Sunday, May 25, 2014

Elliot Roberts - this generation's Marc Lepine

Let us think calmly and carefully about Elliot Roberts. Let us apply the poultice of rationality to the painful shrieking chaos wrought by hot steel just 48 hours ago. 

This is not just another mass murder, now so often an occurrence in the United States. This man made plans. He had a family. A support system. Hours of therapy. He had deeply held hatred and access to guns. 

I was a child in Canada's capital when Marc Lepine held students at gunpoint at Montreal's Polytechnique captive for 45 minutes and killed 14 women. He separated men from women, then killed female engineering students, screaming how he 'hates feminists'. As an adult living in Montreal, every year, we commemorate those women on the December 6th, with our National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. We remind ourselves how often hatred of women and violence towards us manifests in homes and in public every day.

At the time, there was no organized "men's rights' movement' to speak of, though Warren Farrell was already published and ranting about the benefits of incest, but there was no real system in place connecting hate groups.

Over the years, it has developed, particularly online. Groups like PuaHate call Marc Lepine a hero. This is the same group that Elliot Roberts belonged to, the same group who is now calling Roberts a martyr, and they have more in common than just shared fans. yes, fans.

Lepine left an antifeminist manifesto in his suicide note. Like Roberts, he blames women and feminists for ruining his life and for his failure to succeed. They both shot masses of people, targeting women, and then shot themselves.

They each have one more thing in common: clear thinking and planning. These two men were men of rage and passion, but these were not crimes of passion. These crimes were carefully staged, planned out, and executed. Both men hated women from a young age, and as they grew into men, their hatred grew with them. Both men declared in their own statements that they deliberately obtained weapons, learned how to use them, chose targets, set a time, gained access to spaces - Lepine separated men from women while Roberts chose a women-only space - and then opened fire.

Before attributing these acts to randomness, to craziness, to something other than our own way of culturing men to hate and objectify us and see us as less than people, take a deep breath, and look at the fans and cheerleaders of these two murderers. Look at what is being said, online and elsewhere: women should have thrown him a pity fuck, that's what we get for saying no, we deserved it, these men are heroes.

From 1989 to 2014. We have only increased access to guns. We have only increased our willful ignorance of violent, racist hatred. This was not a crazy, lonely, psycho. This was not inevitable or unavoidable.

I leave you with Lepine's own words, "Even if the Mad Killer epithet will be attributed to me by the media, I consider myself a rational erudite that only the arrival of the Grim Reaper has forced to take extreme acts."

Thursday, September 05, 2013

officially a year

It's officially a year since my last post on this blog. In that time I've moved to Vancouver, done the 3-Day Novel once more, launched a few websites and ongoing services and generally felt shitty about most of it.

I guess it's a good sign that I'm writing at all?

There were big plans about moving here and doing amazing things and trying to accomplish I don't know whats, but after 365 days, another anniversary and the crest of my 35th birthday, all I can really know for sure is that I wish I was home.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

On guns and women leaders in Montreal

Last night in Montreal, we as a province elected our first woman premier, Pauline Marois. She is a radical member of the separatist party, the Parti Quebecois. Many of us disagree with her policies and political ideals. Her platform is extreme, racist, and in my view, wildly unsustainable. Nevertheless, she was elected. And during her acceptance speech last night, a man attempted to shoot her using a high-powered automatic rifle inside - INSIDE - a crowded theatre. One person was killed and one more was injured. Ms. Marois is safe and was not injured.

Today while I wonder about the larger political issues we will face as a country now that Quebec has a new leader - Issues such as our long gun registry, our immigration policies, language debates and inter-provincial trade and relations - I constantly come back to last night and the people killed and injured. Pauline Marois is safe for now. But she is only one in a long line of women leaders targeted for gun violence.

Last night's scene was an intersection of the modern and the past coming together. A lone gunman with an unnecessarily huge weapon in a crowded theatre like in Aurora, but with a specific target in mind, as were the FLQ terrorists who kidnapped and killed Pierre Laporte.

In the collision of these events, a topsy-turvy re-creation of our long-standing argument with each other emerges. What is our culture? An argument. We disagree with one another on everything and most of the time, it's our strongest asset. It results in weirdness in our commercial language laws, and it results in eloquent leaders who can express themselves beautifully in debate. It results in extremely ugly conversations led by those same leaders about race, citizenship and nationality.

Up until now, we could generally agree that shooting at a public figure is not us. It's not what we do. And despite our occasional riots over the decades, we have one of the safest cities in one of the safest provinces to live in. Gun violence in Montreal is not unheard of, but it's extremely rare. This year, all of that changed. When protestors were met with tear gas and batons, when police tear gassed a local restaurant, unconnected to protest actions, when smoke bombs were let off in our subways, we changed how we disagree with one another.

Today we have much to digest. Are we people who will accept violence towards our first woman premier? Are we people who accept that one of us went into the Metropolis (one of my favourite theatres) with an assault rifle intent on opening fire?

