October 3, 2017 Last Updated 9:05 am

US media looks for answers following Las Vegas shooting, int’l press points to gun culture

Morning Brief: A general strike is occurring today in Catalunya after Sunday’s voting was met with a violent reaction from Madrid, and little support from the European Community

In a world where news is moving oh-so-fast, it is strange this morning to know that the same three stories that dominated the news yesterday morning continue to dominate today. The media is still trying to make sense of why Stephen Paddock killed 59 people in America’s latest ‘worst mass shooting’; Catalonia has followed up on its promise to hold a general strike today, with roads leading into and out of the regional blocked; and Tom Petty has died at 66, as earlier reports proved premature, but in the end accurate.

One story that may lead today, but will soon fade into history is that of the Las Vegas mass shooting. Like past mass casualty shootings, we are told that it is too early to talk about gun control, and changing our culture of gun ownership. Instead, efforts continue on in the Congress to pass laws continuing to make easier for Americans to buy weapons capable of mass death.

Chicago Tribune, Dahleen Glanton:

We cry for the victims and then side with our guns

Across the country, Americans are shocked and saddened, even angry that such a tragedy could occur. In the aftermath, there have been calls for unity and peace. The president led a moment of silence on the White House lawn.

We will demand that authorities figure out how such a thing could happen — again — though we already know the answer. We will stamp our feet and insist that our lawmakers do something to put a stop to this type of carnage. But they will do nothing.

So these mass killings will continue to happen again and again. Because in America, we insist on having the right to bear firearms — any kind of firearms. And we will not give up our weapons.

That’s why we’ve been here so many times before. We know the routine by heart.

The Independent, Editorial:

If not now, after the massacre of so many in Las Vegas, when will the US change its gun laws?

After the worst shooting atrocity in American history, the question, macabre but inevitable, arises once again: is there any number of casualties that will cause America to think again about gun control? And, if these murders do turn out to be inspired or even directed by Isis, will the modern age of terror persuade America to think again about how dangerously easy it is for a fanatic to arm themselves in the name of some ideology?

…Routine” such atrocities have long become, as well as the still more everyday loss of life through the use of firearms in suicides, armed robberies, tragic accidents and drug and gang crime. To a lesser degree than in Europe or the Middle East, America too has had to become more accustomed to terror. Yet, sadly, even a run of high-profile “domestic” terrorist attacks have failed to push America to wage war on terror on its own soil: the “Unabomber”, the Oklahoma bombings, the Boston Marathon, the San Bernardino killings, the Orlando nightclub attack and many others haven’t succeeded yet in impelling a fundamental change in the law.


One story that, as they say, has legs, is events in Catalunya.

A general strike is underway to protest the violence by Spanish police, but also much more. Anger is growing over the increasing use of force by Spanish authorities, and the support the Rajoy government is getting from the European Community.

According to El Paîs, the Madrid newspaper which supports the crackdown on the region, 75 percent of health workers are on strike, “almost all schools have closed because of lack of students, 75% of public health workers have not gone to work, the ports of Barcelona and Tarragona are paralyzed, and there are problems on the roads” as protesters cut arteries leading into and out of the region.

I have friends on both sides of this issue, and both sides appear very much closed to discussion with the other side. The question in my mind is which side is willing to kill or die for their beliefs. Up until now, the Catalans have protested peacefully, I see no evidence this will change. Up until now, the Spanish government has shown it will use violence to suppress Catalunya, I see no evidence this will change.

Spanish media appear to be surprised by the strength and completeness of the general strike. But the decision to bring police into the region, and to authorize and justify the use of violence against voters on Sunday have convinced those unsure of whether to support independence that the best hope for democratic rule may well be with independence.

Catalan News, ACN:

EU fails to condemn Spanish police violence

Despite images of brutality making many front pages around the world on Monday, the European Commission (EC) failed to condemn the violence by Spanish police at polling stations on Sunday. Calling on all sides to move “swiftly from confrontation to dialogue”, a short Commission statement declared the vote illegal and an internal matter for Spain. While the statement said that “violence can never be an instrument in politics” it also said: “We trust the leadership of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to manage this difficult process.”

The Guardian, Irene Baqué:

I was Catalan, Spanish and European. But Mariano Rajoy has changed all that

On Sunday, I watched innocent people being beaten up, pulled by their hair and thrown down stairs – just for trying to express their opinion in a ballot – people back home in Catalonia who could easily have been neighbours or school friends. I was glued to my screen for 12 hours with tears in my eyes, sitting in my room in London.

As a Catalan living in the UK while the EU referendum played out, having seen the false promises made in favour of Brexit, I could not support the idea of independence. I respected the idea of a referendum – we live in a democracy and people should have a right to decide and I understood the frustration of many Catalans – but I did not think independence was the solution. That was before Sunday. But having seen the way the Spanish government decided to use force to fight the will of peaceful citizens, where does that leave me?

…I fear Puigdemont’s impulse to declare independence would only result in Spanish tanks entering Barcelona’s La Diagonal, just as happened 78 years ago, witnessed by a generation who did not expect that to happen again in their lifetime. The suppression Catalans lived with during the Franco dictatorship has remained in people’s hearts, and has been transmitted to my generation.



Other Headlines:

  • Rolling Stone: Tom Petty, Rock Iconoclast Who Led the Heartbreakers, Dead at 66
  • NY Post: Facebook to hire 1,000 people to police ads
  • The Washington Post: CBS fires VP for writing ‘Republican gun toters’ killed in Las Vegas don’t deserve sympathy
  • National Union of Journalists: Newsquest told to safeguard quality in its latest buy-up of 13 titles
  • The Washington Post: Supreme Court takes up Wisconsin as first test in partisan gerrymandering claims

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