After a Sunday shooting that left 26 people dead in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, President Donald Trump’s response followed the script of his previous responses to such incidents: These incidents happen because of the shooter’s “evil” character or “mental illness,” and that they are not related to U.S. gun laws.
Trump, currently on a five-country tour of Asia, was in Japan when news of suspected shooter Devin Patrick Kelly’s deadly rampage broke. Agence France Presse reported that this is all he had to say about it on Monday before pivoting to talking about reshaping U.S. trade agreements with Japan:
Trump called the ‘horrific shooting’ an ‘act of evil,’ ordering flags be flown half-staff at the White House and federal buildings. ‘Our hearts are broken but in dark times – and these are dark times – such as these, Americans do what they do best: we pull together,’ he said. Though he said ‘it’s a little bit soon to go into it’ regarding calls for gun control, the president promised his administration’s ‘full support’ for the investigation.
Trump many not have wanted to talk about gun regulations, that doesn’t mean media in the region and beyond didn’t have thoughts on yet another mass shooting.
China’s Xinhua ran an analysis piece on how “Texas mass shooting shows American gun culture’s tragic results.” The piece drops some hard statistics: “In 2013, 33,169 deaths came from guns in America — compared with 4,000 in all of Europe — with an overall population twice the size of the United States.”
Australia’s ABC news, meanwhile, covered the shooting with an eye on where Trump was at the time of the shooting, in the Japanese capital of Tokyo. “Japan’s strict rules around gun ownership offer a contrast to the Unites States. In 2014, Japan had just six gun deaths, compared to more than 33,000 in America,” read the piece.
Australia famously tightened its guns laws after a 1996 mass shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania, when shooter Martin Bryant killed 35 people. There have been no mass shootings there since.
The [U.K.-based] Independent, meanwhile, incredulously reported that the response to the shooting by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was to encourage people to start bringing guns to church. The piece also noted that “more Americans have died in firearm-related incidents since 1968 than in all wars in US history. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.5 million US citizens have died as a result of guns in the last 49 years.” It added: “Around 1.2 million Americans have been killed in conflicts in US history, NBC reported, citing data from the Department of Veterans Affairs and a database on iCasualties.org.”
The Independent also ran an editorial on the futility of praying as a response to the Texas shooting, calling for a “moratorium on the issue of solving gun-related terrorism with ‘thoughts and prayers.'”