A clearer picture emerges as we search for the latest news about the Orlando massacre, though questions remain. How many injuries and deaths were caused by friendly fire? Was the attacker actually gay? What role did an Islamic preacher and former Marine play? And now there’s news of another shooting with hostages in Amarillo, Texas.
But we should stop abusing this animal, non-human metaphor to describe human crimes. We keep calling the Orlando killer a “lone wolf” to talk about his presumed affiliation to ISIS. He might have been skilfully hidden and ready to spring into action — a well-oiled sleeper cell — to avenge defeats the Islamic State has sustained lately in the Middle-Eastern front.
The wolf is actually a tame and sociable animal; it kills only when it needs to, to defend itself or to eat. But if we really want to continue the perverse game of animal comparisons, then it must be said that this time the real “wolf” — or hyena, or condor — of the situation is Donald Trump, not at all a loner and wildly engaged in a pack hunt, inspiring hate as they go. Trump didn’t hesitate to inveigh against Muslims and didn’t wait even a minute after the massacre to remind us of his racist and xenophobic agenda, trying to score a point for his campaign even as the dead were still being counted, when a merciful silence would have been best.