Europeans On The Virginia Tech Tragedy: It’s Charlton Heston’s Fault
Proving that it’s not just American political pundits who are capable of saying incredibly stupid things in reaction to a tragedy, newspapers all over Europe are blaming America’s gun laws for the murder of 32 innocent people:
With a view to Monday’s deadly shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, European newspapers are blaming the lack of gun control measures in the United States and implying that Charlton Heston is indirectly responsible for the scope of the killings.
Across the continent on Tuesday, European media rubber-neck at Monday’s massacre in the United States. Most seem to agree about one thing: The shooting at Virginia Tech is the result of America’s woeful lack of serious gun control laws. In the strongest editorialized image of the day, German cable news broadcaster NTV flashed an image of the former head of the National Rifle Association, the US gun lobby: In other words, blame rifle-wielding Charlton Heston for the 33 dead.
Papers reserve their sharpest criticism for the 2004 expiration of a 10-year ban on semi-automatic weapons under the then Republican-controlled Congress. Others comment on the pro-gun lobbying activities of Heston’s NRA. Some papers also draw analogies between school shootings and Muslim fundamentalist suicide bombers.
The last time I checked, the man who was pulling the triggers yesterday morning was Cho Seung-Hui, a 23 year old Korean immigrant, not the 82 year-old former star of Planet of the Apes. It was Cho who made the choice to pull the triggers, to chain the doors of the lecture hall so nobody could escape, and to shoot them at point blank range. He, and only he, is ultimately responsible for what happened yesterday. Blaming this tragedy on the gun laws, or even more absurdly on an actor/political activist is, quite simply, absurd.
Of course, this is Europe we’re talking about.