Affluenza v. HIV

Don't believe them when they tell me
There ain't no cure
The rich stay healthy
The sick stay poor
It's better to be rich. That kind of goes without saying. But the advantages should end at nicer cars and better wines. What we have in this country is a two tiered justice system and it's just not right.

I was pleased with the reactions and the discussion produced by this post on HIV criminalization. ProPublica has released this extensive article on the matter and it's worth reading if you're interested in the subject.

But I'm posting today because of the stunning level of contrast between the punishments being dished out for this disease and another called "Affluenza". In this case Ethan Couch killed 4 people while driving drunk but has been absolved of the worse consequences of that crime, essentially because he's a spoiled kid who never faced any consequences for his action.

The man who coined the term is appalled.
When Vivia Boe and I produced the popular PBS special Affluenza in 1997, we had no idea how the word would be used nearly two decades later.  But this past week, a judge in Texas ruled that teenager Ethan Couch should receive therapy and probation rather than a jail sentence because he was suffering from “affluenza”—his rich parents had not taught him about consequences, and he was therefore not responsible for killing four people while driving his truck with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit.

So to prove to him that actions do have consequences the court has absolved him of the consequences of his actions.


Compare this to the decades in prison that some HIV positive people are serving for actions which resulted in NO ACTUAL HARM to anyone. Reckless driving and vehicular manslaughter are essentially the same crime, differing only by their outcomes. It just seems to me that the results of an action need to be factored in if there is to be anything remotely resembling justice. The idea that wealth is an excuse for deadly recklessness should offend everyone at every income level.


  1. Godwhacker you have to space out your posts and stop stepping on sfl please.

  2. @9:37

    If I was ever stepping on SFL, he'd be the fist to let me know.

  3. Godwhacker is beyond anyone's control!

  4. @9:43

    This is correct. I am the (reformed) hacker here. Like Superman in prison, I am confined by my own accord.

  5. Godwhacker makes me laugh. And then I pee a little. Damn you Godwhacker!

  6. The "fist" to let you know?

  7. The serendipity of autocorrect!

  8. Sfl, please let Gw only post once per week, and never closer to 12 hours after you.

  9. @2:36

    I love double entendres. Shall we go for a triple?

  10. I once knew a crazy person who saw all kinds of things that were not there - fire on people's clothes, money in his hand, etc.

    It is good to know there is another out there - unless of course you are that guy.

  11. As the great mind of the conservative movement Christine O'Donnell said, "I am you."

  12. Only a masochist would argue with GW.

  13. I'm looking to represent individuals afflicted with Afluenza especially at the negligence of others. Please contact my law office for a free discussion of your case.

  14. Godwhacker makes me laugh. Stay awesome. Peace out.


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