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In 1989, A Man Murdered 14 Women At A Canadian School. Here's The Word He Yelled At Them First.

That tragic day wasn't random. It was about something much bigger.

In 1989, A Man Murdered 14 Women At A Canadian School. Here's The Word He Yelled At Them First.

On Dec. 6, 1989, a man grabbed his rifle and walked into a Montreal university. He applied to the school twice but was denied for lacking the required courses. He blamed affirmative action and feminists for wanting "male" jobs like engineering.


He premeditatively targeted an engineering class. In a cowardly move, he used his gun to order the male students to leave and the women to stay.

It was very rare for women to major in engineering in 1989. They had bright futures and were leading the way for women in science. The killer objectified them as "feminists who were ruining his life."

He screamed "I hate feminists" ... then shot all the women in the classroom. He continued his rampage through the school. The Montreal Massacre isn't just some random act of violence — it's a symptom of a larger societal acceptance of violence against women. The 14 murdered women were victims of a hate crime.

The "White Ribbon Campaign" is a movement formed by men in Canada in response to the Montreal Massacre. The focus of the campaign is to encourage boys and men to speak up against male violence towards women. There are now over 55 countries involved in the campaign, which peaks annually between Nov. 25 and Dec. 10.

Dec. 6 is Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The YWCA's original "Rose Campaign" was initially launched to commemorate the 14 murdered women. Now, the campaign also works year-round to raise awareness of and prevent violence against women.

The killer didn't deter women or men from being feminists. In fact, prominent Canadian feminists such as Laurie Petrou and Naomi Klein cite the misogynist massacre as the reason they got involved in the women's rights movement.

It might seem trivial to praise Beyoncé or Emma Watson or Taylor Swift for proclaiming to be feminists, but given how scary it can be for a feminist — the creator of the video blog "Feminist Frequency" had to cancel a speaking engagement after she was threatened with a "Montreal-style" massacre — it's a very big deal indeed.

Would we rather have people become feminists because we stood by and let this mindset result in the deaths of women and men, or would you rather Beyoncé say she's a feminist and have the modern feminist movement — which consists of people of all genders working together for gender equality — work toward solving this problem and preventing mass shootings?

A dramatic depiction of the Montreal Massacre in a clip from the film "Polytechnique" highlights why we must always remember the victims and continue to raise awareness of and prevent violence against women.

Warning: no graphic images, but the content is disturbing.

Now École Polytechnique — the school where the massacre took place — holds science camps for girls from disadvantaged communities through a nonprofit program called "Week of the White Rose." Currently, 18% of engineers in Canada are female. The sciences need to be more accepting of women in their field so young girls see science as an option for their future. Here's the inspiring story:

Everybody has the right to live free of violence and fear.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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We know that mammals feed their young with milk from their own bodies, and we know that whales are mammals. But the logistics of how some whales make breastfeeding happen has been a bit of a mystery for scientists. Such has been the case with sperm whales.

Sperm whales are uniquely shaped, with humongous, block-shaped heads that house the largest brains in the animal world. Like other cetaceans, sperm whale babies rely on their mother's milk for sustenance in their first year or two. And also like other cetaceans, a sperm whale mama's nipple is inverted—it doesn't stick out from her body like many mammals, but rather is hidden inside a mammary slit.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less