Twenty two years ago – almost to the day- seems like yesterday. I remember what I saw and how I felt. I don’t want to forget.
Through the quickly accumulating snow, I had trekked home on the commuter train and buses from downtown Montreal following an exam at CEGEP. As was my custom after an exam, I curled up to watch some tv to decompress. While my mom made dinner, we turned on the Montreal English news. They were broadcasting live from the Ecole Polytechnique – a gunman had entered the school and shot students. It wasn’t clear at the time if the gunman was still inside the school alive. Details were starting to come out about what had happened. Students, predominantly female engineering majors, maybe a year or two older than myself, had been shot and killed. The footage on the television showed the snow falling softly in front of the camera while sirens, police and red emergency lights angrily punctuated the scene. Studying for my exam the following day was put aside as we sat in front of the television wanting to understand what had transpired.
Two decades later, I have not been able understand what would possess a young man, who took issue with women asserting their rights, to shoot and kill 14 young women who were following their dreams. So, instead of trying to get into his head, I am trying to raise two sons to respect others – everyone, no matter if they are girls or boys, ladies or gentlemen. Be polite, be tolerant, be kind. Everyone can share their opinions. You don’t have to agree with them or accept their beliefs as your own by acknowledging others as equals is very important. I tell my sons when they hurt me – physically or emotionally. They need to know how their actions affect others.
Snow is peaceful, soft and not meaning any harm. When it blankets the ground, everything looks pure and clean. On the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, I pray for a pure, clean and safe world for my family, friends and neighbours. A world that is accepting of everyone. I want it to snow on December 6th to remind me what happened 22 years ago and what I want the world to be.
In memory of the fourteen victims of the Montreal Massacre, their family, friends, those who witnessed the tradegy and the emergency response teams.