As Americans mourn the 12 moviegoers killed in Friday's massacre during a Colorado screening of the new Batman film, writers around the world are weighing in on the tragedy. Here, a sampling of views from editors and columnists in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere:
The gun lobby has the U.S. in its clutches: Each new massacre in the U.S. prompts calls for stricter gun controls, says Bernd Pickert at Germany's Die Tageszeitung, via Worldmeets.us. Every time, the National Rifle Association and other "weapon fetishists" accuse their opponents of trying to "capitalize on the blood of unfortunate victims. That is bigoted and cynical, but politically — it works." Guns don't kill, people do, but as long as politicians remain afraid to "mess with the NRA," the ready availability of firepower will continue to turn "people into killers they otherwise would not have become."
Mass killers strike like clockwork in the U.S., says Adrian Hilton in Britain's Daily Mail. Nevertheless, politicians and the public accept gun deaths — tens of thousands of them every year — with scarcely a murmur because their Constitution says Americans have the right to bear arms. The thing is, that "was written in an age of pistols at dawn." If it still applies when a lone, deranged gunman could mow down 70 people in an instant, "you might as well license people to carry anti-tank missiles and mortar shells."
This is a reminder that life is precious: It's fair to say that America's lax gun laws helped give the shooter "maximum firepower," says The China Post in an editorial. It's also a reasonable assumption that he was influenced by the violence in Hollywood movies when he chose the scene of his attack. But "evil exists," and there's no easy way to explain it, or prevent it. So instead of focusing on the gun debate, let's "remember the examples of courage and love" left behind by the heroes who died protecting loved ones, and others who never made it out of that theater. As one victim, Jessica Ghawi, 24, said after surviving an earlier shooting in Canada: "Every second of every day is a gift."
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The U.S. should fix its own problems before lecturing the world: America is supposed to be the country "best equipped to realize Great Dreams," says the Khaleej Times in an editorial. So why are mass killings like the one in Aurora so commonplace there? Thirty-two people were killed at Virginia Tech; the Columbine massacre in 1999 took place just 15 miles from Aurora. Despite the "scale of the human carnage," Americans respond every time with predictable and unproductive infighting that does nothing to reduce the more than 32,000 gun deaths the U.S. suffers every year. "You probably cannot blame the rest of the world to now say that Big Brother is better off watching over its own brood."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- 10 things you need to know today: September 22, 2014
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- How U2 became the new Nickelback
- Why does Fareed Zakaria still have a job?
- Save the world... by changing how you pee
Subscribe to the Week