Remembering École Polytechnique

15 years ago on Dec 6, 1989 14 women were killed and another 13 injured by a gunman in a terrible incident at École Polytechnique in Montreal.

On Dec 7 1989, schools and universities across the country were unusually quiet and muted as word of the tragedy spread.

I remember the day very well. I was in my third year and had been busy studying the previous night so I didn't watch any news that night or the next morning. Got onto campus and noticed everything was strangely quiet. There wasn't the hustle and bustle or the regular chatting you hear on a normal day. And just about every woman I knew (even my friends) gave me a nasty cold stare or looked kind of sad. Still had no idea what had happened but there were a lot of sad, bitter and angry women around and I wasn't about to do or say anything else to set them off.

It wasn't until I made my way to the Physics Common Room later that morning after classes that I learned about the events at École Polytechnique. And then it all became clear. It was a sad time everywhere. Some guys joined in the sadness and remembrances, some stayed clear for their own safety, and others like me weren't quite sure what to do. I wanted to be supportive of my friends, but didn't want to get pounced on just for being a guy. And for several weeks afterwards, it seemed like just about every guy on campus was stepping on eggshells.

Eventually everything got back to normal, but nobody ever forgot what happened that day.