Afluenza…

This is the typical definition of a Junior where I grew up:

Couch suffers from “affluenza,” according to his lawyers, a term which means that his wealthy parents pretty much let him get away with everything. The defense saved him from a 20-year sentence; State District Judge Jean Boyd bought it at his sentencing on Tuesday and gave Couch probation instead.

This young man, from Keller Tx, suffers from Afluenza, according to his Psychologist. Now to be fair the condition is real. Yes, you read this right. It is very real. We call it by different names, and being well connected, as this 16 year old was, helps. He will not darken the inside of a cell, and the judge just added to the no-consequences lifestyle of this young man. We used to make many a joke about those kids when we picked them up while I worked EMS in Mexico, and we hated taking care of Junior.  They were a real nightmare, and their parents, let’s not go there.

But Afluenza is not just a disease of the well connected. It is an actual syndrome. So while we make fun of this, or plain out get angry, since we all know we would be doing hard time otherwise, we should be aware that afluenza is not just not facing the consequences or not having limits. This is just part of it, and goes with the entitled jerks we got to treat from time to time.

One aspect is the deadly pursuit of money, and trying to keep up with the Joneses. It is doing much more than just giving a well connected kid get out of jail card (Though given that money is central to this, the lawsuits should deal the family some real life consequences).

A simple google search will take you to Affluenza.org. There you will learn how this is changing our society and actually risking our survival as a species. Oh and it does have effects in all aspects of our lives. For example, our politicians, bought and paid by special interests, who rarely live though the consequences of their actions, rarely take into account the ecological effects of the legislation they pass. See, this young man is not alone in not facing to the consequences. He killed four people, but our politicians kill far more indirectly by their actions. They also have a get out of jail card bought and paid for by the system they serve.

Marketing affects every aspect of our lives and leads to most of us getting the latest and greatest gadget. We recently had to upgrade a few of our electronic devices. (The old ones were recycled). We were met with faces full of surprise as our devices were used until they failed, or were so close to failure that it was a miracle they still turned on. That is the way we roll. We do not change devices just because a new model came out. In fact, our TV is older than Moses, and whenever the cable guy has to come, he is looking for things that our twenty year old model has not. But we believe in not changing things until absolutely necessary. We do not need, or want, to keep up with the Joneses.

We have been able to resist, mostly, the siren song of MORE! I WANT MORE!!!

In some ways, like coffee pots, after a few failed, we use a thermos and a melita, We no longer use an electronic coffee maker. It is simple, they are designed to fail after a couple of years, I do not need to play along.

But going back to this young man. The Judge did him no favors. He should have faced the consequences of some jail time. He will really not learn that lesson, that life has consequences. What he just went though was the life of privilege that the well connected do, and in his case it was an extreme case of afluenza. His case includes good connections to those who can prevent the awful of everyday life. If the family ends up penniless (there are civl lawsuits in the pipeline) then he will learn the reality that the rest of us know.

I wonder how long until he enters politics? He has the character for it I say.



Categories: analysis

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