St. Genevieve High School

How to get away with murder: be rich

At age 16, Ethan Couch killed four people and injured several others, but pleaded not guilty because he grew up rich.  

Couch, now 18 years old, was charged in 2013 for drunk driving and for the deaths and injuries that he caused. According to CNN, he was not put into a jail cell for what he had done because the judge determined that he had a diagnosis of “affluenza”.

Affluenza is not a sickness, nor a disease in this context, but rather an overly materialistic way of life.

With a successful family business in metal roofing that provided the family with a more than steady income, Couch was granted what he wanted. When he was 13 years old, his parents allowed himself to drive to school. When the head of Anderson Private School started to question this practice, Couch’s father threatened to purchase the school.

Even after the American Psychiatric Association stated that “affluenza” is not recognized as a medical issue, Couch was not sent to jail and was put on 10 years of probation in Texas.

In the past few months, interest of where he and his mother, Tonya Couch, were arose after a video of Ethan drinking was posted on Twitter and found by Texas officials.

Couch and his mother found a way to avoid the 10 years of probation by running away to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They were located when they ordered pizza to their apartment hideaway.

However, is the Couch family’s lavish lifestyle the cause of Ethan’s inability to take responsibility?

Even though Ethan’s life is out of the ordinary, many people are very materialistic.

In a 2007 survey reported by Reuters, 71 percent of teens claimed that they are materialistic and said they would be happier if they had more money to spend.

Excessive spending and materialism is an indication that a person has low-self esteem with themselves, according to a study done by the University of Illinois.

To overcome materialism, people must do something that brings happiness to their lives. One must spend time with friends or spend time with a pet and just savor the time that is spent together rather than obsessing over a material item. 

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