The righteous Lamanites knew a bad thing when they saw it. They knew they had to exterminate the Gadiantons, but the language here is interesting. Mormon records that they “did hunt” the robbers. Was this big game hunting? Was this just a sport? Obviously not, it was serious business.
The principle which we need to learn is that if secret societies are amongst us, they will remain unless society does everything in its power to get rid of them. Whether it is to declare martial law, hunt them as if they were animals, or starve them as was tried by the Nephites (3 Nephi 4:2-3)—something must be done to get rid of them. Otherwise, they will continue to hide in their secret places, conduct their secret business, and accomplish their evil designs. When it comes to secret combinations, putting up an apathetic resistance constitutes offering full support.