Dec. 17 Photo Brief: School violence, remains of a Soviet submarine, death anniversary of Kim Jong-Il, Micro Teatro por Dinero
School violence, remains of a Soviet submarine, death anniversary of Kim Jong-Il, the ‘Micro Teatro por Dinero’ in Madrid and more in today’s daily brief.
Scottish town shares agony of U.S. school tragedy
Natalie Huet | Reuters
1:22 p.m. EST, December 17, 2012
DUNBLANE, Scotland (Reuters) – Of all the messages of sympathy for the stricken U.S. community of Newtown, few carry the emotional weight of those from Dunblane, the small Scottish town that still bears the scars of Britain’s worst school massacre.
On March 13, 1996, a gunman walked into the gymnasium of a primary school in the close-knit cathedral town and shot dead 16 children and their teacher before turning the gun on himself.
Few residents want to talk about the terrible events that for years made Dunblane synonymous with tragedy, but reminders abound, made all the more poignant by the onset of Christmas.
At the far end of the cemetery on the edge of town, toys, fairies and portraits of smiling children decorate the graves of many of the victims, while small windmills spin in the winter breeze under grey skies.
A miniature Christmas tree stands next to one grave and a bunch of pink roses covered in dew drops rests on the spot where their teacher, Gwen Mayor, 45, is buried.
“The memories are flooding back. It must be hell for the parents. We said prayers for them in my church,” said Harry McEwan, 71, who has lived in the town for 30 years. “Dunblane has so much in common with what has happened in Newtown.”
The Dunblane massacre shocked the world and started a public campaign that led to Britain adopting some of the strictest gun controls in the world.
The Newtown shooting has already prompted calls for new U.S. gun restrictions, including a ban on assault weapons. President Barack Obama said things must change to prevent more killings.
In Britain, the scale of revulsion over Dunblane’s three-minute rampage led within two years to new laws that effectively banned civilians from owning handguns. Ministers also promised to improve school security.