The shooting at a historic black church in South Carolina that left nine people dead has renewed perceptions around the world that Americans have too many guns and have yet to overcome racial tensions.
In Britain, Wednesday’s attack reinforced the view that America has an entrenched race and gun problem, according to a report by The Associated Press.
The front-page headline of The Independent newspaper said simply, “America’s shame.” The newspaper said in an editorial that the US seems to have moved backward in racial relations since President Barack Obama’s election in 2009.
In Australia and East Asia, where there are tight restrictions on firearm ownership and gun violence is almost unheard of, many were mystified by the tenacity of many Americans to own guns despite repeated mass shootings.
“We don’t understand America’s need for guns,” said Philip Alpers, director of the University of Sydney’s GunPolicy.org project that compares gun laws across the world. “It is very puzzling for non-Americans.”
US out of step with the world
“The USA is completely out of step with the rest of the world. We’ve tightened our gun laws and have seen a reduction,” said Claire Taylor, the director of media and public relations at Gun Free South Africa.
Ahmad Syafi’i Maarif, a prominent Indonesian intellectual and former leader of Muhammadiyah, one of the country’s largest Muslim organizations, said the church shooting shocked many.
“The Charleston shooting has reminded us that in fact, the seeds of racism still remain and were embedded in the hearts of small communities there, and can explode at any time, like a terrorist act by an individual,” he said.
Dylann Roof, 21, the white gunman who shot nine black people dead in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday night has been charged with nine counts of homicide and illegal possession of a firearm.
Rampant gun violence and growing racial hatred
China’s official Xinhua News Agency said the massacre in South Carolina “mirrors the US government’s inaction on rampant gun violence as well as the growing racial hatred in the country.”
“Unless US President Barack Obama’s government really reflects on his country’s deep-rooted issues like racial discrimination and social inequality and takes concrete actions on gun control, such tragedy will hardly be prevented from happening again,” Xinhua said in an editorial.