Last June, four people were killed when a pickup-truck slammed into pedestrians on a Texas road. The pickup also slammed into a parked car, which slid into a vehicle headed in the opposite direction. At the wheel was 16-year-old Ethan Couch, a drunk teenager who will serve no time for killing four people because he’s a product of too much privilege and can’t be expected to know right from wrong. That’s the argument his defense attorneys made – and the judge bought it. Couch suffers from “Affluenza.”
Translation: he’s got enough money and the right skin color to make this all disappear.
A psychologist confirmed ‘affluenza’ exists, claiming Couch was the product of wealthy parents who never set limits for the boy. Right. He couldn’t be expected to thrive in that environment – what with all that money and privilege. Judge Jean Boyd sentenced the boy to 10 years probation. He will serve no jail time for killing four people.
In addition to the four pedestrians he killed, two people that were riding in the back of his truck were severely injured. One is no longer able to talk or move thanks to a brain injury and the other suffered broken bones and internal injuries.
Eric Boyles lost his wife and daughter in the crash. He told Anderson Cooper:
“Let’s face it. … There needs to be some justice here…
There are absolutely no consequences for what occurred that day,” said Boyles. “The primary message has to absolutely be that money and privilege can’t buy justice in this country.”
Defense attorney Scott Brown asserts, ”There is nothing the judge could have done to lessen the suffering for any of those families.” Shut up. I seriously doubt any of those families want you speaking for them.
‘Affluenza.’ This makes my blood boil. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for the families who have lost loved ones. This sentence is a slap in the face. Now we’re claiming all the privilege and resources someone has are actually a handicap? I can’t imagine the reverse tactic would work – although it makes more sense. Lesser criminals are constantly sentenced for smaller crimes than Couch committed – and could certainly blame a lack of resources and support on their decisions. Somehow that doesn’t go over as well. A writer for The Root put it best in his article, If This Rich Kid Suffers From ‘Affluenza,’ Than We’ve All Got ‘Negrobetes’:
If Couch has such a problem with being wealthy, then he should try being poor. ..
While I don’t want to make light of a serious situation, it is hard not to when a judge makes a joke of a criminal trial. A white kid claiming affluenza gets probation, while a young black kid, if found guilty of the same crime, couldn’t argue that he suffers from a combination of societal and parental neglect and that his situation should afford him the luxury of mischief. He would learn his lesson staring down the barrel of two to 20 years in prison, the normal sentence for a crime of this magnitude.