6 December 2008

Remembering tragedies of today and yesteryear: Oshawa and the Montreal Massacre

On this day in 1989, a tragedy occurred in Canada. It has remained controversial, though the voices that question the significance of the Montreal Massacre, as declared by feminists, are often silenced. Feminists have gained the support of many men, and our government leaders, in promoting this event as an act of violence against women. I am writing once again, on this anniversary of the killings at the Polytechnique in Montreal, to draw attention to the fact that there are other perspectives on this tragedy and its significance to both men and women in Canada.

Feminists are still distorting the significance of the killings committed by Marc L├ępine in 1989 at the Polytechnique in Montreal. Susan Martinuk is just one, claiming that rather than due to misogyny, the killings were because of lack of love in Marc Lepine's family life (Lack of Love . . 5 Dec. 2008 ). Feminists since Dec 6, 1989, have persisted in the belief that Lepine was a psychopath, a misogynist, a misfit in society, but Martinuk's explanation is no better. Marc Lepine stated what the problem was, in his suicide letter, only nobody was listening. The problem was that he felt he had a right to a career such as engineering, that had traditionally been held for men (Perspectives . . 2005, p.18).

In Oshawa this evening, a candlelight vigil has been planned to remember the women who died in the Montreal Massacre, and now, also, to honor Leslie Kelly, who died as a result of an knife attack on her family in Oshawa last week, on Nov 29th. She was killed by Gino Petralia, the father of one of the young family members who lived with her family and who she was caring for. It would seem appropriate to remember her death in this way, as the annual commemoration on this date, Dec 6, is to remember the lives of women who have died violently at the hands of men, as well as to remember in general that women often are the victims of male violence. However, in the time that has elapsed since the announcement of Leslie Kelly's place in the commemoration (Lost 2 Angels . . Dec 5), Leslie's husband, Rick, has also died. One of their children also died following the attack.

Leslie and Rick Kelly, and three-year old Nathan, have lost their lives in this tragedy. Remembering them will surely become a part of Oshawa's tradition in years to come, more so, perhaps, because this tragedy has moved beyond anticipated proportions. It is no longer about a woman and her child who have died in such violent circumstances. Her husband, the boy's father, has also died, leaving youngsters not only without a mother but without a father, too.

We speak of rights - of the individual and for groups in society. But the quest for rights, and the clash of rights, can leave some with their lives in devastation, and no easy solution in sight.

Lack of love, not misogyny, led to Montreal massacre
By Susan Martinuk
Calgary Herald
December 05, 2008
http://www2.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/theeditorialpage/story.html?id=d3f11d92-a19c-447d-9345-0806f87cfd2b&p=1     retrieved Apr 10, 2012

'Lost 2 angels this week'
By Brett Clarkson and Chris Doucette (Sun Media)
Toronto Sun
Dec 5, 2008
http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2008/12/05/7640561-sun.html     Retrieved Dec 6, 2008     

Perspectives on the Montreal Massacre: Canada's Outrage Revisited
By Sue McPherson
S A McPherson website
http://montrealmassacre.homestead.com/files/articlesandessays/PrspctvsMntrlMsscrSMcPherson.doc   Retrieved Dec 6, 2008

Book Review: Rights: Sociological Perspectives, Lydia Morris (Ed.) Routledge. 2006. 
Reviewed by Sue McPherson http://samcpherson.homestead.com/files/BookReviews/BkRvwLMorrisRights.doc     Retrieved Dec 6, 2008

Links updated Apr 2012