Always a danger

The Munich mass murderer turned out to be nothing to do with fanatical Islam at all but fell into the all too frequent pattern of being a lonesome male, usually young, though not always when we remember the massacre in Scotland in 1996 when Thomas Hamilton, 43, killed sixteen children and one teacher at Dunblane Primary School near Stirling.

The Islamic State terror movement is probably on its way out now, having been largely routed in Syria and hopefully in Libya, too. It will have a few isolated reverberating echoes in Europe and elsewhere for a year or two yet and, of course, its basic reason for existence — Sunniism versus Shiaism — will continue full blast in Iraq for some considerable time yet but, by and large, Isil will have been a passing historical phenomenon.

Not so, massacres by young male loners. Products of inappropriate childhoods, or having been bullied, or having a genetic mental handicap, they are individuals who never quite made the usual sorts of friendships in adolescence that most people do. Unable to socialize in the increasingly individualistic modern world without long term birth communities in which their personalities can be recognized and modified in time, a small percentage of male loners are always going to be a danger.

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