While American media grapples with our gun laws, gender relations, and mental health services, publications from around the world are weighing in with their own intelligent or oblivious responses. Whenever there is a mass shooting in America, a foreign paper will wonder why we refuse to change our gun laws. But in Canada, a conservative columnist denied there was anything misogynistic about the UCSB shooting, especially when compared to the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre. Meanwhile Germany's Die Welt wondered how much infamy we should give the shooter at all, and Belgium's De Morgen noticed he was rich.
Canada: Feminists have this all wrong
It's easy to draw comparisons between the tragedy in Isla Vista and the December 6, 1989 massacre at the École Polytechnique, when Marc Lépine entered a classroom, separated the students by gender, and killed nine women. Barbara Kay at Canada's right-leaning National Post, however, rejects that theory, since Rodger also killed three men. It's worth noting that Kay once wrote, "First of all, ours is not a rape culture. If it were, our girls would be walking around in burkas."
"Marc Lepine, the son of an abusive father from a patriarchal culture, hated women, but he represented no cause, no movement, no principle, nothing but his own deeply disturbed self," Kay writes (Lépine's father was Algerian). In Canada, the École Polytechnique shooting led to the sort of gun reform America is unlikely to see, caused by, in Kay's words, "feminism-inspired links between Lepine’s crime and the alleged potential of any male to become a Lepine."
Kay's argument boils down to #notallmen hate and want to kill women, which The Post's Chris Selley doubled down on Tuesday. If alleged UCSB shooter Elliot Rodger had been a Muslim killing Jews, Selley asked, "would the people currently portraying his rampage as an extreme manifestation of everyday misogyny instead be portraying his rampage as an extreme manifestation of everyday Islam?" Selley's piece is in response to The Globe and Mail's Denise Balkissoon, who argued Monday that men should take more responsibility for male aggression.
Germany: We'll only remember the shooter's name
Die Welt made a point of focusing on the victims of the attack, since society tends to only remember the perpetrator. "These are the victims whose names will be soon forgotten outside their families and friends, and which should therefore be at the beginning of this shocking story," reads the first line of a May 25 story (the story refers to Veronika Weiss, 19, Katie Cooper, 22, and Christopher Martinez, 20). The story made a point of referring to Rodger by name only once, and thereafter as "R." (Bild, a German tabloid, also focused on victims, but primarily to post their bikini pictures and Halloween costumes from their Facebook accounts.)
Die Welt didn't dwell on the common European sentiment that U.S. gun laws are insane — it was actually Der Spiegel, which wondered earlier this month whether America's gun laws were the reason a German foreign exchange student who was visiting Missoula, Montana was shot to death while trespassing in a garage. "The tragedy sheds light on a side of America that will likely always remain foreign to many Europeans," writes Der Spiegel. "It reveals a country where freedom is more important than anything else."
Belgium: Mad gunman was rich
It's common for outlets to mention that Rodger was the son of Peter Rodgers, who worked on The Hunger Games, but Belgium's De Morgen devoted an entire post to how rich he was. "According to Rodger life was not fair, but on his Facebook page that he did not complain financially," reads De Morgen. "The BMW that he drove by the student district while he shot the young was a 328i coupe worth 30,000 euros. He also had a Mercedes terrain of 40,000 euros." The piece doesn't go on to explain how his wealth adds context to his actions, and notes Rodger went to a Katy Perry concert once.