Murder & Extremism in the U.S. in 2021

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), founded in 1913, routinely tracks and researches hate in the United States and abroad, aiding law enforcement and providing testimonies to members of Congress.  With the release of their new report, Murder & Extremism in the United States 2021, ADL provides an in-depth overview of murders by extremists in the U.S. last year.

Some Key Findings from the report:

  • In 2021, domestic extremists killed at least 29 people in the United States, in 19 separate incidents.
  • Most of the murders (26 of 29, or 75%) were committed by right-wing extremists; however, two killings were committed by Black nationalists and one by an Islamist extremist—the latter being the first such killing since 2018.
  • While most of the 2021 murders were committed by people associated with longstanding extremist movements, such as white supremacy and the sovereign citizen movement, there were also some murders from newer types of extremism, including QAnon adherents, people associated with the toxic masculinity subculture of the “manosphere” and anti-vaccination extremists.

ADL notes that while the number of murders committed by extremists in 2021 is low compared to the total number of murders in the United States in 2021, “extremist murders are only one metric of extremist crime and violence.” Extremists in the United States commit a range of additional terrorist plots and acts, whether they are “armed standoffs, shootouts with police, hate crimes, scams and cons, threats and harassment” or otherwise.

The report provides additional insight on perpetrator affiliations, police officer killings, information on the perpetrators and incidents from 2021, an analysis of white supremacist killings in the United States from 2012-2021, and information on the PROTECT plan, ADL’s “seven-part plan to mitigate the threat posed by domestic extremism and domestic terrorism while protecting civil rights and civil liberties.”


For more information, check out HSDL’s Featured Topics on Active Shooters and Domestic Terrorism. Please note an HSDL login is required to view some of these resources.

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