In 1989, a man by the name of Marc Lépine walked into the Engineering Department of the Ecole Polytechnique in Montréal, Quebec armed with a gun.Entering a classroom,Lépine demanded that the women stand on one side of the room and the men on the other.Turning his gun on the women and shouting ‘feministes’, he then began to shoot. He killed fourteen women that day, and wounded several other women and men who tried to stop him. In much of the subsequent press and broadcast news coverage, journalists referred to Lépine as a ‘monster’. Responding to this type of characterisation, several feminists challenged media portrayals of him as inhuman and abnormal. As they were quick to point out, news interviews with a number of Lépine’s acquaintances and neighbours revealed that he was widely regarded as a quiet, polite and ordinary man. Commenting on these feminists’ interventions, Brian Massumi suggests:

What was remarkable from their [feminists’] point of view was not that the ordinary could conceal the extraordinary,but that the extraordinary had become theordinary. There is only adifferenceof degree,they argued, between the spectacular deathsof thewomenat theEcolePolytechnique and the less newsworthy deaths and injuries suffered by thousands of women who are mentally and physically abused each year by men.