|[Clockwise from top left]: |
Brian Jennings, Breanna Mitchell,
Hollie and Shelby Boyles
I remember being in high school and the nearly weekly weekend parties at someone’s house whose parents were out of town, out for dinner, or just upstairs ignoring us. There was almost always alcohol, there was always a drunk girl or guy throwing up; there was always drama.
My parents had a theory, though. They knew about the booze, and knew that, more likely than not, I might imbibe, so they asked that if I drank, that I call them for a ride home and not get into the car with a drunk friend and risk my life, or anyone else’s life, trying to get home. I never did that because I knew that calling my parents and telling them I was too drunk to drive would only get me into serious trouble once I sobered up. So, I made choices: I wouldn’t drink, and therefore get home all by myself, or I’d stay the night at the party and not drive until I had sobered up.
Apparently those choices never crossed the mind of Ethan Couch, or his parents, because he was too busy being spoiled and ignored by them to learn anything.
|Ethan Couch: Poor Little Rich Boy|
See, Ethan Couch is a 16-year-old Texas boy who went out one night and got drunk — his blood alcohol level was .24, three times the legal limit for an adult — and then drove home and caused an accident that killed four people. But this week, for the crime he committed, Ethan Couch was sentenced to ten years’ probation — with no time in jail — because Ethan Couch was himself a victim of a heretofore unknown illness called “affluenza.”
And yes, it is exactly what it sounds like.
The defense claimed that Ethan Couch was not responsible for stealing beer from a local Wal-Mart, getting drunk, getting into a car, and slaughtering four innocent people because he is a victim, the product of wealthy, privileged parents who never set limits for him, and he was obviously too stupid to realize that driving drunk was dangerous. The defense made special note that, in an earlier incident, Ethan Couch was not punished for being passed out drunk in a car with a naked fourteen-year-old girl, so he just didn’t know better; he just thought having rich parents meant you could do whatever you wanted to, and get away with it.
That night that Ethan Couch drank himself into a stupor and got into a car because his parents were too busy getting rich to parent him, Hollie Boyles and her daughter Shelby received a phone call from a friend, Breanna Mitchell, whose SUV had broken down. At the scene, Brian Jennings, a youth pastor, was driving past and also stopped to help.
They were all killed when Ethan Couch’s truck plowed into them, then struck a parked car, which then slid into another vehicle driving in the opposite direction. Two of Ethan’s friends, riding in the bed of his pickup, were tossed out and severely injured; one suffered internal injuries and broken bones, while the other will never be able to walk or talk again because of a brain injury.
But Ethan Couch is not responsible because his parents didn’t parent him. Defense attorneys think the parents should share in the blame because they never set limits on him, and called a psychologist to the stand to testify that Ethan Couch was a product of "affluenza." He reportedly testified that Ethan Couch’s family felt that wealth bought privilege, and that Ethan Couch's life could be turned around with one to two years of treatment and no contact with his parents.
|Judge Jean Boyd|
Well, I guess it’s a good thing for Ethan Couch that mommy and daddy have money, though all that money and privilege can’t bring Holly and Shelby Boyles, Brian Jennings, Breanna Mitchell, and Ethan Couch’s two friends back to their families.
I have always heard that people with money were treated differently, but I didn’t want to believe it. Now, though, it’s quite clear: money, even if it’s your parents’ money, can buy you out of jail for killing four people with your car.
Oh, but don’t fret, because Judge Jean Boyd, wants y’all to know that if Ethan Couch steps out of line even once, he’ll do real jail time for murdering people with his vehicle.
That makes me feel so much better ….