The Orlando massacre is just the latest twist in an American election season that has defied all logic and comprehension. Unfortunately, the atrocity will likely help Donald Trump far more than Hillary Clinton.
Trump has been shouting “fire” in this particular theater for some time now, warning that the Muslim hordes are coming to take over America.
This horrific incident, which looks like a hate crime against gays by a deeply conflicted terrorist, will make believers out of more Americans than ever, convinced they are about to be bombarded by terrorist atrocities.
Since 9/11 America has changed. Many feel the open and generous spirit of its immigration policies are being exploited by those intent on doing the country harm.
As in Britain, Europe and elsewhere, these people want a crackdown on immigration, especially from the Arab world. Trump has been their champion.
But America also has to face the fact that like this latest killer, Omar Mateen, born and raised an American, home grown terrorists have also become a reality. There is no easy way to lock down your borders when the enemy is within.
It all leads to a more paranoid existence, a feeling of enemies everywhere, and fuels candidates like Trump who is using such fears to propel himself to the White House, he hopes.
There is a terrible synergy between Trump and the terrorists. The more violence the better for Trump.
The more extreme a President Trump would be, the greater the recruiting tool for ISIS all over the world. The more ISIS, the more an invasion of their hinterlands will be insisted on.
Trump would be only too happy to oblige and likely send tens of thousands of Americans to their death. But we are not there yet.
Clinton still stands between Trump’s ambition and Trump gaining power. But it may be a very close run thing, especially if the atrocities continue and Trump benefits.
As David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker wrote this week, if Clinton fails “power will be in the hands of a malevolent fraud. And then what? A disaster beyond the imagining of any screenwriter.”
So the debate begins, and what a critical one it is.
Can non-existent gun laws continue where killers like Mateen have complete access to assault rifles despite being on an FBI watch list? If so, how?
Of course, when the Orlando killing spree happened Trump, as usual overplayed his hand, almost wetting himself with excitement on Twitter, rushing to say he had predicted this and claiming credit for doing so.
It highlighted his massive ego, as he preferred to claim victory on the issue first rather than display empathy for the loved ones of those killed and injured. His statement was, unsurprisingly, in contrast to Clinton’s, who reached out to commiserate with the families of those killed and injured. Trump’s statement was seen as a juvenile effort to wring political advantage out of personal tragedy.
Sadly, it may work. America is frightened and deeply fearful of such killings occurring in their home towns, given the extremely random nature of the slayings so far.
We need a cool hand on the tiller, not a firebrand ready to launch a war at the first opportunity. Orlando has made America a more dangerous place because it boosts Trump.