LONDON: World leaders offered condolences on Monday after the mass shooting in Las Vegas that kil­led at least 58 people and injured hundreds.

The gunman, identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel late Sunday on concertgoers enjoying a country music festival in Las Vegas. The attack is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Even though foreigners are not necessarily surprised by mass shootings in the United States — shocked yes, but not surprised — reports of the attack were leading news bulletins in several countries.

In Britain, where 22 people were killed leaving an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester earlier this year, Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted her condolences after the Las Vegas shooting.

“The UK’s thoughts are with the victims and the emergency services responding to the appalling attack in Las Vegas,” she wrote.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that he was “horrified” by the “awful and indiscriminate” attack and that his office was working with U.S. authorities to determine whether any Britons were affected.

In Paris, French President Em­­manuel Macron offered words of comfort.

“Emotional thoughts for our American partners and friends who have had to suffer the violence of our times in Las Vegas a few hours ago,” he tweeted Monday afternoon.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo annou­nced on Twitter that the Eiffel Tower, the French capital’s most iconic landmark, will go dark at midnight “in homage to the victims of the attacks in Marseille and Las Vegas.”

On Sunday night, two women were killed when a man attacked them with a knife at Marseille’s train station.

In a bid to explain the carnage, Le Monde, a leading French newspaper, observed that the United States, “with 85 arms per 100 inhabitants, is also the Western country where the proportion of deaths by gunshots is the highest.”

Russian state-run, 24-hour news channels also covered the attack. In remarks to the Vesti television station, Adalbi Skhagoshev, a member of the Russian State Duma’s committee on foreign affairs, told an anchor that the shooting “was clearly an act of terror” and should provoke a legislative response.

“There are stores in some states where you can buy long-range weapons even without a passport,” Skha­goshev said. “So, of course, there should be legislation in resp­onse to these kinds of incidents in the United States.”

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev took to Facebook to express his condolences. “I am shocked by the tragedy in Las Vegas,” he wrote in Russian and in English.

“The crime is striking in its violence and cynicism. Russia shares the sorrow of those who lost their relatives and friends. We pass our sympathy and support to them and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.”

“I condemn in the strongest terms possible today’s terror attack in Las Vegas, NV,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter. “I sincerely hope that such attacks won’t happen in the future. On behalf of the Turkish people, I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims and all Americans.” Pope Francis said he was “deeply saddened” and called the shooting a “senseless tragedy.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “Words fail this morning.

The friendship & support of Canadians is with the victims in Las Vegas & the people of the US.”

Many countries are puzzled by the United States’ gun culture. As has happened after previous U.S. shooting incidents, Monday’s attack prompted a debate on social media about whether the United States should adopt stricter gun-control laws.

“It’s your choice America #GunControlNow or more mass murder of innocents,” wrote one Twitter user from Britain.

Another from Australia wrote that the United States needed to “do something.”

By arrangement with The Washington Post

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2017

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