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In Arizona shooting, Europe sees an America gripped by doubt, pessimism

The Arizona shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has gotten extensive coverage in London, Berlin, and Paris. A German paper stated that the motto 'Yes, we can' has been pushed aside by the financial crisis and two wars.

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Well-wishers gather for a candlelight vigil outside the offices US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in Tucson, Ariz., Sunday, Jan. 9.

Chris Carlson/AP

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European reaction to the Gabrielle Giffords Arizona shooting is seen strongly through the lens of the tea party rhetoric and as symptomatic of a superpower in decline and at the mercy of “radical” politics.

With significant play in London, Berlin, and Paris, the actions of alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner are seen as typically American and not surprising in Arizona, where citizens can carry concealed handguns without a permit, something considered unthinkable here.

The Giffords story in Europe today mirrored questions in US media about the degree to which anger, conspiracy theories, and intemperate talk show rhetoric is to blame for the context of the shooting.

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