Ethan Couch the teenager who avoided jail time in the 2013 drunk driving deaths of four people was sentenced to two years in jail due to violating the terms of his parole. His case drew the immediate attention and indignation of the world when his defense attorneys and psychologist cited “affluenza” as the reason for his innocence. Affluenza is a term that has become increasingly more apparent in our culture and it refers to the moral ambiguity and malaise facing children of privileged wealthy individuals. His attorneys successfully argued on the heels of this newly recognized social disorder affecting essentially, spoiled children of well-to-do families.
The country became outraged when Couch received little more than a slap on the wrist getting 10 years probation and court ordered therapy. To make matters even more insulting the state of Texas taxpayers footed most of the bill for his luxurious $200,00 rehab treatment stay in the serene and tranquil settings of one of California’s premier rehab facilities. Doesn’t sound like much of a consequence for killing 4 people and seriously injuring several others. His parents were originally ordered to cover the costs of treatment, but when they said they were incapable the taxpayers of Texas were left holding the bag.
Couch was 16 years old when he stole several cases of beer from Walmart and was driving 70 mph in a 40 mph speed zone in his Ford F-350 pickup, while under the influence of Xanax and a blood alcohol level more than three times the limit before he slammed head on with an oncoming vehicle.
Back in Trouble Again
Couch decided to fly in wanton disregard of the law once more when he was spotted in a video on social media consuming alcohol, violating the terms of his probation. Instead of facing the consequences of his actions Couch fled with his mother to Mexico where they were ultimately captured and ordered to go back before a judge to face sentencing for the transgression. Couch was finally handed some semblance of justice when he was sentenced for two years in jail, breaking down to 180 days for each one of his four victims who died as a result of his negligence behind the wheel.
Reckless driving seems to be something that runs in the DNA of the Couch family. Both his mother and father have an extensive history of criminal behavior with multiple driving infractions involving alcohol among other charges. Ethan Couch may legitimately be someone who is the unfortunate byproduct of poor parenting and elitist entitlement. This however is still no excuse for killing multiple people with reckless abandon in the most irresponsible of ways humanly possible.
Affluenza an Excuse?
The fact that this gross miscarriage of justice played out the way it did speaks to some highly disturbing elements in our criminal courts. Upon researching about this case for the first time I found myself constantly questioning about what whether or not what I was reading was actually real. It seems so absurd and preposterous it almost can’t be true. What’s even more disconcerting is the message that this now sends to young children of affluent families across America. Do you think they will follow in the footsteps of Ethan Couch after seeing this mockery of the judicial process of our country?