As of April 2nd, the teen known for his ‘affluenza’ defense in court after killing four and critically injuring nine in a drunk driving accident is set to be released after only two years in prison.
Not even for the crime itself, but for violating probation.
The killer, Ethan Couch was determined by his defense to have ‘affluenza’ a term to describe living in such immense privilege and wealth that he couldn’t determine right from wrong.
But all that means is that his parents didn’t raise him properly and no one apparently ever bothered to teach him that driving drunk and murdering others was a bad thing.
Riches can be a blinding force and life and the idea of it in itself is very tempting but money doesn’t keep you from learning morals and ethics. That’s something his parents should’ve taught him from the very beginning.
That should be obvious.
But it still managed to fly right over his mother’s head.
The parent, Tonya Couch is known for her attempt to flee the country with her son to Mexico once a video of him at a beer pong party circulated, going against his probation.
Not only that, but her bond was rejected after she was discovered to have faked an analysis test for drugs.
So, it seems this is a family case.
But in all honesty, the term ‘Affluenza’ itself is practically a slap in the face to all those who were hurt or had their lives cut off short by this crime.
Because it leaves the perpetrator devoid of guilt.
It excuses his actions and lets him get off with little to no consequences, it creates a figure to pity rather than to reprimand.
Wealth is what allows Ethan to continuously escape punishment when others would be persecuted, time and time again, money and greed are able to try to sculpt out a pitiful boy in a mansion rather than an entitled, self-absorbed killer.
However, wealth only took him part of the way.
The father has crimes of his own, and the mother is practically a cartoon villain who can somehow manage to use her wealth to get out of any situation where she may actually face consequences for her actions.
It’s almost like, money fosters corruption.
But that could never happen, right?
Except it has.
It happens all the time actually.
Literally half the villains in animated films are people molded by the possibility or reality of riches and opulence into monsters.
Constantly in the news we see reports of our own politicians – our own president – the models and figures of our country embodying this idea.
The Couch family is just another example.
‘Affluenza’ is meant to be a get out of jail free card for a murderer who, with the blood of four people on his hands, can escape punishment by entitlement and privilege alone.
People have been given the death penalty for murdering one person.
This boy gets two years for killing four.
Money in itself isn’t a corrupting force, it’s an object that can substantially improve your living conditions and life yes, but it isn’t inherently corrupting.
It’s the people who are.
When given that possibility of power, they are the ones to abuse it and those around them to their advantage.
The Couch family are not an example of being ‘blinded by wealth’ or ‘devoid of right and wrong but their privilege and upbringing’ they’re an example of modern corruption and the blurring of ethics in today’s society not by their opulence, but by their own hand.
And they’re only one of many examples.