Newtown School Shooting: The World Reacts

The world's analysts and policymakers joined with Americans in grief and sympathy for the massacre's young victims — and disbelief at why such things keep happening in an otherwise laudable country.

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Carlo Allegri / Reuters

People hold a candlelight vigil in Times Square, for the victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting, in New York City, Dec. 14, 2012.

As the U.S. grapples with one of the worst school shootings in its history, the rest of the world looks on in sympathy, grief and disbelief.

Overseas analysts and policymakers have been quick to blame the usual American suspects for the mass shooting in Newton, Conn. that left 20 children and eight adults dead: the lack of gun control, the stereotypical American culture of violence, a poor understanding of mental welfare and lack of education.

(MORE: Remembering the Victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting)

For commentators such as Marc Pitzke, writing for the German paper, Der Spiegel, gun ownership is seen as “an important, if misguided” part of America’s “outdated national identity.” Pitzke argues that this culture of gun ownership is not on the fringes of society, as in some developed nations, but embraced by “nice, harmless people like [mother of the shooter] Mrs. Lanza, who had a military-grade assault rifle in her closet.” A fear that America’s national identity is eroding has caused some to cling more closely to their weapons — as President Obama once hypothesized, to his peril — despite how “fatally counterproductive” gun ownership has shown itself to be, writes Pitzke.

The current gun laws in Germany require prospective gun-owners to prove necessity, expertise and in some cases undergo a psychological evaluation before permission is granted. Der Spiegel notes that the Newtown tragedy has caused lawmakers in Germany to push for even tighter regulations. The news site also rounds up commentary from across the country, in which the overall consensus is that guns are to blame. The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:

“And the Republicans too, like all Americans, must ask themselves what’s more important: the right to bear arms, or schools and universities that aren’t plagued by the fear of death. A massacre of children at Christmas isn’t part of the American dream.”

In Britain, The Economist’s Lexington blog points out that whether stricter gun laws would have stopped Friday’s killings is “ a separate question from whether it is a good idea to allow private individuals to own guns.” The answer to that second question, the writer decides, is no: gun ownership has effectively been banned in the U.K. following the Dunblane Primary School massacre in 1996, when 16 schoolchildren were murdered. However he offers one caveat: Brits arguably have a “native gun-distrust,” and the issue is ultimately a democratic choice for Americans to make.

(MOREA Tragedy Like Newtown Should Be Politicized)

Commentators in Australia are keen to offer their own lessons from history: following a 1996 massacre at Port Arthur in Tasmania, in which a lone gunman killed 35 people, the country’s gun laws were overhauled. The Canberra Times touches on the possibility for the U.S. to do the same, but notes that the culture of gun ownership is “so well-entrenched” that “a buyback would be out of the question.”

The most bleak reaction comes from China, where on the same day as the Newtown shootings, a 36-year-old man entered a school campus in Chengping and stabbed twenty-two children and one adult, none fatally. American journalist Evan Osnos, who writes for The New Yorker from China, reports that many Chinese are baffled as to why “the government or regular people” in the U.S. do not stand up to demand better gun control. “Even to those who desperately want to be American,” he wrote, “this special brand of American madness lies not in the banal fact that deranged men attack children, but in the shame that the rest of us, all of us, allow our laws to enable it.”

MORE: Shocked Connecticut Town Mourns Their Slain Children

3 comments
lynnparkman@yahoo.com
lynnparkman@yahoo.com

We need to keep this fresh in our minds daily so we don't forget about this and sweep it under the rug after the pain has gone. Gun control. I like the idea that Germany has and there are many ideas, but lets start reacting in the names of the 20 inicient children and 6 adult heroes who laid there lives down trying to protect there kids. Let's start with gun control, a seperate issue from persons with mental problems. Our government said lets take them out of institutions and put them in there own apartments with help from the department of social services to monitor them with proper training and meds. They did this because the cost of being on the outside is cheaper than being instuted. Maybe we need to take a look at this idea as well. GUN CONTROL!!!!! Also our society teaches children with toy guns that it's ok to kill the bad guys in playing scenerios. We need to stop the violent video games and our people who are from the movie industry needs to move away from making violent movies. It's not just one change, but it's a combination of many changes. Let's contact our Legislators, and let them know we have had enough. We can make a change a a group, but it takes a nation of people, not just a village.

abc4all
abc4all

Addressing Impossible Issues in Classrooms Worldwide: A Proposal 

One's brain goes into overtime spinning assessing impossible information confronting everyone and brought home even more so since Sandy Hook (is not one Sandy disaster enough for one country?).

Let's see if the development a proposed program might be pursued that would be for any (if not every) classroom in the world:

PROPOSAL:

Awareness and Preparedness Training4All

Classroom Focus:  A Better Community For All

Given the hard lessons learned based  on the series of massacres which have taken place in recent years in USA and elsewhere, it is proposed that an Awareness Training be created in which a  teacher in any classroom anywhere in the world - perhaps required  curriculum in EVERY classroom everywhere in the world - be created and  implemented. 

Read more.... http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-896234