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  • Natalie Marti

AFFLUENZA


You may have seen in the news in 2013 of the story of Ethan Couch at age 16, driving drunk, killing four people, and paralyzing another. Feeling shocked and frustrated, I was left wondering how someone could do that and walk away with ONLY probation.

In a story by ABC news, it reads, "Following the crash that rattled the tiny town of Burleson, prosecutors charged Ethan Couch with four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault. Couch admitted guilt, and the sentencing hearing that followed garnered international attention and sparked outrage.

At the December 2013 hearing, Couch's powerhouse legal team called prominent psychologist Dr. G. Dick Miller to the stand to testify on Couch's behalf. Miller claimed that Couch's wealthy upbringing and a lack of consequences for his actions caused him to suffer from "affluenza."

Affluenza? I had never heard of it, but I have come to learn it means not having the ability to understand the consequences of one's actions because of financial privilege. To me, this is an example of our country/society not taking seriously the HUGE impact the choice to drink and drive is to to the people who are affected. The parent that has to live without their child, the siblings that has to live without their sibling, the best friend who has to live without their best friend. Not fair!

Because of my personal experience I had almost 13 years ago when someone made the choice to drink and drive, I feel every single day the heartache that has come because of that. The feelings and resistance I have against this choice to drive under the influence is intense and leaves no room for justification. How is drinking and driving any different than someone aimlessly shooting a gun and it goes off and kills someone?

Every single day in America 28 people are killed by a drunk driver. Drinking and driving is 100% preventable.

Ethan Couch's behavior of fleeing the country and violating his probation sentence speaks highly to me of his level of remorse and regret. On June 15, 2013, he drove drunk and killed four people. Period. Friends and family will never be the same as they have to live with the holes in their heart. We need to speak out about this serious crime and help stop hearts from aching from the death of their loved one.

"One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility." -Eleanor Roosevelt

#affluenza #drunkdriving #underagedrinking #EthanCouch

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