NEIL Mackay asks near the end of his article ("Schadenfreude and karma are one thing – wishing Trump dead quite another", The Herald, October 6): isn't it morally wrong to reward cruelty with kindness? He admits that there is a darkness in all of our hearts but we have the power to stop ourselves acting on our worst instincts. I thought he was going to continue by giving us a rehash of the Sermon on the Mount.

Why is Mr Mackay even asking this question? He quotes our grandmothers' wisdom – if you can't find anything nice to say about someone don't say anything at all. Our grandmothers, however, would have absorbed this reactive attitude by having been taught the proactive wisdom of the Sermon on the Mount at school or Sunday school: love your enemies (even the enemies in your heart), do good to those who hate you.. do unto others what you would like done to yourselves (Matthew chapters 5-7).

Even if they didn't actually succeed in doing good to those who hated them, they would know better than to ask a question about rewarding cruelty with kindness. They knew it was an ethic to aspire to even if success in doing this was a struggle.

So it is actually morally right to reward cruelty with kindness. Grandmothers may not all pass down this wisdom and if we don't take our own point of reference from the moral code of the Bible then we make up our own standards and may pander to those worst instincts which Mr Mackay wishes us to stop acting on. If we only love those who love us and do not aim to be kind to the cruel we are then no different from those animals which Neil reckons we are elevated above.

Irene Munro (ordained local minister, Ross Presbytery), Conon Bridge.


AMIDST all the Covid-19 gloom and pending further restrictions, I found it a pleasure to read the report that Dennistoun was ranked eighth coolest place in the world in a Time Out magazine survey ("Playing it cool earns Dennistoun a place on world list of top areas", The Herald, October 7, and Letters, October 8). Coincidentally I had recently read Tales from the Back Green, a semi-biographical account of actor Bill Paterson's boyhood years in Dennistoun.

How Dennistoun managed to avoid the indiscriminate wrecking ball of Glasgow's slum clearance project was also featured in a BBC documentary The Secret History of Our Streets", which like your article was inspired by a group of Duke Street-led community activists.

As for the current health pandemic and the scientific search for a vaccine, a successful outcome will also be dependent on the same spirit of community.

William Maley, Ayr.


IT has been reported that Polly Jenkins, the director of Wonder Woman, has said that cinema will become extinct if Covid restrictions continue. The last time we were at the cinema, we had to walk over a carpet of spilt popcorn and sugary drinks which had been ground into the carpet. The smell of food was disgusting and the volume of sound within the auditorium made us want to wear ear protectors, even that did not drown out people talking or phones ringing.

All in all, an experience that I have no great desire to rush back to despite having a two for one bonus offer with my car insurance.

Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.