Ethan Couch apprehended after having darkened his hair and illegally fleeing to Mexico in violation of court orders set in America
At age 16, an inebriated Couch got behind the wheel of his car and crashed into a group of pedestrians and a parked vehicle, killing 4 and injuring 9. Couch was given probation, but violated it, via video that surfaced this year showing the teen playing beer pong. This constituted underage drinking, which is illegal and what got him into trouble in the first place. Additionally, Couch had been ordered by the court to stay away from alcohol, due to the vehicular homicide.
Couch's defense attorneys argued the teen suffered from "Affluenza" which is a term coined in the 1990s, regarding rich people with no alleged understanding of right or wrong. He was sentenced to 10-years of probation and sent to an in-patient treatment facility. However, he fled to Mexico fearing he would be sent to jail for violating his probation.
"Affluenza" is a load of garbage. Unless a person is mentally insane or mentally impaired to the point no understanding of right and wrong can be distinguished, being rich is no justification for a gross lack of ethics. Couch has not been declared mentally unfit. Therefore, he was ruled mentally fit to stand trial, was convicted and clearly has an understanding of right and wrong.
The problem often occurs when rich people do not discipline their children, give them everything they want and allow them to indulge in unethical behavior. The Judiciary Report has stated in past columns that rich people need to provide their children with discipline and structure, as well as teaching them the value of hard work and money, via getting a job in their mid-teens.
Ethan Couch in court
However, a child with no rules will not turn out well. Children do not raise themselves. They need proper parental guidance and boundaries and an absence thereof will only lead to trouble to the child's detriment. Proper child rearing is important. In Couch's case, we see a mother teaching and helping her son to evade the law and not face the consequences of his actions. This did not set a good example and reinforces the view he can do whatever he pleases, even if his actions violate the law and cause other people injury or inconvenience.
We are also seeing a father, Fred Couch, who allowed a then 13-year-old Ethan, to drive to school each day without a license, in violation of the law. When the principal of the Anderson Private School questioned the illegal practice, Ethan's father threatened to buy the school. It shows a lack of class, grace and decorum to throw one's money around or trying to buy one's way out of trouble. It is in very poor taste. The boy was clearly taught no sense of responsibility and it has ruined his life and that of others.
Ethan was also caught passed out from drinking in a parked truck with a naked 14-year-old girl. This is conduct his parents should have censured, but they did not in any measure, opting to get him out of trouble when police citations were issued. Once again, Ethan has not been taught discipline or that he must adhere to the rules of society that apply to everyone. Ethan is the product of bad upbringing, in knowing right from wrong, but wrongly believing he is above the law and the social rules of society. However, it is not too late for his parents to try to help him redeem his life. He needs to devote his life to charity in helping others, to try to repay his debt to society. He is not irredeemable.
Texas 'affluenza' teen captured in Mexico to be returned to U.S.
During Couch's trial, a psychologist sparked outrage by saying in his defense that Couch was so wealthy and spoiled he could not tell the difference between right and wrong. He was sentenced to 10 years drug-and-alcohol-free probation for intoxication manslaughter, a punishment condemned by critics as privilege rewarded with leniency.
Couch and his mother, Tonya Couch, fled the country after a video surfaced online apparently showing Couch at a party where beer was being consumed. Authorities had been investigating that video as a potential parole violation. Couch had missed a mandatory meeting with his probation officer, prompting officials in Tarrant County, Texas, to issue a warrant for his arrest earlier this month.