Traverse City Record-Eagle

Other Views

May 13, 2014

Another View: Justice, of a sort, in the 'affluenza' case

The wheels of justice can turn in very odd ways, and so it is the situation with the infamous “affluenza” case that sparked national outrage and introduced an apt new term into our vocabulary.

As in the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder case, the criminal court couldn’t seem to deliver justice for the victims. But in civil court, where money is the salve, the outcome was different.

And in the affluenza case, there is a powerful message for parents — don’t act like your child’s friend, act like the adult.

Ethan Couch is a supremely coddled 17-year-old Texas teen who reportedly never faced a penalty, a grounding, nor a stern talking to from his parents for any of his misdeeds. Couch was driving drunk and speeding along at 70 mph in a 40 mph zone when he slammed his pickup into a group of people who were helping a woman with a stalled car. He killed four and injured 10. He had just stolen two cases of beer from a Wal-Mart along with seven of his pals.

It was the latest, and apparently the last, in a string of bad behavior by this Texas teen. Misdeeds in his life had progressed along a path that was headed for just such a tragedy. His parents let him live virtually unsupervised in their mansion, where wild teen parties and unlimited drinking were just part of life. He was protected from brushes with the law, and seemed to live above it.

One of experts at Couch’s trial, psychologist G. Dick Miller, coined the term “affluenza” to describe Couch’s life, an unusually cushioned life in which there were no consequences for anything. Miller now regrets introducing the term, but it certainly has crystallized a very real malady afflicting some of today’s youth ... and parents for that matter.

Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl