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All violent extremists deserve punishment

If the authorities are correct in their allegations against a group accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the 13 men ought to be viewed with a mixture of horror and disgust.

Real Americans do not attempt to change society or government by force. Those who do so should be punished regardless of their ideology.

State and federal authorities arrested two groups of men allegedly planning to commit violent acts in Michigan. Six of them are accused of planning to kidnap Whitmer. Seven others are said to have been planning an armed assault on the Michigan Capitol in Lansing.

A common theme runs through the rhetoric of both groups. It is a complaint that Whitmer has exercised “uncontrolled power” in her orders meant to combat COVID-19. But she has not. Just a few days ago, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled she had exceeded her authority and that she had exercised power unconstitutionally. Whitmer is bound to obey the court’s rulings.

In addition, Michigan voters can overrule her. A campaign to recall her has been launched. Her current term ends Dec. 31, 2022.

We tend to label extremists as either “right-wing” or “left-wing.” Those in Michigan probably fall into the former category. Those involved in rioting in some of the nation’s cities, with some chanting “Death to America” are in the latter group.

But violent extremists’ end game matters less than their method. Those committed to violence, whether in an attempt to bring anarchy to our cities or to remove an unpopular governor, should be arrested and punished.

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