---- — They are stories that grab your attention even without big, bold headlines. The story can hold up on its own, then spread like wildfire — or go viral, as the kids say today — and then it's all over the world, literally.
5-year-old kindergartner with pink bubble gun suspended from school.
Tree house must be razed.
Family fears cat killer.
Those headlines hook you, force you to read more. More often than not, however, those stories seem to lead to the same, inevitable question: What are some people thinking?
Such as, what was the person who shot a kitten with a pink collar thinking? In what part of the world is this an acceptable practice?
We live in a part of the country where hunting is an accepted way of life. People shoot things lawfully; they head to local creeks and rivers and catch things lawfully. There are also farmers who save their crops by, at times, eliminating nuisance animals from fields.
While some may still view those practices as a bit outdated, they are legal, acceptable and, in some instances, necessary.
Shooting cats with pink collars does not fit into any of those categories.
No one is more appalled when something like this happens than those law-abiding sportsmen who understand ignorance has given something they enjoy a black eye.
This is not another argument about someone's right to own a gun, nor the government's attempts to limit the number of rounds in a clip. It's a matter of human decency, respect for your neighbors and public safety.
The unidentified shooter did more than just kill a beloved pet. Three-year-old Nevaeh Good will have other pets — people are already calling to offer new kittens. But now the family lives in fear, including fear of even going into their own backyard.
"We're afraid," said Ashley Good, Nevaeah's mother. "This an area where our 3-year-old played all the time. It's just scary that it could happen on our property."
Now that school is out for the summer, children are playing in backyards all over the Valley, including many who play with their pets. What if the shooter saw a cat running across the backyard and didn't look five steps behind the animal to see a toddler running to play?
It's scary to think about. And it leads back to the initial question.
What are they thinking? Well, maybe they aren't.