World to U.S.: will you control guns now?

Bollywood stars tweet about the need for gun control but on the opinion pages of the world's media the consensus is that status quo will be hard to change - even after Newtown

Latitude News staff By Latitude News staff

In the wake of Friday’s tragic Newtown school shooting, the world is continuing to closely follow the story unfolding in Connecticut.

Flags remain at half staff for the victims of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, December 16, 2012. Twelve girls, eight boys and six adult women were killed in the shooting on Friday at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. REUTERS/ Michelle McLoughlin

Condolences are being offered not just by the Pope and the world’s political leaders, but also, as the National Turk reports, by the movie stars of Bollywood in India. They took to the Twittersphere Saturday to “condemn the incident and express solidarity with the bereaved families” as well as call for the regulation of firearms in the U.S. “Gun control is the need of the hour,” tweeted guitarist Ehsaan Noorani. “Each little soul cries out.”

But on the part of the experts writing on the feature and op-ed pages, the consensus is that change is unlikely.

For the BBC News Magazine Jon Kelly compares American reaction to gun massacres with what’s happened in countries like Australia and Finland after mass shootings. The momentum, he writes, is with the gun owners. And he concludes with the words of Kristin Goss of Duke University: “I don’t think leaders are going to lead on this. I think they are going to follow.”

In the Canadian paper The Globe and Mail, Sanford Levinson, a constitutional scholar at the University of Texas, sounds a cautionary and rather pessimistic note about the nature of American versus Canadian democracy in the face of this problem.

President Obama has said on a number of occasions that “elections matter.” The sad truth is that they matter far less in the United States than in many other countries around the world. Canadians should feel fortunate not to be enmeshed within such a remarkably dysfunctional – or, as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has described it, “pathological,” political system.

Whether one focuses on what is sometimes called America’s “gun culture”…or on the rigidities of the American constitutional order…the practical conclusion is the same: The status quo, whatever its problems, is likely to prevail.