Murder and Extremism in the United States in 2018
Each year, ADL’s Center on Extremism (COE) tracks murders perpetrated by all types of extremists. The 2018 Murder & Extremism report provides key insights into the crimes, including motivations behind these violent attacks.
2018 was a particularly active year for right-wing extremist murders: Every single extremist killing — from Pittsburgh to Parkland — had a link to right-wing extremism.
Among this report’s key findings:
- Every year adherents of a variety of extreme causes kill people in the United States; ADL’s COE tracks these murders.
- In 2018, domestic extremists killed at least 50 people in the U.S., a sharp increase from the 37 extremist-related murders documented in 2017, though still lower than the totals for 2015 (70) and 2016 (72). The 50 deaths make 2018 the fourth-deadliest year on record for domestic extremist-related killings since 1970.
- 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. White supremacists were responsible for the great majority of the killings, which is typically the case.
- Deadly shooting sprees were a major factor in the high death toll. Five of the 17 incidents involved shooting sprees that caused 38 deaths and injured 33 people.
- The perpetrator of one of 2018’s deadly shooting sprees, at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, was connected to the misogynistic incel/manosphere movement. In the wake of this attack and a similarly-motivated killing spree in Toronto, Canada, ADL’s COE now tracks such incidents as extremist-related killings and has updated its database to include an earlier incel-linked incident, Elliot Rodger’s 2014 shooting spree.
- Firearms remain the weapon of choice for extremists who kill. Guns were responsible for 42 of the 50 deaths in 2018, followed by blades or edged weapons.