A Texas judge has issued a stunning verdict in the case of a Fort Worth teenager who killed four and critically injured two others in a drunken car accident. Ethan Couch, a 16-year-old from a wealthy family, faced up to 20 years in prison for the deadly accident he caused. Instead, he received a 10-year probation sentence after defense attorneys argued the teen’s parents spoiled him and never taught him the difference between right and wrong.
“I don't understand it. There's a story about a 16-year-old kid who was driving a truck – he's drunk; he's got a bunch of kids in his car. Three times the legal limit. He kills four people,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “So what happens to him? What's the punishment for this kid? Probation. What? Probation. Now, why did he get probation?”
“Well, because, Glenn, he didn't have a chance. He didn't have a chance in life,” Pat explained. “As we all know, when you're wealthy and you've been given everything in life, you just, you don't have a chance. So I mean, I think we can all agree that probation was probably even too stern a punishment for him…. That's actually what they are saying.”
Got that? This young adult is not responsible for his actions because his family was too privileged to teach him how to handle situations in which things don’t go your way.
Defense attorneys enlisted a psychologist to testify that the teen had essentially raised himself and he had an emotional age of 12.
“The teen never learned to say that you’re sorry if you hurt someone. If you hurt someone, you sent him money,” the psychologist, Gary Miller, said.
“He never learned that sometimes you don’t get your way,” Miller added. “He had the cars and he had the money. He had freedoms that no young man would be able to handle.”
As Glenn argued, the state is actually perpetuating the problem the parents caused by not holding the teenager accountable. How will he ever learn about responsibility, if he isn’t even held responsible for murder?
“You're 16-years-old. You know you're not supposed to be on Valium, on alcohol, and getting into the back of a truck. And so what they're saying is this kid was never disciplined before. He was never taught, and so he didn't really know. And so the judge lets him go,” Glenn explained. “Well, what are you teaching him now? You're not holding him responsible now. Now the state is continuing the problem that his parents caused… I mean, jeez.”
This ruling seems to resemble the story of Goldilocks.
“Do we all live in Goldilocksville,” Glenn asked. “Because if you don't have enough, you can't be held responsible. If you have too much, you can't be held responsible.
“It has to be just the right amount,” Pat added. “That's why we focus on the middle class so much. Everybody aspires to the middle class. You don't want too much and you don't want too little.”
So what does that notion mean for society as a whole? In theory, it seems to suggest the only people who will actually be held accountable are the ones who are working hard and doing their job.
“Who does that leave… The only ones that will ever pay the price are the ones who are actually doing their job. They are actually showing up… They are doing all of the right things. They're raising their kids to the best of their ability… They have a job… If you screw up, you're toast because… you did it just right, so we're going to hold you responsible,” Glenn said. “But the people who had too much, they can't be held responsible if they had too much. If they had too little, they can't be held responsible. So only the people who are trying are the ones going to be held responsible. That is insane. That's absolutely insane. But why not?”
While the families of those who were killed at Counch’s hands are obviously distraught, one mother sought to find the silver lining.
Marla Mitchell, whose daughter died in the accident, said even though he avoided jail time, “he’s not free.”
“None of us knows what God’s plan is,” Mitchell said. “He has not escaped judgment. That is in the hands of a higher power.”
“Justice is eternal, and things will balance themselves out,” Glenn concluded. “When you get to this point where you're saying, ‘Oh, you know what? You had too much and you're not responsible for killing four people,’ then the whole country has affluenza. And the only answer is we'll destroy ourselves. We're not going to be destroyed for it… God is not a punisher… You punish yourself… None of this stuff has to happen. It's in our individual choice. [But] we're teaching that this kid doesn't have a choice. 16-years-old and he didn't have a choice.”