Every group has extremists, and from time to time one of them does something so extreme it shocks nearly everyone.
Current example: Meredith Lowell, an animal-rights activist from Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Earlier this week, Lowell was charged with soliciting a hit man to kill someone - nearly anyone, it appears - who happened to be wearing fur.
The plot line reads like something from the pen of a Hollywood scriptwriter.
Investigators say that Lowell, 27, offered an FBI undercover agent $730 to shoot or stab a random fur-wearer so that Lowell could then hand out flyers promoting her animal-rights agenda.
The FBI found out about the plot in November, when an informant reported the Facebook page Lowell allegedly created to solicit the hit.
According to an FBI affidavit filed nine days ago, Lowell used the alias "Anne Lowery." She allegedly wrote that the ideal hit man would live in northeast Ohio.
An FBI employee, posing as a potential candidate for the job, began negotiating with Lowell via e-mail.
One of the e-mails from Lowell, included in the affidavit, offers a chilling glimpse at what she wanted:
"You need to bring a gun that has a silencer on it and that can be easily concealed in your pants pocket or coat," she wrote. "If you do not want to risk the possibility of getting caught with a gun before the job, bring a sharp knife that is [at least] 4 inches long, it should be sharp enough to stab someone and/or slit their throat to kill them. I want the person to be dead in less than 2 minutes."