Like many people I have been shocked by the court case involving the two brothers who tortured two boys because they 'were bored' and had nothing else to do. Why could they do it? It appears they had been expelled from school and allowed to run free and do what they want. They had actually been taken away from their parents and were living with foster parents at the time so someone was taking an interest in them and their behaviour. However I can't see anyone could blame the foster parents as the damage had already been done before then. Their parents didn't care about them and they could watch violent DVDs and smoke cannabis and drink alcohol.
If you contrast this case with the one of the mother who fled to Ireland when she was pregnant because she had been told she was not intelligent enough to bring up a child. Even going to Ireland didn't help because the child was taken away from her at birth by Irish social services acting on behalf of the UK authorities.
Why the difference in the two cases? Both stories raise worrying issues such as - should there be a test parents have to sit before being allowed to have children; all children of parents whose IQ is below a certain level should be take a way at birth; forcible sterilisation of the unfit - horrible shades of 1930s Eugenics. There are so many ethical dilemmas here and even though the two brothers are clearly seriously disturbed they are still human beings and even in the days of the death penalty we did not hang children. What can we do - or should we do - to ensure all children have the best possible upbringing and the chance to make the best of whatever abilities they have?
You can't even say that the well off and more intelligent make better parents because child abuse is no respecter of class or wealth and as far as I can see has always happened. Parents from every section of society can be neglectful and ignore their children. Is there an answer? Or is it, as ever, a situation of looking at each case on its merits and hoping to God someone gets it right at least some of the time?