So, recently we were treated to a case in which “affluenza,” a disease that sometimes ravages communities of rich, white Americans, was used as a legal defense. As Wikipedia put it:
In December 2013, State District Judge Jean Boyd sentenced a North Texas teenager, Ethan Couch to 10 years probation for drunk driving and killing four pedestrians and injuring 11 after his attorneys successfully argued that the teen suffered from affluenza and needed rehabilitation, and not prison. The defendant was witnessed on surveillance video stealing beer from a store, driving with seven passengers in his father’s Ford F-350, speeding (70 MPH in a 40 MPH zone), and had a blood alcohol content of .24%, three times the legal limit for an adult in Texas, when he was tested 3 hours after the accident. Traces of Valium were also in his system. G. Dick Miller, a psychologist hired as an expert by the defense, testified in court that the teen was a product of affluenza and was unable to link his bad behavior with consequences due to his parents teaching him that wealth buys privilege.
And today, there was the verdict in the case of the killing of Jordan Davis, which put me in mind of the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, the latter being a case in which the killer completely got off the hook.
So, I started thinking, why stop at affluenza? Why not find more terrible, illusory diseases with which we can insulate ourselves from responsibility? And so, good people, I provide you with your future legal defenses. You can tell ’em what ails ya, so they just won’t jail ya…
Affluenza – A chronic condition, easily transmittable via family wealth, that renders a person incapable of realizing (or caring) that there are consequences to his or her actions that might adversely affect others, even when those consequences are things like disfigurement, dismemberment and death.
Thugibetes – An incurable disease that renders white people unable to tell good black/brown/tan-from-something-other-than-a-sunlamp people from bad people of the aforementioned non-white hues. This disease is known to sometimes trigger an irresistible reflexive response known as standyourground.
Rapeheimer’s disease – A degenerative, untreatable, progressive condition that eventually renders a man incapable of understanding the meaning of the word “no” when uttered by a woman he wants to have sex with and/or from conceiving that a woman being unconscious cannot consent to sex.
You’re welcome, America! Oh, and also, a special you’re welcome to the trial lawyers. I’ll expect a kickback fee if you use thugibetes or Rapeheimer’s disease in your future cases.
If there was ever an argument for eating the rich, this might be it! Mother Jones reports that if a person made $25,000 in 1960, and their income increased at the same rate as the wealthiest 1%, they would be making $92,000 today, It’s nice knowing what one is worth, even if somebody in Texas is using your money to keep their kid out of jail, That’s called justice.
My son is a vegetarian and my wife has vegetarian tendencies at times, so I have to rule out the rich as part of my diet. Otherwise I might not be able to slip in the fried chicken, steak, carnitas, etc. from time to time.
At least one person thought perhaps that “affluenza” part was made up or was satire on my part. Sadly, if you are not already aware, the affluenza story is all too true. Just a few links to stories online about that recent case, if you need background:
It does seem, though, that while he killed several people, the stories seem to disagree (or not tell the full story in some cases?) about how many were injured, compared to the number “11” thrown out by Wikipedia. I’ve seen everything from two injured to nine injured in those articles, so who knows? Still disgusting, given several were killed, no matter how you slice it.