These questions and how we answer them will do much to determine who we are and who we expect ourselves to be. I can't fully get around all of it on top of an election hangover. But I will offer this:

Congratulations Pauline. You were duly elected after years of Charest nonsense because you promised change. You were smart enough to welcome protest leaders into your party and though I see it as a purely political tactic, my hope is that their economic proposals will inform your tenure as our Premier. Your platform is repugnant to me and I see you as a worthy opponent in days to come. Please lead with dignity and openness to compromise. Good luck.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Things I Want This Year

For various reasons this year, the mermaid is going minimal. That's never helpful with a birthday coming up, because that's when gifts start to materialize out of wherever. So without much adieu, here is a list of things I would much rather have than knickknacks and doodads:

A baby elephant or a rhino (or both! they can play together!)
This is one of the best-run, most successful animal rescue operations in Africa and my heart goes out to these animals who are often orphaned when their parents are shot and mutilated by poachers. Drought also leaves many small elephants homeless and helpless. If you’re going to get me anything this year, please adopt me a baby elephant who needs love from the True North.

Hey wait, there are people in Africa right?
Yes indeed. One of the worst crises to hit Africa - and that’s saying something - has left thousands of people without food, water and shelter. There’s no need for this, we produce and indeed waste enough to feed the entire world comfortably. This is a man-made environmental and social crisis and we all need to pitch in and help out. If you’re reading this before September 16th, the government of Canada will match your donation. That's for any eligible charity. I'm partial to Unicef and Doctors Without Borders. Both organizations are already on the ground and have a strong record of spending wisely.

And people here at home Stella is an amazing organization that provides emergency health and legal advice to sex workers in Montreal. These people, most of them women, are at particular risk for assault and murder, and often due to the nature of their work, cannot access legal recourse or even immediate help from police and emergency responders. They are also at risk for contracting HIV, Hepatitis C and other STIs but do not always have the same access to health care as other Canadians.

Those are the biggies. There are plenty more causes out there that do excellent work and need help, but these three are close to my heart. If you’re of a mind to give me something tangible, please keep it to a consumable. Here are some lovely things missing from my life right now:

Sazerac Rye Whiskey (so I can make these oh yums)
Kraken Rum
Kaboom! Bath Bombs
MOAR cloud storage!

In the next little while, I’ll further discuss the Great Purge that’s about to take place in my black coral castle. In the meanwhile, be generous. Be lovely.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I Fell - Stitches Out Edition

Breaking news: my stitches are out! I've been using staircases, sitting properly in chairs, even bending down to reach the bottom shelves and drawers occasionaly! Yep, it's been pretty real.

For those last few wound voyeurs out there who just can't get enough of my sexay sexay knee opening, here's what it looked like right after the stitches came out,

and here's what it looked like as of about 10 minutes ago when those bandage things came off:

It's been a wild ride folks. All I can say is thanks again to magical Ben who speeded to the rescue and stayed up late in emergency with me. Thanks to the emergency room staff and md. Holla to my peeps @work who said 'whoa!' and 'dude!'

No thanks whatsoever to the city of Montreal. You just cost the province a bunch in emergency room treatments. Fix the friggin sidewalk!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

I Fell - Update

Some of you crazy folks out there have actually asked for more pictures of my mangled knee. I absolutely can't imagine why, but I have more to do with my time than contemplate the motives of wound voyeurs.

So here it is, my knee one week after my fateful tumble on a Notre Dame sidewalk. Stitches come out on Monday (if you're reading this in the future, that's four days from now)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

I Fell

I Fell.

This isn’t a story about getting swindled by some fast-talking con artist, or falling for some guy’s lame line at a bar. It’s not about falling in love, as good a story as that might be. It’s not even about losing grace and tumbling out of heaven.

It’s about me walking home from work last night. I tripped on this thing,

and I fell.

After diving headfirst into asphalt, I started to get up, thinking, oh man, this is embarrassing. But I couldn’t get all the way up, so I scooted back to the grass median, away from the curb. I realized that my knee was bleeding and I wouldn’t be able to get up and keep going.

I put a maxi pad on it to absorb the blood – thanks Always! – and tied up the toggle on my skater shorts to keep pressure on it. It was tying the knot (again, not a love story) that made me realize I couldn’t properly grip anything or move my right arm without tremendous pain. So with my left hand, I called my huny to come and get me. Ben, you’re the best. (It’s like the Bodyguard, except we’re real people!) I waited for him on the ground right here:

Five hours later, 3 different people at the emergency room – the admittig nurse, the orderly and the x-ray tech – had all looked impressed at the huge gash on my knee, flecks of yellow fat and black asphalt and thick red blood and said, ‘good job!’

After irrigating 4 times and using tweezers to clean out the cut, my knee looked like this:

Now I’m getting back up.

Bending my knee to walk properly gives me a sickening feeling of tearing flesh, so getting out to the cab last night made me walk a lot like this guy:

I still couldn’t grip properly with my right hand, or lift my arm, so I ate a late meal when I got home a lot like this lady would:

I slept in my shirt and pj bottoms because moving my arm to change was impossible. A humid day before plus night in and no showering because the dressing would get wet, made me spend a lot of today looking and feeling like this lady:

Which sucked, so I had a bath to at least get a good rinse. Then I tried to get out of the tub on a bad knee, with a bad arm. That made me feel like this:

But once I made it out, I felt much better and even got some more motion in my arm. My dressing got pretty soggy, so I had to change it. Right now, my knee looks like this:

Today, my biggest accomplishment was getting a proper sling for my arm and walking as far as the pharmacy to get it. Being able to do so little – even having emails and blogs typed for me as I dictate - is a huge, frustrating hassle. So I’m spending the rest of today and probably tonight like this guy: