Let's All Stop Embarrassing Texas Now, Please
|Photo by Tax Credits via flickr|
Thanks (again) to our court system, "Affluenza" is now a real, and really embarrassing, thing we're responsible for.
Freaking "Affluenza." Nothing is particularly funny about this national headline coming out of Texas either, especially when you take into consideration that this story involves a North Texas teen driving under the influence, killing innocent people, and getting off because of his "dysfunctional relationship with money/wealth, or the pursuit of it."
But if you've been living under a rock and haven't heard of the Texas Affluenza epidemic, here's the gist. Sixteen-year-old Ethan Couch, who happens to be from a family with a ton of money, drove not only drunk, but with Vicodin and THC in his system, killing four people and injuring two more in the process. The truck in which Couch was speeding was owned by his father's company, and he had stolen beer sitting in the truck bed. Pretty simple, right?
Not so much. Couch got off with ten years probation and some time in Newport Academy, a treatment facility where he'll have access to the beach and recreational activities -- and that also costs $450,000 a year, by the way -- all because of a clever interpretation of the term "affluenza." See, Couch admitted guilt during his trial, but his defense team went with the defense that Couch should get off lightly for the crime since his wealthy upbringing caused "affluenza," a condition in which his wealth led him to believe that his actions had no consequences.
But perhaps Couch's defense team was onto something with the "affluenza" defense, considering the teen had received two prior alcohol citations in February 2013 where speed was a factor as well -- think 89 mph in a 40 mph zone -- and he received a very light punishment for those, too. Receiving community service and alcohol awareness classes for speeding -- while drinking underage, no less -- sure is a slap on the wrist, but that's exactly what Couch got. Four months later, Couch killed four people while speeding and drunk, and now gets to spend a year in a posh treatment center on the beach. Affluenza sure is a tough ailment to deal with, eh?
Way to reiterate that affluenza illness the kid is plagued with, Texas courts. And way to reiterate every backwards Texas stereotype to the rest of the nation, too. We sure do appreciate it.