[Marxism] US court rules wealthy teenager suffered from 'affluenza' after he killed four drink driving

Stuart Munckton stuartmunckton at gmail.com
Fri Dec 13 16:43:55 MST 2013

"Affluenza," the affliction cited by a psychologist to argue that a North
Texas teenager from a wealthy family should not be sent to prison for
killing four pedestrians while driving drunk, is not a recognised diagnosis
and should not be used to justify bad behaviour, experts said on Thursday.

A judge's decision to give 16-year-old Ethan Couch 10 years of probation
for the fatal accident sparked outrage from relatives of those killed and
has led to questions about the defence strategy. A psychologist testified
in Couch's trial in a Fort Worth juvenile court that as a result of
"affluenza," the boy should not receive the maximum 20-year prison sentence
prosecutors were seeking.

The term "affluenza" was popularised in the late 1990s by Jessie O'Neill,
the granddaughter of a past president of General Motors, when she wrote the
book "The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence." It's since been used
to describe a condition in which children — generally from richer families
— have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, make excuses for poor
behaviour, and sometimes dabble in drugs and alcohol, explained Dr. Gary
Buffone, a Jacksonville, Florida, psychologist who does family wealth

But Buffone said in a telephone interview that the term wasn't meant to be
used as a defence in a criminal trial or to justify such behaviour.

"The simple term would be spoiled brat," he said.

"Essentially what he [the judge] has done is slapped this child on the
wrist for what is obviously a very serious offense which he would be
responsible for in any other situation," Buffone said. "The defense is
laughable, the disposition is horrifying ... not only haven't the parents
set any consequences, but it's being reinforced by the judge's actions."


“Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is humanity’s
original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made,
through disobedience and through rebellion.” — Oscar Wilde, Soul of Man
Under Socialism

“The free market is perfectly natural... do you think I am some kind of
dummy?” — Jarvis Cocker

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