By now you have probably seen the infuriating story that has been reported on every major news outlet and social media site in the world. Texas teenager Ethan Couch, who stole beer from Walmart, drove drunk, and crashed into a disabled vehicle k!lling four innocent people, has been given a sentence of 10 years of probation and no jail time.
His defense team claimed that his “affluenza” made it so that he was not responsible for his actions. They said that because he had privileged and rich parents that he was never given limits or taught right from wrong. Apparently the defense worked because he will not be serving any jail time for k!lling four people and injuring 11.
Is affluenza a real thing? The technical definition of it is: “a psychological malaise supposedly affecting wealthy young people, symptoms of which include a lack of motivation, feelings of guilt, and a sense of isolation”. It does not appear in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).
A psychology professor from Arizona State University says that for a coddled child who is given no boundaries or limits, it is too late by the time they are 16. They think that they can do anything and will most likely have developed impulse control issues.
Not all wealthy parents raise children with no limits, but the kids that grow up like this have a much easier time of getting into trouble, according to experts. They have the money and the resources for drugs, alcohol, and fast cars. They have a lot of access to dealers and other resources that kids who come from lower income families do not have.
Does this mean that these kids shouldn’t be punished when they do something wrong and they can just blame it on the fact that their parents have money and they don’t know what limits are? If a teenager from a lower middle class family did the same thing, you can almost bet that their upbringing wouldn’t excuse them from punishment.
What do you think? Is this just another way that the system is prejudice against the poor?