Justice is blind, but if she looks closely she can tell whether you’re white or black, rich or poor
This is what I have learned the past four weeks in writing this column: Healthy food is too expensive unless you eat bugs; snakes eat drunks; Thanksgiving: bah humbug; socialists can’t perform magic by themselves.
These are downer conclusions, sure. It follows, then, that I was not surprised when a Real Change vendor begged me to say something nice about Christmas and New Year’s in order to raise the level of good cheer and light-hearted jolliness on this page.
“As rising waters raise all boats, so fine levity can lift all spirits,” I thought to say to her, in sympathy. What I actually said was, “Eh? What?”
I don’t know if I can be of good cheer next week or the week after — that’s too far down the road to guess what mood I can manage — but this week I have some great news to comment on that just might provide enough cheer to carry us through three entire weeks.
Six months ago, 16-year-old Ethan Couch, who is from a wealthy North Texas family, stole some beer from a Walmart with the help of friends, drove off with the group packed into his Ford F-350 extended cab pickup truck to get drunk at a party, and then drove from there, having reached three times the legal blood-alcohol limit. Speeding at 70 mph in a 40 mph zone, he drove his truck into four pedestrians, aged 21 to 52, including a mother and her daughter, killing them.
Prosecutors asked for the maximum sentence possible, 20 years in prison with a possibility of parole in two.
“Well, that all sounds just awful, Wes. What’s so cheery about that?” I hear you saying.
Well, wait for it. What Couch’s defense attorneys came up with was fantastic. They said he was disabled because he had “affluenza,” a non-existent disease arising from a sociologist’s description of the ignorance, apathy, lack of empathy and all-round douche-baggery of well-off, spoiled brats raised without any attention to the development of conscience. And the judge bought it! Couch got 10 years probation.
Now, let’s put this in context. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, just ahead of the Republic of Seychelles.
So, here, it is wonderful that we have a new, creative way to cut back on this penchant for imprisoning everybody who steals a little beer and runs down pedestrians while in a drunken stupor.
This is a way to make headway against those high incarceration numbers, by not ever jailing affluent white kids.
Let’s examine the numbers even closer. Of the 716 prisoners per 100,000 Americans, about 238, or one-third, are white.
If we could find more excuses like this affluenza B.S. to not jail any of those white people, we could lower our incarceration rate, since 716 minus 238 equals only 478 per 100,000, a rate which would drop us to eighth place among all countries, and make us slightly better than Russia!
We’re well on our way. All we have to do is come up with more excuses for not jailing whites, excuses that will work even if they are poor.
I know what some of you are thinking — wait a minute, some of those remaining 478 Blacks, Hispanics and others must also suffer from affluenza and are now eligible to get off on probation, so maybe we don’t have to go easy on poor whites.
Don’t be silly!
These incredible legal dodges only work if you’re white. Why else could any judge ever accept such nonsense except to excuse racism?
So, where was I?
Ah yes, how to spare poor whites jail time.
How about, “Your honor, my client deserves mercy by virtue of having suffered a lifetime of relative racial-privilege deficiency.
If only he had been rich, his color would have got him off already. Let justice be blind to the size of his trust fund.”
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