LETTER TO THE EDITOR: View column lacks answers to problem

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Tom O’Connor stated in his latest article [The Courier, June 8]: “We have collectively failed when we have to send a 14-year-old schoolboy to jail for robbing and killing a shopkeeper”.
If he feels we have failed, then it would be helpful if he suggested what we should do with the boy instead.
Uplifting babies from parents who have drunk and/or taken drugs throughout the pregnancy is an “ambulance at the bottom of the cliff” approach, unfortunately, because by then the foetal alcohol damage is done, and it is irreversible.
While the symptoms of foetal alcohol syndrome are pronounced enough for this condition to be diagnosable, if the damage to a foetus from alcohol is less severe, then there won’t necessarily be the clearly recognisable symptoms such as the unique facial features.
Children who sustain a lower level of alcohol damage in the womb may struggle with behavioural and learning difficulties all their lives without it being known that the reason is due to foetal alcohol damage.
The solution to cleaning up society’s bad habits is education, apparently; and when education fails, it is because the message isn’t getting through, they say.
No-one is going to admit that the naughty behaviour might mostly be the result of a flawed personality – we all have these flaws, to lesser or larger degrees.
What is more, the incidence of narcissistic personality disorder is at epidemic proportions worldwide – that won’t be helping.
I think Tom’s suggestion that dairy owners stop selling cigarettes is a fantastic idea.
Adriane Hitchens, Timaru

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