According to a report by the Anti-Defamation League, the number of US mass killings linked to extremism in the past decade was at least three times higher than in any other 10-year period since the 1970s.
The report, provided to The Associated Press ahead of its public release on Thursday, also found that all extremist killings identified in 2022 were linked to right-wing extremism, with a particularly high number linked to white supremacy. These include a racist mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 black shoppers, and a mass shooting that killed five people at an LGBT nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“It is no exaggeration to say that we live in an age of extremist mass murder,” says the group’s Center on Extremism report.
There were two to seven domestic extremism-related mass murders per decade from the 1970s to the 2000s, but that number rose to 21 in 2010, the report found.
The trend has since continued with five domestic extremist mass killings in 2021 and 2022, more than during the first decade of the new millennium.
The number of victims has also increased. According to the report, from 2010 to 2020, 164 people were killed in mass killings related to ideological extremism. This is more than in any other decade except the 1990s, when a bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City killed 168 people.
Extremist killings are committed by people associated with extreme movements and ideologies.
Several factors combined to increase the number from 2010 to 2020. The shootings, as well as civilian shootings inspired by the rise of the Islamic State group, followed a handful of police officers and others linked to the promotion of violence by white supremacists, said Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the ADL Center on Extremism.
The center tracks homicides in the United States linked to various forms of extremism and compiles them into an annual report. It tracked 25 extremism-related killings last year, down from 33 the year before.
In 2022, 93 percent of murders were committed with firearms. The report also said that for the first time since 2011, no police officers were killed by extremists last year.
The report found that with the Islamic State group waning, the main threat in the near future will be white supremacist shooters. Oren Segal, vice president of the Center on Extremism, said the increase in the number of mass murder attempts is one of the most alarming trends in recent years.
“We cannot stand by silently and accept this as the new norm,” Sehgal said.