The Anti-Defamation League’s annual report on extremist killings in the United States, released Wednesday, found that individuals linked to right-wing extremist movements committed every single extremist-related murder in the country in 2018.
Right-wing extremists killed 50 people last year, mostly with firearms, making them responsible for more deaths than in any year since 1995, according to the ADL’s data.
The report focuses on incidents like the February mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, committed by a teenager who expressed sympathy towards white supremacist ideology; the massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue by an avowed anti-Semite; and the shooting spree at a Tallahassee yoga studio by a man bent on committing violence against women.
Guns were responsible for 42 of the 50 deaths documented by the ADL.
“The white supremacist attack in Pittsburgh should serve as a wake-up call to everyone about the deadly consequences of hateful rhetoric,” ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement accompanying the report’s release. “It’s time for our nation’s leaders to appropriately recognize the severity of the threat and to devote the necessary resources to address the scourge of right-wing extremism.”
The ADL only includes in its count incidents in which there is “positive evidence connecting the murderer to an extremist group or movement,” rather than just a killing committed by someone who has expressed racist, anti-Semitic, or other hateful comments. They are categorized by their “primary” ideology, meaning the one they seem most driven by, most recently followed, or that clearly drove the murder they carried out.
The ADL said they are now tracking murders committed by followers of the involuntary celibate or “incel” movement. While not all “incels” are violent, men like the Tallahassee yoga studio shooter openly express their desire to hurt and kill women who they feel have deprived them of sex or loving relationships.
As the ADL notes, “the deaths described here represent merely the tip of a pyramid of extremist violence and crime in the United States; for each person killed by an extremist, many more are wounded or injured in attempted murders and assaults. Extremists engage in a wide variety of other crimes related to their causes, from threats and harassment to white collar crime.”
Just over the past week, a man was arrested in Utah for threatening to kill “as many girls as I see” on the weekend of nationwide Women’s Marches. Three men were arrested in upstate New York for plotting to attack a rural Muslim community with explosive devices.