Newer factions of far-right movements fueled by conspiracy theories, misogyny, and anti-vaccine views contributed to a rise in killings by domestic extremists in the United States last year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League.
Killings by domestic extremists increased from 23 in 2020 to at least 29 last year, with right-wing extremists killing 26 of those people in 2021, the Anti-Defamation League said in a report first provided to The Associated Press by the Jewish civil rights group.
The QAnon conspiracy theory has been linked to other acts of real-world violence, including last year’s riot at the U.S. Capitol. In June, a federal intelligence report warned that QAnon adherents could target Democrats and other political opponents for more violence. A core idea QAnon promotes is that Trump was secretly fighting a Satan-worshipping, child sex trafficking cabal of “deep state” enemies, prominent Democrats, and Hollywood elites.
Just released: ADL's annual Murder & Extremism report is available. #Extremist groups constantly change & evolve & 2021 was no exception. #QAnon members, #incels & #antivax extremists — recognizing these newer threats is critical to our safety. https://t.co/ALGeA8FsqX pic.twitter.com/VzGRTX7O4I
— ADL (@ADL) February 15, 2022
The ADL distinguishes between killings that it considers to be driven by ideology and those that it found to be non-ideological or lacking a clear motive. Its report says the numbers for each category have been close to even over the past 10 years. The ADL concluded that 14 of the 29 extremist killings in 2021 were apparently motivated at least in part by ideology.
Every time the Republican Party conjures up a new conspiracy theory, it’s a reminder that there is no separation between them and QAnon. That’s why we call them the GQP. And it’s one of many reasons why they are unfit to lead.
— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) February 15, 2022
The ADL attributed 13 killings last year to white supremacists, three to anti-government extremists, two to Black nationalists, and one to an Islamist extremist. But the report says that white supremacists, antigovernment sovereign citizens, and other adherents of long-standing movements were responsible for most of the 19 deadly attacks it counted in 2021. The New York City-based organization’s list also included killings linked to newer right-wing movements that spread online during the coronavirus pandemic and Trump’s time in office.
I am heartbroken to hear of antisemitic flyers being displayed in Austin. Hatred of any kind has no place in our city. If you see or hear it, report it to @ADL:
— Mayor Adler | Get vaccinated! (@MayorAdler) February 14, 2022
The ADL concluded that roughly half of the 2021 killings didn’t have a clear ideological motive, fitting a pattern that stretches back at least a decade. The group’s tally included a shooting rampage in Denver by Lyndon James McLeod, who killed five people in December before a police officer fatally shot him. McLeod was involved in the “manosphere,” a toxic masculinity subculture, and harbored revenge fantasies against most of his victims, the ADL report notes.
White supremacists are the greatest domestic terror threat facing our communities. Recommendations for policymakers and law enforcement in our 2021 Murder and Extremism report:https://t.co/ALGeA8FsqX
— ADL (@ADL) February 15, 2022
Right-wing conspiracy theorists killed five people last year in two incidents, both involving “troubled perpetrators,” the ADL report says. In August, California surfing school owner Matthew Taylor Coleman was charged with killing his two young children with a spear gun in Mexico. Coleman told an FBI agent that he was “enlightened” by conspiracy theories, including QAnon, and believed his wife had passed “serpent DNA” on to his children, according to a court affidavit. A Maryland man, Jeffrey Allen Burnham, was charged with killing his brother, his sister-in-law, and a family friend in September. Charging documents said Burnham confronted his brother, who worked as a pharmacist, because he believed he was “poisoning people” with COVID-19 vaccines.
QAnon follower Richard Potcner walks into a Washington DC test centre to mock staff for doing tests for "something that doesn't exist" and is ejected by a member of staff.pic.twitter.com/PxjTiTvheg
— Shayan Sardarizadeh (@Shayan86) February 13, 2022
Read the full report on the ADL’s website.