U.S. Extremist Murders In 2017: White Supremacists Kill Far More Than All Other Extremists Combined

In 2017, the number of murders committed by white supremacists in the U.S. more than doubled from 2016. 2017 is officially the 5th deadliest year since 1970 in terms of extremist violence.

In its annual assessment of extremist-related killings, the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism found white supremacists and other far-right extremists were responsible for 59% of all extremist-related fatalities in the U.S. in 2017, up dramatically from 20% in 2016.

Since 2008, right-wing terrorists are responsible for a whopping 71% of terrorism related deaths in the U.S., more than double the combined total of those classified as Islamic, anarchist, black nationalists, and “other” terrorists.

In 2017, white supremacists were directly responsible for 20 of the total 34 extremist-related murders, reported The ADL. Islamic extremists, who president Trump has tried to claim are the biggest threat to us, were responsible for 2 incidents resulting in 9 deaths. Black nationalists were also responsible for 2 incidents and for 5 deaths.

The CEO points out that we must recognize all forms of terrorism as terrorism.  We cannot call one group terrorists while calling another “very fine people.”

“These findings are a stark reminder that domestic extremism is a serious threat to our safety and security,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “We saw two car-ramming attacks in the U.S. last year– one from an Islamic terrorist and another from a white supremacist in Charlottesville—and the number of deaths attributed to white supremacists increased substantially. The bottom line is we cannot ignore one form of extremism over another. We must tackle them all.”

“When white supremacists and other extremists are emboldened and find new audiences for their hate-filled views, violence is usually not far behind,” Greenblatt said. “We cannot ignore the fact that white supremacists are emboldened, and as a society we need to keep a close watch on recruitment and rallies such as Charlottesville, which have the greatest potential to provoke and inspire violence.”


A few of the major findings from the 2017 ADL report are:

  •  With 34 total deaths, 2017 was the fifth deadliest year for extremist violence since 1970, but there was a marked decline from the much higher total fatalities recorded in 2016 and 2015.
  • The 18 white supremacist murders included several killings linked to the alt right as that movement expanded its operations in 2017 from the internet into the physical world – raising the likely possibility of more such violent acts in the future.
  • Unlike 2016, a year dominated by the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando, Florida, committed by an Islamic extremist, a majority of the 2017 murders were committed by right-wing extremists, primarily white supremacists, as has typically been the case most years.
  • Far-right extremist violence accounted for 59 percent of the total, or 20 deaths.
  • An Islamic extremist still committed the single deadliest incident in 2017: the New York City bike path vehicular homicide attack, which killed eight people.