Sympathy over US school shooting stretches globe

LONDON — As the world joined Americans in mourning the school massacre in Connecticut, many urged US politicians to honor the 28 victims, especially the children, by pushing for stronger gun control laws.

Twitter users and media personalities in the UK invoked Dunblane — a 1996 shooting in a Scottish town that killed 16 children. That tragedy prompted a drive that led to tighter gun controls effectively making it illegal to buy or possess a handgun in the United Kingdom.

‘‘This is America’s Dunblane,’’ British CNN host Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter. ‘‘We banned handguns in Britain after that appalling tragedy. What will the US do? Inaction not an option.’’


Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard called Friday’s attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., a ‘‘senseless and incomprehensible act of evil.’’

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‘‘Like President Obama and his fellow Americans, our hearts too are broken,’’ he said.

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.

Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Union’s executive commission, said: ‘‘Young lives full of hope have been destroyed. On behalf of the European Commission and on my own behalf, I want to express my sincere condolences to the families of the victims of this terrible tragedy.’’

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was ‘‘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.’’

Queen Elizabeth II sent a message to President Obama, saying she was shocked to learn of the ‘‘dreadful loss of life’’ and that the thoughts and prayers of all in the U.K. are with those affected by the events.

The Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI conveyed ‘‘his heartfelt grief and the assurance of his closeness in prayer to the victims and their families, and to all those affected by the shocking event’’ in a condolence message to the monsignor of the diocese in Connecticut that includes Newtown.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her ‘‘deepest sympathy’’ is reserved for relatives of the victims.

‘‘Once again we stand aghast at a deed that cannot be comprehended,’’ she said in a statement. ‘‘The thought of the murdered pupils and teachers makes my heart heavy.’’


In messages to Obama, French President Francois Hollande said he was ‘‘horrified’’ by the shooting.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin called the events ‘‘particularly tragic’’ given that the majority of the victims were children. ‘‘Vladimir Putin asked Barack Obama to convey words of support and sympathy to the families and friends of the victims and expressed his empathy with the American people,’’ the Kremlin said.

Some in South Korea, whose government does not allow people to possess guns privately, blamed a lack of gun control in the United States for the high number of deaths in Connecticut.