He appeared with an arsenal in his bag and fury in his eyes. When a gunman invaded the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6, 1989, many students thought it was a pre-Christmas prank.
But Marc Lepine (left) was deadly serious. He ordered all the men out of the room, then systematically began picking off the women who were left.
In the end, he saved one bullet for himself, committing suicide after leaving a bloody trail of 14 women lying dead for no apparent reason.
But a note officials found and soon released provided at least a clue to the mystery.
The rambling multi-page tract included an anti-feminist rant, and it soon became obvious that the deeply disturbed man blamed all of his problems on women.
His final act was to take a bitter and deadly revenge on a roomful of strangers.
The note also indicated that the worst mass killing spree in Canadian history could have been worse – Lepine had originally marked the names of 19 ‘feminists’ gleaned from newspaper and media reports as his preferred targets, but he wasn’t able to get to them.
The spree killing has been marked every year since, as a day to point out the dangers of violence against women.
And now there’s a terrible new addition to sear the terrible event into memory – the Dawson College shooting in the same city last September, which killed 18-year-old Anastasia De Sousa and left 20 others wounded.
The difference: gunman Kimveer Gill appeared to hate both genders equally, and wasn’t aiming at just women. As frequently happens in these kinds of spree killings, he also took his own life.
Lepine’s suicide note
What were the reasons behind the horrendous crime? The killer’s final words, which refer to the storming of the Quebec Assembly in May 1984 by Denis Lortie, are the best clues we’ll ever get.
“Forgive the mistakes, I only had 15 minutes to write this. See also Annex.
“Please note that if I am committing suicide today 89/12/06 it is not for economic reasons (for I have waited until I exhausted all my financial means, even refusing jobs) but for political reasons. For I have decided to send Ad Patres the feminists who have ruined my life.
“It has been seven years that life does not bring me any joy and being totally blase, I have decided to put an end to those viragos.
“I had already tried as a youth to enlist in the [Armed] Forces as an officer cadet, which would have allowed me to enter the arsenal and precede Lortie in a rampage. They refused me because of asociality.
“So I waited until this day to carry out all my projects. In between, I continued my studies in a haphazard way for they never really interested me, knowing in advance my fate. Which did not prevent me from obtaining very good marks despite not handing in my theory assignments and studying little before exams.
“Even though the Mad Killer epithet will be attributed to me by the media, I consider myself a rational and erudite person that only the arrival of the Grim Reaper has forced to undertake extreme acts.
“For why persevere in existing if it is only to please the government? Being rather retrograde by nature (except for science), the feminists always have a talent for enraging me.
“They want to retain the advantages of being women (e.g. cheaper insurance, extended maternity leave preceded by a preventive leave) while trying to grab those of the men.
“Thus, it is self-evident that if the Olympic Games removed the Men/Women distinction, there would be only be women in the graceful events. So the feminists are not fighting to remove that barrier.
“They are so opportunistic that they neglect to profit from the knowledge accumulated by men throughout the ages. They always try to misrepresent them every time they can.
“Thus, the other day, people were honouring the Canadian men and women who fought at the frontlines during the world wars. How does this sit with the fact that women were not authorized to go to the frontline at the time??? Will we hear of Caesar’s female legions and female galley slaves who of course took up 50 per cent of history’s ranks, although they never existed? A real Casus Belli.
“Sorry for this too brief letter. [List of 19 women he wanted to kill] nearly died today. The lack of time (because I started too late) has allowed those radical feminists to survive. Alea Jacta EST.
(The final Latin phrase quotes Julius Caesar and should have read “lacta alea est” – translated as “the die is cast.”)