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News judgment
Sometimes it gets weird
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The first news item about a cat’s body being found in the bushes of a Great Bend neighborhood appeared as an item in the Tribune’s “On the Record” in October. It became a front-page story this week when the Humane Society of the United States offered a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.
It is chilling to think, as the evidence suggests, that someone amongst us caught a healthy cat – perhaps someone’s beloved pet – and decapitated the animal. The good thing about a national organization offering a substantial monetary reward is that if more than one person knows who killed the cat, there’s a good chance he or she will be willing to talk.
Such stories are rare in this community, but worth noting. Even so, it’s a strange feeling to spend time doing interviews, writing and editing a story about one dead cat, when there are human tragedies all around us. Officers in Great Bend, Barton County and nearby counties are busy investigating two hit-and-run fatalities, and several crimes that are usually just listed on public logs as “sex offenses.”
Over the years, we’ve reported on all kinds of news – sometimes even happy news. If you live here long enough, you’ll probably get your name in the Great Bend Tribune – for being on a school honor roll, for getting married or divorced, for celebrating a milestone or for being in a fender bender. It’s a chronicle of what’s going on, big and small, good and bad. And few stories get more attention from our readers than when bad things happen to animals.
Meanwhile, many deliberate acts of kindness go on daily with little fanfare. Lunches are served at the “soup kitchen” and families are given aid by our churches, relief organizations and ordinary people.
So, while it can be a weird feeling to work on a story about one dead cat, knowing there are “bigger” things going on, it’s all part of the local news.