Military a strong pull in this economy

The military remains a popular employment choice for young people today, and the poor economy is probably helping steer many through its recruitment centers.

The Army and all the other branches of the military met recruiting goals in 2008, the first time that’s happened since 2004. As unemployment numbers continue to rise across the nation, the military and its promise of steady pay, good benefits, and money for college become very attractive.

“Basically, it’s a guaranteed job, and even after you’re out they take care of you,” said Brand Lenhart, a 23-year-old Sylva resident we interviewed for a story last week about military recruiting.

Aside from the economy, another factor is probably helping recruitment — President Barack Obama’s promise to end the war in Iraq and the declining violence in that country over the last year.

Some join the military out of tradition or a duty to country, but many others sign up because it’s a steady job. For many reasons, military service remains a part of growing up for many Americans. The discipline and rigor expected of those in the military are worthwhile lessons for almost any youth. And employers generally look favorably on those who have military experience, seeing in them people who understand how to take orders and know the value of hard work.

We hope that congressional leaders continue to pass measures to make sure we pay our soldiers a fair wage and that we take care of them and their dependents, for their service is vital to our country.

In this economy, the popular recruiting slogan, “Uncle Sam Wants You,” may easily get turned on its head. Many young people want — and need — Uncle Sam so they can count on a good job with good benefits.


Questions for the high sheriff

Swain County Sheriff Curtis Cochran should be more open about the incident where he fired his gun at an escapee.

Cochran shot at the vehicle of an escapee who had somehow gotten out a holding room and stolen a church van. The man had been charged with eluding arrest and drug possession when he found his way out of a holding cell at the Swain County Courthouse.

Cochran was elected sheriff in Swain County in 2006. He does not have a law enforcement background and hasn’t had Basic Law Enforcement Training, a pre-requisite for being hired for a job as a patrolman in even the state’s smallest municipalities.

The escapee was unhurt and was later captured. But shooting one’s weapon at anyone is a serious matter, and Cochran at this point is keeping too much about the incident quiet. He says the escape from the holding cell is under investigation, but the shooting is not.

We believe the SBI should be called in to assess whether the sheriff department’s response to the escape was handled properly.

The people of Swain County voted Cochran in, but that doesn’t put him above the law. Citizens need to know that the county’s highest ranking law enforcement officer is carrying out his duties with the professionalism the job demands. Anything less is not acceptable, besides being potentially dangerous.

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