The World Reacts to Virginia Tech Massacre and Asks Why

ZDF TV anchorwoman, Hannelore Fischer, said on lunchtime news, "Almost 24 hours after the tragedy happened, people still can't believe what happened and why it happened." ZDF coverage continued with live coverage from Blacksburg, Va.

It did not take long for Fischer to raise the question of gun control and whether the United States might consider tightening it. "Every year some 30,000 people are killed in the U.S. in incidents involving fire arms that are readily available. Should this not be a good enough reason for the U.S. to consider tightening the law and reconsider gun ownership rules and regulations?"

Newspapers, such as Die Welt and Sueddeutsche Zeitung didn't shy away from asking, "Why does America still have guns? Why is it so easy to have a gun in America?"

"Shocking -- Bloodbath at US University -- Man Runs Amok, 32 Fatalities" read the banner headline on today's front page of the German tabloid Bild Zeitung.

"It's shocking: Attacker shoots at least 32 people and injures 56, he shot at everything that moved before he killed himself." The paper also showed a picture of a professor, who apparently was killed while he threw himself in front of the attacker trying to save his students' lives. "He's the Blacksburg Hero, Professor Saved His Students' Lives," the caption reads.

The terrible events in Blacksburg, Va., had a special impact on students and teachers at Darmstadt Technical University in Darmstadt, a sister university of Va. Tech.

Jochen Buchmann, Darmstadt University Vice President, immediately sent an e-mail expressing his condolences to the families of those affected, "I cannot find words for what was happening and I want to offer any assistance of TU Darmstadt. If you need any help, please let us know. We share your mourning and we are with you in this very hard time. Please be assured about our sympathies."

Another professor at Darmstadt University, Manfred Hampe, who has been lecturing in Blacksburg, told, "I've been to Blacksburg often, it always felt peaceful, it's been such a peaceful community there, it is hard to imagine anything like this happening there."

One of his students, Steffen Sachs, whose father is teaching as a guest professor in Blacksburg this year, said, "I got very worried when I first heard about this, but fortunately my dad is well. I'm truly upset by what happened and my thoughts are with the families."

Germany has a fairly strict gun control law and yet, almost five years ago, Germany experienced its worst school shooting in history, which shocked the nation.

Eighteen people died on April 26, 2002, when an expelled former pupil went on a shooting spree at his school in the eastern German city of Erfurt. The gunman took his own life after the shooting spree, when commandos finally stormed the building.

Italy: 'A Story So Profoundly American'

All the papers here dedicated at least the first two pages to the tragedy at Virginia Tech. University. Most of the papers highlight the ease of purchasing arms and the subsequent quantity of weapons in the United States.

The Corriere della Sera's headline read "Massacre in the Campus, America in Shock" and ran an editorial titled, "U.S., arms and the power of the lobby. Guns bought in the supermarket."

Il Messaggero ran an editorial that strongly criticized America's gun law.

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