It is fair to say that the actions of the gunman who shot nine people dead in the German city of Hanau, before he killed himself, were the actions of a madman.
That he also shot his mother adds to the impression of a sense of desperation gone over a cliff. Mass shootings are normalised in America but, thankfully, they remain an exception across Europe.
Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the attack near Frankfurt saying it appeared to have been motivated by the “poison” of racism that was to blame for “too many crimes”.
Five Turkish nationals were among the dead and Turkish officials called on Merkel’s government to respond robustly.
Our recent election showed that those who promote racism are a tiny minority. Most candidates standing on an anti-immigrant ticket polled in low single digit figures.
The Hanau killer has been described as a right wing extremist so he was probably inculcated and encouraged through social media.
These killings suggest it may be appropriate to review the kind of extremism so provocative, so loud and so intolerant on our social media platforms.