Rant with Randi: The Good Old ‘Affluenza’ Defense

By Randi Crawford

Holy smokes! I thought that I had heard it all until I read this story. Sadly, this is no joke. On June 15, in Ft. Worth Texas, an intoxicated 16 year old lost control of his pick- up truck and killed four people. Not only did he kill four innocent people, but he injured two others — one of them is brain damaged and paralyzed and can only communicate by blinking. This wasn’t just any accident! The horror is that a juvenile court judge sentenced this kid to 10 years of probation for his crime. OMG. This one leaves me nearly speechless. This kid’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit when he caused the crash, and he also had traces of Valium in his system.

The defense that his lawyers used is called, “affluenza defense.” What the he does that even mean? His lawyers claim that it meant he was blameless for driving drunk because his condition stemmed from having wealthy privileged parents who never set limits for him. They said that this kid is a “victim” of affluenza- parenting. Poor little spoiled brat. Apparently he was compensated with cars and material gifts whenever he did something wrong, so who can blame him? Can you see me vomiting all over my house right now? OK, I need to stop here for a minute. Has the entire world gone


This takes my theory of entitlement and parents not parenting to an entirely new level – a level that actually allows one to commit the act of killing another human being, or four for that matter, and getting away with it.

The judge clearly decided to take part in the affluenza parenting by “affluenza sentencing” – giving him no consequences and, instead, sending him to a $500,000 dollar a year facility that literally mimics one of my favorite places in the world – Miraval. That’s right – he’s basically going to a spa where his schedule will include “equine therapy” (which means he gets to ride and work with horses), yoga, mediation, cooking classes, one-on-one nutritional classes, and martial arts. Ummm, is this a punishment or a year-long vacation? This is just about the most absurd form of “punishment” I’ve ever heard of in my life. But it was argued, after all, that this kid wouldn’t get the things that really mattered to him such as his Xbox, alcohol, drugs, and access to cars and girls. Wow, now you’re talking hard -core Xbox, how is he going to survive? Where is the justice?

Obviously rich kids have more resources at their disposal for their crazy teenage behavior, which is scary to any parent, especially ones who have kids going to high school. These kids have access to money, cars, drugs, alcohol, and basically anything they want. And, they have parents who don’t care what they do. This is appalling. Did I mention that this kid and his buddies


beer from a Wal-Mart earlier that day? First he’s a thief, next he’s a drunk, then he’s a drunk driver and his grand finale is killing four people and injuring two others. And he gets away with it because he’s a victim of idiotic parenting. This is so disturbing that my brain isn’t processing it. This judge needs to be taken off the bench immediately and this sentence overturned.

Let’s talk about the message that we are sending to our youth. Seriously? What is this judge telling our kids? That it’s OK to drink and drive and all you need is money to buy your way out of it? The enormity of this is so not lost on me. Four people died that day and this kid will never feel the consequences of his actions. I’m so angry about the level of injustice that it’s hard for me to even talk about. This was a very bad day indeed for our legal system, our youth, for parents and for the entire country. Outrageous.

Your thoughts?