Death by Indulgence

By Greg Baer M.D.

February 5, 2016

Prepare yourself now for the end of civilization as you know it. Morality has been sliding into the abyss for some time, but now the law is supporting an even faster decline.

Ethan Couch, a 16-year-old boy, was sentenced by a juvenile court judge to 10 years of probation and treatment after he killed four people and injured a dozen others when he drunkenly drove his family’s pickup in June 2013 into a group of good Samaritans trying to help a stranded driver.

His defense? The novel “affluenza” gambit, which stated that he had grown up with a sense of entitlement and developed poor judgment after being coddled by his wealthy parents.

In December 2015 a video showed Couch, now 18, at a beer pong party, which would constitute a violation of his probation and likely result in his serving out a prison term of 10 years. Shortly thereafter, he and his mother disappeared from their home, almost certainly to avoid the authorities who were seeking him because of the video and his failure to appear for his latest probation meeting.

If entitlement is now a defense for killing people, we should all at the very least double our life insurance, since the country is filled with millions of such people.

If entitlement is serious enough to excuse killing, why were not the enabling parents sentenced to prison along with their son? If I loan you my gun knowing that you are about to commit a felony with it, I will also be charged with a crime. And I assure you that the parents of this boy had seen ample evidence of his misbehavior before people died, and yet they did nothing to stop the entitlement.

It is likely, in fact, that his privileges steadily increased in an attempt to bribe him to not express his disapproval toward them. Every day newspapers express our puzzlement at serious crimes committed by young people, uniformly blaming guns, the schools, video games, the Internet, social media, and more. When are we going to look at the PARENTS who raised these children, the parents who had the responsibility to have the greatest influence on them?

The most important lesson here is for every parent of young children, children who are still teachable. How does a 16-year-old become entitled to the point that he can be excused for killing four people? Because when he was two years old—even younger, actually—he was not loved and taught in a way such that he acquired a sense of responsibility and caring for the welfare of others. Murderers and other criminals are trained from birth. They don’t simply appear out of nowhere. Problem children and adults simply were not taught a better way to live, and that is our responsibility.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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