Just after 4 p.m. on December 6, 1989, Marc Lépine arrived at the building housing the École Polytechnique, an engineering school affiliated with the Université de Montréal, armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife.
He entered an engineering class and ordered the nine female students across the room and directed the men to leave. No one moved at first, believing it to be a joke until he fired a shot into the ceiling. Lépine then opened fire on the women, killing six and wounding the three others.
For 20 minutes, Lépine moved throughout the school, shooting and reloading. When one wounded student asked for help, he unsheathed his hunting knife and fatally stabbed her three times. Lépine then committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.
Fourteen women were killed. Continue reading →
My apologies, this was meant to be published yesterday but I was sidelined by a migraine.
An annual remembrance ceremony is held at the Halifax Explosion Memorial Bell Tower on December 6, with a short silence just before 9:05 a.m., the time of the explosion.
The 6th of December has been a day of remembrance here in Halifax since 1917. That was the day the French cargo ship, the SS Mont-Blanc, collided with the Norwegian SS Imo in the Narrows of the Halifax Harbour. The Mont-Blanc was fully loaded with wartime explosives and the collision caused a fire on board ignited her cargo and caused a cataclysmic explosion that devastated the city.
The Halifax Explosion was the largest man-made explosion prior to the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima, with an equivalent force of roughly 2.9 kilotons of TNT.
How this disaster happened is quite the story of circumstance and bad luck, and is definitely worth a Google. It basically boils down to the dangerous cargo laden Mont Blanc being allowed in the harbour due to the threat of nearby German U-boats, and the stubborn Captain of the Imo refusing to give the proper right of way. Continue reading →