How world leaders are reacting to the Uvalde school shooting
Officials around the world are responding to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the deadliest such incident to take place in the U.S. in nearly a decade.
In emotional remarks late Tuesday, President Biden characterized it as a uniquely American tragedy.
"They have mental health problems, they have domestic disputes in other countries," he said. "They have people who are lost. But these kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency that they happen in America. Why?"
He then called on lawmakers to stand up to the gun lobby.
That same night, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned the shooting, as both a politician and a mother, in an appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. After two consecutive mosque shootings in 2019, New Zealand collected thousands of weapons through a nationwide buyback, and lawmakers voted to ban almost all semi-automatic weapons.
When asked by Colbert how the country was able to take that step, Ardern described New Zealanders as "very pragmatic people."
"When we saw something like that happen, everyone said never again, and so it was incumbent on us as politicians to respond to that," she said. "Now, we have legitimate needs for guns in our country, for things like pest control and to protect our biodiversity — but you don't need a military-style semi-automatic to do that."
And New Zealand isn't the only country to draw attention to the U.S. stance on gun control. China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin expressed condolences for the victims' families, but also called the U.S. government hypocritical for failing to act on gun violence at home while attacking foreign countries over their human rights records.
Condolences also poured in from Ukrainian politicians, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who drew parallels between the loss of young innocent lives in Texas and his own war-torn country.
"The people of Ukraine share the pain of the relatives and friends of the victims and all Americans," he tweeted.
Pope Francis, while offering prayers, also issued a message about gun policies.
Officials from various countries — including Canada, France, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom — as well as global faith leaders shared messages of shock and sympathy. Read some of their statements below.
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19 victims were under age 10. Children and teachers were murdered in a cowardly attack in their Texas school. We share the shock and grief of the American people, and the rage of those who are fighting to end the violence.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) May 25, 2022
My heart breaks for everyone affected by the horrific shooting in Texas today. I’m thinking of the parents, the families, the friends, the classmates, and the coworkers whose lives have been forever changed – Canadians are mourning with you, and are here for you.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 24, 2022
Horrified by the news of a fatal shooting at a Texan primary school. My thoughts are with the people of Texas and all those affected by this dreadful attack.— Liz Truss (@trussliz) May 25, 2022
Terrible news are reaching us this morning from a school in #Uvalde, #Texas. Our thoughts are with the injured and the bereaved of the victims of this inconceivable massacre for which hardly any words can be found. Our condolence go out to you, @POTUS, and our American friends.— Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz (@Bundeskanzler) May 25, 2022
"My heart is broken over the mass shooting at the elementary school in Texas. I am praying for the children and adults who were killed, and for their families. It is time to say enough to the indiscriminate trafficking of arms." - Pope Francis pic.twitter.com/1NAzZptURD— Vatican News (@VaticanNews) May 25, 2022
Deeply saddened by the news of the murder of innocent children in Texas. Sincere condolences to the families of the victims, the people of the US and @POTUS over this tragedy. The people of Ukraine share the pain of the relatives and friends of the victims and all Americans.— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) May 25, 2022
Utterly heartbroken to hear of the Uvalde school shooting and murder of innocent children and adults. My prayers are with the families of those lost and the community.— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) May 25, 2022
London stands with Uvalde & all those campaigning to enact laws to end these senseless and devastating attacks.
Heartbreaking news from Texas today of more gun violence. On behalf of all Toronto residents, we are sending condolences to the people of Uvalde as they mourn the 14 innocent children and a teacher murdered at their elementary school.— John Tory (@TorontosMayor) May 24, 2022