A widely cited list of extremist violence since 9/11 added the San Bernardino shooting last week, making 2015 the dealiest year for jihadist violence since 9/11.
In the wake of the Charleston, South Carolina church shooting in June, the New America Foundation’s list of domestic terror attacks got a lot of attention from the mainstream media. The New York Times wrote, “Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims.”
NPR highlighted the same comparison in an interview with Peter Bergen, a journalist who oversees the list for New America Foundation (NAF). Bergen told NPR, “We found that there were, you know, 26 deaths that are attributable to jihadist terrorists since 9/11…And we found 48 attributable to people with extreme right-wing, racist or antigovernment views.”
But the nearly 2:1 ratio of attacks was short-lived. The additional death toll from shootings in San Bernardino, CA and at military recruiting centers in Chattanooga, TN means there have been 19 deaths associated with Islamic jihadism in 2015, the most in any single year since 9/11.
According to NAF, 45 people have been killed by jihadists since 9/11, while 48 have been killed by “right-wing” terrorists, including three people killed at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado last month.
As Breitbart News has pointed out before, there are some problems with the NAF list. For instance, the list of right-wing killers includes Joseph Stack, despite a suicide note/manifesto that criticized George Bush, organized religion, America and, finally, quoted the communist manifesto and criticized capitalism. Stack was clearly anti-government, but it seems less clear he was anyone’s idea of right wing.
More significantly, the NAF list of jihadist attacks omits several honor killings and at least one religiously motivated murder on American soil. The most dubious omission from the list is the 17 people murdered by the Beltway Sniper duo in 2002. John Muhammad was convicted of terrorism charges in Virginia, where he was later executed. His accomplice, Lee Malvo, made multiple drawings in jail mentioning “jihad” and praising Osama bin Laden.
One improvement has been made to the list in the last 18 months or so. NAF removed a shooting by Joshua Cartwright in 2009, which stemmed from a domestic violence incident. Cartwright killed two police officers who tried to arrest him. His wife later claimed he was upset by the election of Barack Obama. If that sounds like a stretch, I guess NAF decided it was too.
Breitbart News contacted NAF to ask about their inclusion of Stack as a right-wing killer and their omission of the Beltway sniper attacks. They did not respond in time to be included in this article.