You may have heard about this sixteen-year-old who killed four people in a terrible and bloody drunk driving accident; his claim to infamy is that he is not serving any jail time for his deplorable actions, all because he (supposedly) suffers from “affluenza.” If you’ve never heard of that, don’t worry, you’re not alone; it isn’t recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, and a multitude of psychiatrists don’t even believe in its existence. A diagnosis of this “disease” implies that one can literally get away with murder, simply because they are rich -or, you know, affluent, like the name- and don’t know any better than to take and take despite all they have.
This kid (who, just to reiterate, killed four people while driving under the influence of alcohol) was diagnosed with affluenza, and was able to get out of any jail time because of his debilitating illness. He was excused by the psychologist assigned to his legal team, who claimed that he “never learned to say that you’re sorry if you hurt someone… If you hurt someone, you sent him money… He never learned that sometimes you don’t get your way… He had the cars and he had the money. He had freedoms that no young man would be able to handle.” Apparently, the Texas judge agreed, and sentenced the young man to rehab and 10 years of probation.
Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon was not satisfied with this situation, however, and is working hard to get the young man behind bars. In an email sent to the town newspaper, Shannon was quoted as saying, “During his recent trial, the 16-year-old admitted his guilt in four cases of intoxication manslaughter and two cases of intoxication assault. There has been no verdict formally entered in the two intoxication assault cases. Every case deserves a verdict.” If the court follows through with action concerning this statement, that might very well mean that the young man will find himself behind bars, after all.
And that prospect isn’t the only trouble facing him and his parents. The bill that the parents promised to foot for the swanky rehab center the defense team opted for (rather than the state-run facility where the young man might not “get proper care”) might fall through in the face of the multiple lawsuits that are bombarding the boy’s parents. Whatever happens, it certainly looks like tough times ahead for the young man and his family. It really is terrible to see the effects of affluenza in action.
Image via this YouTube video.