At The Federalist: If There’s A Theme To Extremism-Related Murders, It’s Environmentalism

Mar 3, 2023 | op-ed

Dr. John Lott has a new piece at The Federalist.

The Anti-Defamation League and much of the corporate media are intent on construing any racist as a conservative right-winger — but it’s not true.

Relying on a new report from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), news headlines claim: “All 25 U.S. extremism-related murders last year were linked to right-wing extremists.” The report received wide, uncritical coverage from outlets in the U.S. such as the Associated Press and worldwide in Canada, the United Kingdom, and India. But the ADL’s report is fatally flawed. It assumes that every racist is automatically a “right-winger.”

For example, 10 of the 25 extremist murders last year were by Payton Gendron in Buffalo. But he was anything but a “right-winger.” The Buffalo killer was yet another mass murderer motivated by environmentalism. 

In his writeup explaining this attack, the Buffalo mass murderer labeled himself an “eco-fascist national socialist” and a part of the “mild-moderate authoritarian left.” He worried minorities have too many children and that damages the environment. “The invaders are the ones overpopulating the world,” he claimed. “Kill the invaders, kill the overpopulation and by doing so save the environment.”

Gendron hated capitalists, whom he believed were destroying the environment and were at the root of much of the problem.

Overpopulation is hardly a core conservative issue. When did you hear a conservative politician calling on people to have fewer children? And while some Republicans support limiting international trade, it’s not for environmental reasons.

Left-Wing Killers

Anderson Lee Aldrich in Colorado Springs accounted for five more of these 25 murders. His attack occurred at an LGBTQ+ bar. The ADL report notes that he hosted a “white supremacist” website, which people falsely identify as “right-wing,” but the report conveniently leaves out that the murderer is nonbinary and uses the pronouns “they” and “them,” hardly something done by most conservatives.

All the other 10 murderers were criminals who killed one person each. While some of them were “white supremacists,” again, that doesn’t make them “right-wing.” One of the murderers may have been right-wing, but ADL says it doesn’t count that murder as “ideological,” and it was a husband killing his wife. Another was in the midst of a family dispute. In another case, a man allegedly involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot appears to have killed a woman while trying to commit suicide. And then one murder was clearly directed at left-wingers.

Unfortunately, the ADL has made a habit of misclassifying these murderers. Another notable example in 2019 was the El Paso Walmart mass murderer Patrick Crusius, who killed 23 of the 49 people that the ADL classifies as murdered by “extremists” that year. The New York Times and other news outlets may describe the El Paso murderer as having “echoed the incendiary words of conservative media stars” who have spoken out against illegal immigration, but his anti-immigrant views were rooted in his environmentalist beliefs and were identical to those of the Buffalo murderer’s.

For example, he wrote in his manifesto: “The decimation of the environment is creating a massive burden for future generations. … The next logical step is to decrease the number of people in America using resources. If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable.” He blamed companies for destroying the environment: “Corporations … also like immigration because more people means a bigger market for their products.” And he explicitly disassociated himself from President Donald Trump.

Both Crusius and Gendron made minorities their principal target. But they’ve done so out of a crazy environmentalist determination to reduce the human population by whatever means necessary. This echoes politicians on the left, not the right.

Media Silent on the Environmentalist Connection

The corporate media and politicians who constantly warn about the world’s imminent end can’t bring themselves to acknowledge the environmentalist connection, even though climate activists time and again agree that overpopulation is part of the problem. “It does lead, I think, young people to have a legitimate question: Is it OK to still have children?” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019. She also warned that the “world will end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change.”

Similarly, President Joe Biden fans the flames of alarmism when he claims that “climate change poses an existential threat to our lives. … This is code red.”

The Crime Prevention Research Center, of which I am the head, tracked 82 mass public shootings from January 1998 to May 2021, and it found only seven have known or alleged ties to any of the following: white supremacists, neo-Nazis, or anti-immigrant views. While there is a push by Biden and others to make the right seem like a threat to public safety, 73 percent of mass public shooters have no identifiable political views.

The Anti-Defamation League and much of the corporate media are intent on construing any racist as a conservative right-winger. But they aren’t. And if there’s any ideological cause that is sparking violence, it’s environmental and socialist extremism.

John R. Lott, Jr., “If There’s A Theme To Extremism-Related Murders, It’s Environmentalism,” The Federalist,




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