The rich man’s disease


Cartoon by Joanna Hsieh

Cartoon courtesy of Joanna Hsieh

Makeez Manely, Front Page Editor

“Affluenza” is the excuse that rich society uses for poor behavior and harmful actions. We are told that we must sympathize with the wealthy because they are unable to be satisfied. We must not blame rich children for their actions because affluenza states it is not their fault, but rather a consequence of their lavish lifestyle.

In February of this year, a Texas judge sentenced Ethan Couch, a 16-year-old wealthy teenager, to ten years of probation for driving under the influence and murdering four people, according to CNN news. Apparently the teen had an excuse, since he was only victim to the so-called affluenza and therefore given no time in juvenile detention. Instead, he entered into one of the most lavish rehab centers located in Newport Beach. A normal teenager most likely would have been sentenced to lmany years in prison, just as Ronald Jayne Jr. was when he took the life of 5 innocent people for driving intoxicated in 2007, according to the Review Journal, which proves how unfair our justice system has become. It seems as though affluenza has made even justice monopolized by wealthy.

Now how does that relate to the average student? Well, recent Corona Del Mar High controversies—including December’s grade hacking scandal and the prom draft that shocked people nationwide in May- have tarnished this school’s reputation. More than the cases themselves CDM’s particul handling of these of the situations caused more controversy, for instance, out of the 12 that were involved in the hacking scheme 11 were removed from the school. My question is why was the punishment so weak? Why was the last kid not removed from the school as well? And why were they not expelled from the entire school district?

Who is to blame for such actions, a hypercompetitive environment or simply spoiled children? In either case, justifying the reckless actions of these teens with a term, such as affluenza, is not helping the situation. Weaker punishments are only enabling the teens to do more harm. In order for teens to change, they must be held accountable for their careless actions and stop encouraging the rich man’s disease by letting them off easy.