In a few weeks, we shall be gearing up for the 20th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, the mass killing of women students at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal by Marc Lepine. The identity linkages there were made right from the beginning–Lepine was representative of Canadian misogyny, a reasonable enough conclusion given his specific admission that he was killing women to protest “feminism.” Yet how representative of Canadian men was Lepine? Was it at all relevant that he was born Gamil Gharbi, son of an Algerian father who was abusive to his French-Canadian mother? That part of the identity package has long been left untouched.
It’s a matter of basic honesty to look at all factors, and a matter of basic justice not to attribute to the whole the actions of the one. But it would be more honest and more just if that standard were applied to all.