Right-wing extremists were responsible for a majority of extremist-related murders in the United States last year, according to a report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Of the 42 extremist-related murders in the nation last year, 38 were committed by individuals subscribing to various far-right ideologies, including white supremacy, the ADL’s annual Murder and Extremism report found. Last year was the sixth deadliest for extremist-related violence since 1970.
There were 17 separate incidents last year with the deadliest being the attack by a white supremacist at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, which left 22 people dead and at least 24 wounded. White supremacists were responsible for 81 percent of the domestic extremist-related murders in 2019, while right-wing extremists were responsible for 90 percent last year. Since 2010, right-wing extremists have been responsible for 330 deaths, or 76 percent of all domestic extremist-related murders within that time.
“Over the last decade, right-wing extremists have been responsible for more than 75 percent of extremist-related murders in this country,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “This should no longer come as a shock to anyone. Lawmakers, law enforcement, and the public need to recognize the grave and dangerous threat posed by violent white supremacy. We cannot begin to defeat this deadly form of hatred if we fail to even recognize it.”
The past five years include four of the deadliest years on record for extremist murders. The number of extremist-related fatalities in the United States declined slightly in 2019 from the previous year, which saw 53 extremist-related deaths. But last year’s total was higher than in 2017 when 41 deaths were recorded.
Guns were involved in 86 percent of last year’s deaths. In the past decade, 315 of the 435 people (72 percent) killed in the United States by extremists were shot to death.
The ADL also found that last year was the first year since 2012 that no killings linked to domestic Islamist extremism occurred. However, the ADL says the United States did experience what appears to be its first lethal foreign terror attack in America since 9/11 when a Saudi Arabian aviation student thought to be motivated by Islamist extremism killed three people at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida in December.