I’ve learned that it’s best not to say anything about a terrorist atrocity on social media, especially not if it confirms one’s political prejudices. It just looks crass, or it has when I’ve done it. Try not to say anything profound either, as it will probably look insipid; also ideally do not make any point about similar atrocities occurring in less well known parts of the world, as people will quite reasonably think you’re just scoring points. And best not to bother with the tweets of solidarity, which are superfluous these days surely; France and Belgium and Germany are our close allies, friends and neighbours, and it goes without saying that when one of us is attacked we feel for them.
German social media is apparently filled with anger, not with Islamic extremists or Angela Merkel but with Alternative für Deutschland and its supporters. I’m not sure what the psychological condition is called; I suppose it’s a form of Stockholm Syndrome.
I can understand the human urge to protect the vulnerable, refugees and Muslims generally, from hostility as these awful events repeat themselves. It’s easy to sneer at politicians who come out with vapid theological comments, as I have in the past, but their job is to protect all the country’s citizens. I can also see why this urge might convince an intelligent person that Merkel’s migration policy has actually helped the fight against terrorism. But it’s extremely unlikely; all things being equal, hosting refugees does lead to an increase in terrorism, although the risk is smaller in richer countries, largely because they have better security services. It’s at times like this when I thank God for ours, who have saved countless lives in our country by preventing a good dozen attempts at mass murder.