By now everyone has heard of Ethan Couch, a fatuous, drunk 16-year-old young man who recklessly destroyed the lives of five people and their families.
Outside of Texas this horribly common tragedy would have gone largely unnoticed if it weren’t for the driver’s inexplicably lenient “punishment” for causing the death of four pedestrians and the permanent paralyzation of a passenger who was riding in the bed of the truck: rehab and 10 years probation rather than the 20 years in prison for aggravated vehicular manslaughter.
According to Daily Mail:
The public outrage however isn’t directed at the perpetrator, the person behind the wheel who chose to drink and drive. The anger is aimed at the judicial system which blatantly excused the egregious crime.
Psychologist Dr Gary Miller was brought in for the trial – an “expert” whose testimony Ethan’s parents had the financial resources to secure for their son’s defense. Dr Miller boldly held Ethan’s parents accountable for their child’s unfortunate behavior saying, “The teen never learned to say that you’re sorry if you hurt someone. If you hurt someone, you sent him money.” Obviously this wasn’t the first time Ethan hurt someone, and most definitely not the first (or last) time his parents paid for his privilege. Miller invented a clever and extremely offensive diagnosis which neatly summed up why Ethan should not be held accountable for his unfortunate actions – affluenza.
As offensive as the idea that being a spoiled brat can extenuate a crime, even more appalling is the abject malfeasance of Texas District Judge Jean Boyd who accepted “affluenza” as a justifiable excuse to send the kid to rehab rather than prison.
After a firm finger wag like that, Ethan will most certainly mend his ways.
Ethan’s parents are unquestionably terrible parents and are largely to blame for their son’s criminal lack of empathy, personal responsibility and remorse. If Ethan’s naughtiness is their fault, why aren’t they being sent to prison for creating such a child? Or perhaps society itself is to be blamed as we are complicit with a judicial system that often and blatantly proffers preferential treatment to the white and wealthy.
The point is moot. A person who deserved to be confined for the safety of others has simply learned that money buys freedom. The parents who raised a son to believe that he isn’t responsible for his actions have proven that it’s true. Individuals and families who suffer at the greasy, entitled hands of the wealthy will continue to suffer.
One can only hope that, when Ethan gets behind the wheel of the new truck his wealthy parents will surely give him, he kills only himself.