Better East Texas: Learning a thing or two from the 'affluenza' - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Better East Texas: Learning a thing or two from the 'affluenza' defense

(KLTV) -

I learned a new legal term recently – affluenza.

A legal defense was used in a Texas courtroom that involved an intoxicated 16 year old who killed 4 people in a car accident. The 16 year old admitted to intoxication manslaughter but during the sentencing phase of the trial, the defense argued that because the defendant came from a wealthy background that he suffered from affluenza – essentially saying he was out of touch with reality and knowing the consequences of right and wrong brought about by his family’s wealth that exempted him from experiencing the social norms of the rest of us.

Well, the judge bought the argument and sentenced the offender to 10 years of probation. Understandably, many people were outraged because it seems that insulation and ignorance brought about by wealth gave this young man a pass on truly being held responsible for the crime he committed. In fact, I would say that the 10 years probation will only magnify in his mind that he can get away with breaking the law because of his family’s wealth.

The real cure for affluenza is a strong dose of reality and in this case, the young man should have experienced a more severe sentence. We have all seen the dangerous power and influence that money can deliver and now we are seeing the rules of our society skirted because of money. The judicial system must hold all people equally accountable for crimes that are committed and affluenza will be revealed for the falsehood it is.

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