Letter: The Bulger killing: Church teachingson evil; fears of the British public; family failings

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The Independent Online
Sir: When you are a child and other people have control over your life, it gives you pleasure to have control over something smaller than yourself - a hamster, kitten, dog, or younger brother or sister.

And when you have control over them, it makes you feel good. You can be kind to them, take care of them, or boss them around and bully them. That gives pleasure, too. The odd burst of cruelty can give even more pleasure.

Grown-ups try to push this aspect of their own natures to the backs of their minds. But there is something in all of us that takes pleasure from inflicting cruelty on those more helpless than ourselves. Not now of course, now we are civilised, rational adults. But what about when we were young?

While criminologists and psychologists wrestle with the question of why two young boys tortured and killed James Bulger, I can give them the answer. They did it because it gave them pleasure.

Yours faithfully,

BARBARA O'BRIEN

Hale, Altrincham

Cheshire

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