x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

At what age can children safely be left on their own?

Letter writers comment on the boy who hanged himself by accident, and on the decision of Dubai Municipality to demolish derelict buildings. Other comments include: revisionist history of the Arab-Israeli war in 1973, and the brutal torturing of a cat.

Multiple airgun wounds inflicted on Mickey, shown here after surgery, led one letter-writer to call for punishment when the shooter is caught, but another letter emphasises psychological treatment. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Multiple airgun wounds inflicted on Mickey, shown here after surgery, led one letter-writer to call for punishment when the shooter is caught, but another letter emphasises psychological treatment. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

I read with great sadness the story about the accidental death of the 12-year-old boy playing superheroes (Boy hanged himself 'by accident', October 5). My deepest sympathies go out to his family.

After another recent terrible tragedy, the case of the 5-year-old who fell out of the window and died, followed by his distraught mother, the police have urged parents not to leave children unattended.

But this brings up an important and tricky question. What age is considered old enough to be left at home alone? Even a 12- year-old sometimes just plays without considering the possible consequences of simple actions.

At what age can we say that childhood ends and the responsibilities and wisdom of adulthood start?

AJ Brown, Dubai

Don't let children be the victims

I refer to Tragic widow may have to leave (October 7).

These children and their mother should not be pawns. Regardless of what bad choices their father may have made, these children need our compassion and charity - and practical help.

When tragedy affects those far from home, we are so quick to respond. Let's do the same, if not more, in this instance!

Rebecca Lavallee, Abu Dhabi

Dubai should enforce law evenly

I congratulate Dubai Municipality for its initiative to promote safety by demolishing derelict buildings (Hundreds of empty buildings torn down, October 6).

However, some people openly and repeatedly flout local rules and laws on this subject without attracting punishment, even after people have tried to point out such violations to the authorities.

Pankaj Shah, Dubai

Item on 1973 war distorted history

I was interested in the item October 1973 war was glorious for Egypt in your Arabic News Digest (October 7).

The writer in the Egyptian paper Al Gomhuria certainly got carried away with revisionist history.

Which part was most glorious, I wonder: launching the war on the most solemn Jewish holy day or the Israeli counter-attack which ended up deep in Egypt or the much-higher Egyptian casualties?

Thank you for letting us know how Egyptian public opinion is being manipulated.

Thomas Hensher, US

Fine is not enough for cat torturer

After reading Brutal torture of cat shot 12 times (October 6) I was totally devastated to realise that there is a cruel sick person out there capable of committing such a terrible crime.

I believe such a person, so inhumane, must be treated like the worst of criminals and put in prison. A fine is just not enough.

I agree we need to work more in creating awareness, and enforcement to stop animal cruelty. But we also need to create a fund to help find and bring to justice those who mistreat or torture defenceless animals.

I hope Mickey's condition will improve.

Wilma Burton, Abu Dhabi

Torturing animals is, I believe, often a sign of serious mental problems. Sometimes young people who are capable of doing such things grow into adults who are capable of serious crimes against human beings.

So I hope that the person(s) who shot that poor cat can be found and given treatment, not just punishment.

Tina Donaldson, Abu Dhabi

Do not mock parents for caring

Rupert Wright (Economic siestas and box lunch notes (October 7) is too busy to make his kids' lunches but is mocking the desire for working parents to connect with their children during the day.

As a mother of twins who is often off to work before her children even wake up in the morning, I find that the Lunchbox Love Notes are a particularly convenient way for me to make a small yet meaningful connection to my children even though we are not together during the day.

I personalise each one, just as I do with purchased birthday cards. Does Wright think it is necessary to make homemade birthday cards to ensure creativity?

Faith Pascal, US

Whole quotation is more revealing

I have a comment on Scapegoats and deceivers: where the loyalties of leaders lie (October 7).

Your book reviewer should have recalled the complete quotation from Sir Henry Wotton: "An ambassador is a man of virtue sent to lie abroad for his country; a news-writer is a man without virtue who lies at home for himself."

Philip Bowler, Abu Dhabi