Any kind of violence against an innocent person is obviously disturbing. But there is — and should be — particular alarm when the target of an attack is a law officer. While we are all created equal, an attack on law enforcement is an attack on public order and on society itself. It merits strong condemnation and firm prosecution.
It was reported that Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Gordon Roberts was shot at Saturday night while he was in his car on Interstate 24 near the Fourth Avenue exit in Chattanooga. He was performing traffic-control duties, with his emergency lights flashing. He heard a loud noise and two of the windows in his patrol car shattered. Authorities suspect the shots came from the nearby East Lake Courts public housing project.
The trooper was not wounded, but clearly there might have been a tragically different outcome.
This incident comes just weeks after the April 2 gunning down of Chattanooga Police Sgt. Tim Chapin during an armed robbery on Brainerd Road. A suspect faces murder and other charges in that case.
An appropriately vigorous investigation is also under way in this latest shooting at the Highway Patrol trooper. Violence against law enforcement officers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.