Shock and sympathy over US school shooting acorss globe
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Images of a tearful President Barack Obama speaking after a shooting rampage in Connecticut resonated around the world, with many outside the United States expressing hope Saturday that America's latest school massacre would prompt the country to strengthen gun control.
Shock and sympathy were the initial reactions to the rampage that left 28 people dead, including 20 children at an elementary school. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard described the attack as a "senseless and incomprehensible act of evil.''
"Like President Obama and his fellow Americans, our hearts too are broken,'' Gillard said in a statement, referring to the U.S. leader's emotional expression of condolence.
The gunman killed his mother at their home before opening fire Friday inside the school in Newtown, Connecticut, where he killed 26 people, including 20 children, police said. The killer, identified as 20-year-old Adam Lanza, then committed suicide.
Australia confronted a similar tragedy in 1996, when a man went on a shooting spree in the southern state of Tasmania, killing 35 people. The mass killing sparked outrage across the country and led the government to impose strict new gun laws, including a ban on semi-automatic rifles.
Gillard's sentiments echoed those of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said he "was shocked and deeply saddened'' to learn of the "horrific shooting.''
"My thoughts are with the injured and those who have lost loved ones,'' he said. "It is heartbreaking to think of those who have had their children robbed from them at such a young age, when they had so much life ahead of them.''
Initial official reaction at the national level did not touch on perceptions of the United States as a violent society, or its generally lax gun laws. On social media sites such as Twitter and in mainstream media outlets, however, there were plenty of comments about the causes of such incidents.
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