A new investigative report by James Varney at Real Clear Investigations worked closely with the CPRC’s John Lott and Carl Moody on whether the Anti-Defamation League’s claims about White Supremacists being a significant threat is accurate.
The ADL also claims that other “right-wing extremists” were responsible for another 20% of extremist killings during the 10-year-period (2012-21) – including those it describes as “anti-government” and “incel/manosphere” (typically, involuntary celibates or misogynists).
But a closer examination of the statistics compiled by the ADL – which did not respond to multiple requests for comment – casts doubt on their use as evidence that African Americans or any other Americans are under increasing or serious threats from racist white zealots. . . .
“The FBI has not issued the official number of murders in the U.S. in 2021, but it is expected to exceed the number of murders in 2020: 21,570 — of which, according to ADL, 23 were committed by extremists,” Carl Moody, an economist at the College of William & Mary who studies crime, told RealClearInvestigations.
“The data presented by the ADL could also be characterized as follows: the number of murders committed by extremists is very small, only 29 in 2021, of which less than half were committed by white supremacists,” Moody said. “It is also 63% lower than the maximum number (78) in 2016, so extremism is down since 2016. In 2020, according to the CDC, 1080 people were killed falling out of bed. Therefore, you are 47 times more likely to be killed by a bed than by an extremist.”
“It’s important that we get the numbers right and in perspective,” said John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center. “And we’ve had mainstream narratives that make it sound like they are all like the Buffalo killer. But there are very specific circumstances to a number of these shootings. If there is a significant threat to blacks from these kinds of mass attacks they need to know that. Otherwise, you’re creating divisions that don’t need to be there.” . . .
At the same time, critics say the ADL overstates the percentage of white supremacist murders because it omits some high-profile crimes committed by non-whites. Lott provided eight examples of mass killings – traditionally defined as those with four or more fatalities – excluded by the ADL in its decade-long tally. One of those was the 2016 attack a black man launched against white police officers in Dallas that killed 5 and wounded 11.
The ADL report also does not include the more recent carnage in Waukesha, Wisconsin, last November when a black man with a history of racist social posts drove into a mostly white crowd in a Christmas parade, killing six and injuring 62. For 2021, the ADL lists just two murders by people it classifies as “black nationalists.” If the Waukesha victims were included, black racist murders would account for 23% of extremist murders (8 of 35) for 2021.
“The Wisconsin car attack is one that is very hard to miss,” Lott said. “It is such an obvious and well-known case that you have to wonder if they omitted it because it goes against ‘their narrative.'” . . .
That finding tracks with a March 2021 report from Lott’s organization addressing what it called “the false narrative of white supremacists doing mass public shootings.” Examining all shootings involving four or more fatalities from 1998 to March 2021, it found in 71% of them “no mention of political affiliation” of the shooters. The report determined that “4% are right-wingers or conservatives or Republicans, 6% were liberals or Democrats or left-wing, and 10% were Muslim. About 9% are white supremacist, neo-Nazis, or anti-immigrant, but these people come from both the left and the right. Mass public shootings make up a small percentage of murders, and anti-minority mass public shooters are not the biggest threat even in that group.” . . .James Varney, “The ADL Murder Report That Cried ‘White Supremacist’,” Real Clear Investigations May 26, 2022.