Introducing Affluenza to the System

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There’s no possibility for a happy ending once a tragedy has occurred. And the tragedy occurred at the very beginning of this story, when Ethan Couch killed four people while drunk driving on June 15th, 2013.

The tragedy continued when Ethan Couch was given just a slap on the wrist for the four deaths, because his lawyers argued that he was too rich and spoiled to understand the consequences of his actions. The psychologist labeled it “affluenza,” and the legal system bought the excuse. People nationwide were outraged, but there was little they could do. Ethan Couch had gotten away with causing the deaths of four people through his abhorrent behavior.

It should be instantly obvious that there is no excuse for drunk driving, but affluenza was a particularly terrible lie, because:

  • Allowing a person to evade responsibility to teach them about responsibility will not teach anything.
  • The wealthy should not be held less responsible for their actions.
  • Ethan Couch’s parents had obviously failed to have a positive effect on him, leaving it up to the court to make clear the awfulness of his actions, only to have the court fail to do its duty.

As expected, the court’s slap on the wrist had little effect on Mr. Couch, who recently violated his parole by getting drunk at a party. Rather than face punishment for his parole violation, he fled with his mom to Mexico, making it clear his mother still has no desire for him to learn responsibility. Thankfully, he was caught in Mexico, and should be extradited, yielding a happier ending than Mr. Couch getting away with it entirely.

Few drunk drivers are willing to take responsibility for their actions. They always want to be let off easy, even when they caused injury or death to others. Mr. Couch is just an extreme example of a common response. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed by a drunk driver, please contact a qualified attorney who can help you hold them responsible.