Last year’s violent rampages in the U.S. contributed to a grim statistic: At least 52 people were killed by domestic extremists in 2015, the highest number in two decades, says a new report from the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism summarized by the Washington Post. “What a tragically noteworthy year 2015 was in terms of extremist violence,” said the center’s Mark Pitcavage. More people were killed by domestic extremists last year than in the prior two years combined, and 2015 was the deadliest single year for such violence since 1995, when a federal building in Oklahoma City was bombed by men with ties to the U.S. militia movement, the report said. The ADL linked all 52 deaths to people with ties to just four movements: White supremacists, anti?government extremists, domestic Islamist extremists and antiabortion extremists. Pitcavage said the death toll represents the minimum possible final count for 2015, because it can take at least a year for extremist connections to emerge in some killings.
Nearly two-thirds of the 52 victims were killed in incidents directly related to these movements, where ideology played at least some role in their deaths, the report said. The rest were killed by extremists acting in ways unrelated to their beliefs. For example, the ADL counts Trevor Casper, a Wisconsin state trooper killed by a bank robber who had been involved with skinhead and neo-Nazi movements. Casper died in a shootout with the bank robber that was unrelated to ideology. More than half of the 52 deaths occurred in incidents involving multiple victims. All but four of the victims died by gunfire.