[Twenty years ago today, a misogynist shot
“feminists” at École Polytechnique in Montreal, killing
Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department
Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student]
I don’t know what it’s like to be shot.
Knives wielded by surgeons or my own careless hand
have invaded what’s under my skin, and sometimes
pain, shock or curses have ensued. After the triple
hernia surgery and the kidney stones episodes,
and busting my nose a couple of times, I can say
I know about pain; but I can only guess what
being shot does to you. The few times somebody
with a gun paid attention to me, that somebody
was a customs officer or a cop in a peaceful situation.
A slug rips into your body— abrupt as waking in mid-
auto crash; perhaps just as final. If you live for
more than a few seconds, you have time to feel
pain, the violation, and, strangely, the shame.
Shame is illogical; yet, that is a big part of trauma:
the victim has gone from being a normal part of
a normal group to the indignity of victimhood,
become helpless, totally dependent on others.
There were other victims that day besides
those who died: those who killed themselves later,
those who survived, physically injured or not,
and those of us who are ashamed that a human being
could do such a thing to satisfy his own twisted ego.