Editorial: High regard for military

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Little is known so far about the 32-year-old man who stormed a restaurant in Carson City, Nev., Tuesday morning and shot a group of uniformed National Guard members with an AK-47. As of Tuesday afternoon, the death count included two Guardsmen and one civilian. He seriously injured several more people, shot himself and later died. He had no known ties to the military or the restaurant, an IHOP.
Authorities are investigating whether military members were targeted.
Whatever motivated this disturbed person, the military should rest assured that most Americans hold members of the Armed Forces in high regard and are far more likely to thank them than attack them.
In a Harvard University survey of youths in 2007, the U.S. military came out on top when respondents were asked how often they trusted various institutions to do the right thing. They trusted the military 53 percent of the time, compared to the president at 30 percent (George W. Bush at the time), Congress 32 percent of the time and the media (alas) 13 percent of the time.
Every branch of the Armed Forces plays a pivotal role, and the Army National Guardís participation in recent wars has been greater than most people would have predicted. At one point in 2005, Army National Guard brigades made up more than half of the United Statesí combat brigades in Iraq ó the Army Guardís largest combat role since World War II, according to the Guardís website. It also plays a key role in homeland security and disaster relief.
The Air National Guard has also plays a pivotal role in protecting the nation, providing the majority of the aircraft that responded to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001; flying more than 4,000 airlift sorties in relief efforts after hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita.
So why would someone shoot at a group of National Guard members enjoying their breakfast? Early reports suggest it was an aberration for shooter Eduardo Sencion and for the National Guard ó another fatal mix of mental instability and high-powered weaponry. Thatís a tragic way for anyone to die.