On Thursday I wrote an update about my mothers ongoing lawsuit where she is the defendant against false accusations. If you have not already read this post, please do so here. You might say I am taking advantage of this story to further my own goals — and you are right, in part. But my mother needs the help. And this story infuriates me.
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Wrong. Justice for the wealthy.
Late last year a 16-year-old Texas boy hit and killed 4 people while driving drunk. His defense hinged on so-called “affluenza,” by which he was said to have not learned proper behavior because he was raised in a wealthy household where bad behavior was not punished. Okay, I will buy that if his parents did not raise him well he might be a “worse” child. But to allow this to way in legal defense for murder? I am sorry, but this is wrong at a very fundamental level.
Privilege let him have all the fun I am sure he had without getting in serious trouble (until now). But in a civil society privilege absolutely CANNOT let him get away with murder. I don’t care who you are or where you come from – we all know drinking and driving is illegal. In fact, being from an affluent family he is far more likely to have received a good education and been taught the significant effects of impairment along with its potential legal consequences.
Rehabilitation over punishment makes sense to me on many levels. He should go to rehab. He should be taught how to be a normal member of society. Being a minor, he should be separated from his parents and should be put through a program to teach him responsibility and social awareness. He should not be given a reduced sentence. He should not be going to rehab at a gorgeous estate that costs a half million dollars. He should not be treated differently because of his privilege.
I am not a lawyer and I am not familiar with the minute details of the case – perhaps this punishment is fair in terms of the precedent of the legal system. But I can tell you this – a defense on “affluenza” should not even be an option – it should be unthinkable.
My mother is not rich and she will not have a world-class lawyer to get her out of this situation. But she does have a lawyer, and he does cost a lot of money. Help my campaign to support her financially. Donate now.
More on this topic:
Summary of Texas Teen’s Trial and “Affluenza” Defense (CNN)
Anderson Cooper questioning Teen’s Doctor (CNN)
BBC Daily Commute Podcast. “Affluenza” definition by the woman coining the term. (where I first heard the story). Story starts around 13:00.
The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence (by author Jessie H. O’Neill, person who coined “Affluenza”)