Let's begin, shall we?
Ethan Couch is a 16 year old from Texas who has very wealthy biological parents...but apparently no parents. He was convicted of killing four people and injuring eleven others while driving under the influence of alcohol. His attorney conjured up a brilliant defense in an effort to keep his client out of prison. He argued that Ethan Couch suffered from "affluenza" by claiming that his wealthy parents did not teach him right from wrong or that his behavior has consequences.
Think about that for a moment...
The biological parents paid an attorney to argue in open court that their decision to avoid doing their job as parents resulted in four deaths and eleven serious injuries. The attorney was supported by testimony from an expert witness. Psychologist G. Dick Miller testified for the defense that Couch suffered from "affluenza," a condition in which "his family felt that wealth bought privilege and there was no rational link between behavior and consequences." I smell a massive civil suit about to boil over where the jury will be repeatedly reminded of the parents' admitted criminal incompetence and depraved indifference. Yes...this is what happens when assholes reproduce.
Let's continue, shall we?
At a New Years Eve party way back when I was nineteen years old someone gave me something called a purple microdot. Those of you who know what that is can see where I'm going with this.
Purple microdot turned out to be a psychedelic drug that radically distorts reality. My teeth took on a metallic taste, my eyes turned black, the wallpaper seemed to be slowly flowing toward the floor, and the music was so loud I could see colored waves coming out of the speakers. At the time, the "affluenza" defense probably would have seemed perfectly logical. Today it sounds exactly like what it is: a desperate attempt to keep one's client from actually facing the consequences of his actions.
There's only one problem...
I can only assume Judge Jean Boyd had been indulging in psychedelic drugs because the affluenza defense seemed perfectly logical to her. Or...like all the other head cases who've graced the pages of this weblog, it's entirely possible that she simply doesn't place any value on the lives of the victims or the quality of life for those whom Ethan Couch didn't quite kill.
And now for Dr. Chicken Soup's assessment of "affluenza."
Contrary to what psychologist G. Dick Miller claims, Ethan Couch doesn't "suffer" from anything. His victims suffer. Affluenza isn't cancer or smallpox. It isn't a disease or a mental illness. Ethan Couch's criminal behavior is the direct result of his parent's criminal behavior. He was knowingly taught to place no value on the lives or the safety of others and that's what he did.
Consider the following...
A parent's duty to the rest of society is to transform an infant member of an aggressive, predatory species into a civilized, young adult, preferably by consistent role modeling. This fact should be written into the laws of every state in the country, but don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen. Paying an attorney and an expert witness to admit in criminal court that they chose to neglect that duty, and that their decision was the principle cause of the death and suffering in question should result in a very long prison term for the parents. That won't happen of course. America is a Christian nation where parents, like the Pope, are considered to be infallible.
As always folks...
Terrorists, mass murderers, serial killers, and all those considering such behavior can thank Ethan Couch's parents, their defense team, and Judge Jean Boyd for making it that much easier to rationalize that victims simply do not matter.
Stay out of the hot sun folks. And stay the hell away from microdot. It's not a pleasant buzz and it lasts about ten hours.