On the one hand, it has become quiet about the "lateral thinkers".

There have been no major demonstrations by corona deniers for a long time.

To think that this is why the phenomenon has disappeared, however, would be a huge mistake.

Because the irritated spirit of the "lateral thinkers" has anything but evaporated, the anger about the Corona measures is deep.

The stagnating vaccination rates alone are a sign of the skepticism that has spread in the country.

The fact that the state, politicians and science cannot be trusted: the majority do not believe that.

Nevertheless, the problem is not marginal.

The killing of a petrol station employee in Idar-Oberstein has shown how real the danger is that the indignation can even turn into fatal violence.

The 20-year-old student Alex, who worked as a cashier in the gas station and used it to finance his studies, was shot out of anger about the mask requirement.

This act was a shock, but it did not surprise those familiar with the scene, as brutal as that may sound.

Lone perpetrator below the radar 

The increasing radicalization of part of the movement could not be overlooked.

The fact that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution took a close look at the corona deniers early on is therefore to be praised.

But that is not an assurance that an act like the one in Idar-Oberstein will not be repeated.

Michael Niemeier, the deputy head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, made this clear at the “Autumn Talks” at the Ministry of the Interior in Wiesbaden.

There is still a danger that a lone perpetrator who moves below the radar will strike again.

What helps to counteract radicalization?

The fact that it is important to keep the thread of conversation to citizens who have distanced themselves from the state, from society during the pandemic, was pointed out at the “Autumn Talk”.

But it is also important to finally fight the hate speech on the Internet more tenaciously.

Anti-Jewish conspiracy myths are common practice in chat groups and networks of “lateral thinkers” and anti-vaccination groups, and the perpetrators from Idar-Oberstein were cheered in such groups.

Those who express their hatred in these forums are rarely persecuted and punished.

It has to be different.

And the promises of the platform operators to consistently delete fake news must finally be followed by action.

The fight against hatred on social networks is anything but easy.

It is all the more urgent that it must be conducted with a great deal of courage.