The World Reacts to Virginia Tech Massacre and Asks Why

The tragedy at Virginia Tech University was front-page news around the globe. ABC News reporters pulled together this summary of reactions and coverage from their bureaus.

Britain: Will This End 'America's Love Affair with Guns'?

The Virginia Tech massacre is getting wall-to-wall coverage on cable news channels and is on the front page of every single newspaper.

Watch a special hourlong edition of "World News With Charles Gibson," and an ABC News Special Report at 10 p.m. EDT

"Massacre on Campus" reads the headline in the Independent, under a photo of a wounded girl being carried by two police officers. Inside there is a map of the campus and a minute-by-minute account of the tragedy as it unfolded.

There is also an article in which a question, which is being posed repeatedly, is asked: "Will this terrible day in Virginia be enough to dent America's love affair with guns?" The answer, most here acknowledge, is probably no … but that doesn't stop it from being asked. Britain adopted some of the toughest gun control regulations after Thomas Hamilton walked into a gym at Dunblane Primary School in Scotland 11 years ago, killing 16 children and their teacher.

So strict is the law that even the U.K. Olympic pistol shooting team must practice abroad.

The Times ran the most contentious editorial, written by its U.S. editor. He argues that U.S. gun culture is perhaps the strongest element to distinguish the United States from other Western democracies, and looks at why the gun culture is so prevalent in the United States. He concludes that Americans themselves don't want to give up the freedom to carry a gun — and yesterday's horrific events will not change that.

"It's so familiar you could write the script yourself. Only the names change — Jonesboro, Columbine, Lancaster County and now Virginia Tech. And the numbers."

"The simple truth is that Americans themselves remain unwilling to take drastic measures to restrict gun availability. This is rooted deep in the American belief in individual freedom and a powerful suspicion of government."

"The sheer scale of the carnage yesterday may after all make the Blacksburg killings truly unique in American history. That will doubtless lead to more self-examination and perhaps calls for new restrictions on firearms. But it won't change America's deep-rooted and sometimes lethal commitment to its own freedoms."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair echoed the concern of world leaders across the globe. "Like everyone," he said, "I am deeply shocked at the loss of innocent lives at the Virginia Tech college. I would like to express on behalf of the British people our profound sadness and to send the American people and of course families of the victims our sympathy and prayers."

Prime Minister Blair refused to be drawn into questioning whether the United States should reconsider its gun laws.

Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying that the queen "was shocked and saddened to hear of the news of the shooting in Virginia." Both the queen and Prince Philip are due to pay a visit to Virginia on May 3-4 as part of their first official trip to America in 16 years. They will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the English settlement at Jamestown.

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