While Americans are wringing their hands, trying to make some sense of a senseless act, the rest of the world is shaking its head in dismay. To Europeans in particular, the shooting deaths of 6 people and the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is symptomatic of a gun-obsessed nation rattled by the doubt and pessimism of a super power in decline, notes the Christian Science Monitor. Commentators from both the right and left in newspapers in London, Paris, and Berlin decry the toll of rabid political rhetoric, slipping fortunes, and entanglement in two wars.
“This murderous attack came from an atmosphere of discord and self-doubt because America is experiencing the limits of its power on a daily basis," writes the conservative Die Welt. "It has never been like this. There always was the motto: ‘Yes, we can.’ Today, widespread pessimism prevails, because of the financial crisis, and because of Iraq and Afghanistan." The shootings have struck a painful note in Holland, where politician Pim Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh were murdered in a riven nation. "People in Holland as in the US are concerned about the tone of our debate," said Peter van Os, who writes on Dutch politics from the Hague.