. I agree.

You fail in not being able to rationalize the diffrence between that and the cognitive dissonance of a crazed gunman with an automatic rifle charging into your classroom.

Finally, your swipe at Canadians was offside - there are plenty of media documented cases of this occuring in the U.S., where violence and gun culture are much more ingrained.

Posted 09/04/09 at 10:41 AM EDT

Chris Edwards from Canada writes:

And Bob Herron - you actually made me laugh out loud. What society exactly do you imagine where everybody would be either police or military?

Would it be a peaceable place like - Afghanistan? Iraq? Somalia?

And are we worse because we are not that for the infinitessimally small chance that we may be physically present at a massacre?
Posted 09/04/09 at 10:46 AM EDT

John Samuel from St. Paul, United States writes:

Actually, I do not think Canadians are more likely to act passively than Americans, what I was responding to is the notion that such passivity is seen as the proper response and praised. I have never been faced with a crazed gunman - most of us have not - so I understand when people say - "Who knows what I would do?" - but what I think is missing is the recognition that this default position is one of selfishness: it is an excuse not to act in advance. There is no real difference between helping a neighbor who is being beaten and trying to figure out how to aid people being held by a crazed gunman, except the extreme risk to oneself. The question is whether you consider it worthwhile to help people who are in need; what is needed from situation to situation will change, and whether we can meet our high ideals under extreme stress is another, but I think we ought to maintain our ideals, knowing they will not always be achieved, rather than throw out our ideals of helping others in need. We are not, after all, always the ones who will be asked to act, sometimes we will be the one in need of help.
Posted 09/04/09 at 11:13 AM EDT

Chris Edwards from Canada writes:

Most responsible law enforcement agencies and self-defence instructors would be the first to tell you that passivity is propably the best chance of survival for ALL by not elevating the situation.

There would have been no time to rationalize or plan. The kind of instinctive reaction training needed for a situation like that is intensive and repetitive with no guarantee it will override the innate survival instinct inherent in human beings. Nobody should be faulted for that.

So I'm puzzled by your point about "acting in advance." It is not any more logical for us to train ourselves for the eventuality of such an event occuring than it is to train ourselves to dodge falling airplane parts.

Yes, it IS worthwhile to help people in need. I've considered it, I can handle myself, and I'd like to think I would do something. But regardless of what you or Steyn think, it is not a cowardly default position but rather simply a fact to say, "I don't know" if I could or would.

Posted 09/04/09 at 2:12 PM EDT

Chris Edwards from Canada writes:

Finally John, I can see that you are trying to soften what you said - some might call it backpedaling.

Whatever the case may be, it doesn't help your argument any to try and soften that by saying, "Actually, I do not think Canadians are more likely to act passively than Americans, what I was responding to is the notion that such passivity is seen as the proper response and praised."

If I take your previous point into consideration and am to infer from this that for Americans such passivity is NOT seen as the proper response, it would render your argument moot.

If you acknowledge, as you must because of evidence, that both Americans and Canadians have shown they are likely to take a passive approach, then it follows logically that whether or not you BELIEVE passivity or aggression is the correct response, you are likely to act passively.

Intinct. It's a powerful thing.
Posted 09/04/09 at 2:20 PM EDT

Terry Daly from London, United Kingdom writes:

Shades of Grey wrote ''Terry Daly, thanks for adding meaningfully to the debate. ''

Ah, don't mention it. By the way, when's the vote on this? Y'know, those democratic thingy choices like ''I agree with the views of (a) Judith Timson (b) Mark Steyn. That's the great thing about a democratic vote. It gets rid of, ahem, shades of grey.

Posted 09/04/09 at 2:40 PM EDT

Don Butler from Ottawa, Canada writes:

Mark Steyn makes a good point particularly about the inactivity of the males on hearing the shots from the classroom they had left on Lepine's orders. Mind you, perhaps we should train all our young people, female as well as male, to take action in extreme circumstances. The situation on the bus strikes me as different in character and the passivity of the other passengers is hard to understand.

Posted 09/04/09 at 2:49 PM EDT

Clear Thinker from Canada writes:

No one knows what they would do in the same situation but I would hope men would show more nerve and spine and not give in to madness. The passengers on United 93 showed spine, Liviu Librescu at Virginia Tech showed spine, the Jewish Shot Putter who saved his room-mates in Munich in 72 showed spine. In Montreal, the men did not. That is fact, excusing them doesn't change it.
Posted 09/04/09 at 2:54 PM EDT

Vesper Lynd from Canada writes:

I think it is sad that the young men are being labelled as cowards by some. They are victims of brutal situation who fortunately didn't pay with their lives. They deserve no censure. I agree that the people of U93 showed spine, but they also knew their future outcome. Would they have done the same thing if it were a hostage taking for money or political reasons like we saw in the 70s and 80s, that ended without violence? I doubt it. The passengers had nothing left to lose.

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