My stories were restrained, diligent and cautious. For years, I remembered one of my sentences with particular pride. Reading it now, it shows everything that was wrong with how I covered the event:
“They stood crying before the coffins of strangers, offering roses and tiger lilies to young women they never knew.”
I turned the dead engineering students into sleeping beauties who received flowers from potential suitors.
In 1989, a man claiming to be “fighting feminism” murdered 14 women and injured 14 other people at the École Polytechnique – an engineering school – in Montreal (I hadn’t heard about this horrible event before today). Journalist Shelley Page has written a moving article apologising for her part in eliding from record the feminist anger in the community’s response.