Murders carried out by right-wing extremists in the United States rose dramatically last year, according to a new report issued by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Wednesday.
The ADL’s annual “Murder and Extremism in the United States” report stated that 2018 “was a particularly active year” for murderous violence by the far right.
“Right-wing extremists killed more people in 2018 than in any year since 1995, the year of Timothy McVeigh’s bomb attack on the Oklahoma City federal building,” the report said.
Jonathan Greenblatt — the ADL’s CEO and national director — said in a statement that the Oct. 2018 gun attack by a white supremacist at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, in which 11 Jewish worshipers were murdered, “should serve as a wake-up call to everyone about the deadly consequences of hateful rhetoric.”
Said Greenblatt: “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.”
Among the key findings of the report was that the extremist-related murders in 2018 were “overwhelmingly linked to right-wing extremists.”
“Every one of the perpetrators had ties to at least one right-wing extremist movement, although one had recently switched to supporting Islamist extremism,” the report said. “White supremacists were responsible for the great majority of the killings, which is typically the case.”
As well as the atrocity in Pittsburgh, 2018 saw four other extremist-related shooting sprees, the ADL said, including the murder of 17 people last February at a high school in Parkland, FL., and the murder in April of four people at a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville, TN.
The report, compiled by the ADL’s Center on Extremism, recorded a 35-percent increase in killings committed by extremists from 2017 — up from 37 victims to 50, making 2018, it said, “the fourth-deadliest year on record for domestic extremist-related killings since 1970.”
The Florida high school and Pittsburgh synagogue shootings were severe enough that they now feature on the ADL’s list of the ten deadliest acts of violence committed by domestic extremists since 1966.
The report also urged against complacency with regard to Islamist extremism in the US.
“The fact that only one person was killed by a domestic Islamist extremist in the US in 2018 should not be taken as an indication that the threat posed by this form of extremism has diminished,” the report stated. “A number of domestic Islamist extremists were arrested in 2018 for a variety of crimes, from terrorist plots to providing material support to terrorism.”
The ADL report highlighted some of the more disturbing aspects of extremist sub-cultures in the United States — including one that specifically targets women as deserving of violence and abuse.
The report cited the murder by a gunman of two people and the wounding of four more at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, FL, in November. Shooter Scott Paul Beierle — who killed himself at the end of the attack — “had made a series of racist and misogynistic YouTube videos — one titled ‘The Rebirth of My Misogynism’ — that revealed deep-seated hatred towards women, particularly women in interracial relationships who had ostensibly betrayed their ‘blood.'”
The ADL said that Beirle “appears to have identified with the so-called ‘incels,’ or involuntary celibates, a movement that consists primarily of men who externalize their rage and unhappiness over their inability to form meaningful relationships with women.”
Other “incels” who carried out killings documented by the ADL included Elliot Rodger, “whose 2014 stabbing and shooting spree in California left six dead and 14 wounded and was motivated primarily by misogynistic rage,” as well as “self-described incel Alek Minassian’s vehicular attack in Toronto, Canada, killing 10 and injuring 16 more” last April.