Judge, he suffers from Ghettoapathy

ghettoapathy. car jacking, the reporter and the girl, affluenza, ethan couch, S.C. Rhyne, Jon and Sabrien, ghetto, affluenza case

You may have heard this week, on this blog and many others, a controversial ruling from North Texas, regarding 16 year old Ethan Couch. The teen got behind the wheel of his father’s truck and killed 4 people including a pastor; and paralyzed a friend riding in his truck.

Judge Jean Boyd gave Couch ten years’ probation, and will assign him to a treatment center for rehabilitation for Affluenza, a condition in which Couch’s affluent lifestyle gave him a sense of entitlement and he did not know right from wrong.  Affluenza is not a condition recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.

affluenza, ethan couch, dick miller, judge jean boyd, drunk driving, teen killer, spoiled brat, S.C. Rhyne, the reporter and the girl

Dr. Dick Miller, the psychologist who defended the teen, said that he is a victim of his parents’ wealth,  of their constant arguing which led to their divorce,  and his sense of entitlement which led to irresponsibility, poor decisions, and drug use. He was unable to discern from right or wrong.

Hhhmm……surely, there are mental health problems that children raised in the opposite environment suffer from?


Also known as “Thug” or “Gangbanger”

Ghettoapathy- is a portmanteau of ghettoism and apathy this term can be used by critics of poverty and violence.

Judge Boyd, also presided over a case last year in which a 14 year old African American boy punched one person, who subsequently fell and hit his head and died from the injury. He was sentenced to ten years in prison.

According to author and commentator, Boyce Watkins, “This case is even more sickening when one considers how often serious psychological problems are not taken into consideration when the cases involve poor, Black or Brown people.  How often do our kids commit crimes after being victims of years of abuse, neglect, hunger, mis-education, and dire poverty?”

This is a disease

Unlike, Affluenza, violence is recognized by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization, and American Psychological Association as a public health issue, that have direct negative consequences to a person’s psyche and a community’s stabilization.

Ghettoapathy can be defined as someone being raised in an environment where violence is accepted or even encouraged. This high-risk individual can be a perpetrator or victim of a violent act, as well as a transmitter of violence if rehabilitation isn’t enacted soon enough.

According to the Cure Violence Project, some successful rehabilitation techniques include peer mentorship, drug counseling, and job/education training; this strategy has directly led to a reduction in shootings/killings from 16% to 34%.

There are no studies regarding the rehabilitation of those victim to wealth and affluence. Nor how such wealth and affluence can destabilize a community.

Is your community at-risk for this disease?

Community level risk factors for violence include increased levels of unemployment, poverty, and transiency; decreased levels of economic opportunities and community participation; poor housing conditions; and a lack of access to services, according to the American Psychological Association. Youths from low-income neighborhoods also witness significantly more severe violence (viz., murders and stabbings) than youths from middle- and upper-income neighborhoods.

These communities also referred to as ghettos, have post-violent consequences which can affect attainment of employment or education; as well as continue a cycle of violence.

  • Low-income women who experienced intimate partner violence or aggression had only one-third odds of maintaining a 30-hour work week for 6 or more months than women who did not experience violence
  • Elementary schools that participated in bully and violence prevention programs had significantly higher student achievement scores than schools that did not incorporate such programs
  • If parents use negative forms of discipline (i.e., physical punishment), their children are more likely to use violence to resolve their own conflicts

Thus, one hopes that Judge Boyd and other justices in the criminal system, will begin to take note of the epidemic that is gripping our nation, and hurting low-income youths and families.

Ghettoapathy is a condition that can destroy a society if left uncheck.  Adult and youth perpetrators should be treated and rehabilitated from this “disease” using the proven methods stated above. Particularly the youth, as Dr. Miller stated so empathetically on AC 360 show, that the juvenile justice system is meant to rehabilitate and reintegrate young offenders so they can contribute meaningfully to society, as adults.

The only question that is left to ask, is why did the psychologist and judge feel that Ethan Couch’s Affluenza inhibited his decision making, but no one considered a case of Ghettoapathy for the 14 year old who is now in prison?

67 thoughts on “Judge, he suffers from Ghettoapathy

  1. The legal system far too often seems to be very quick to forgive the affluent. They give them ” excuses ” for behavior that for the rest of us we would be quickly thrown in prison. Too often the affluent are seen as ” better ” than the average person, and definitely better than the economically deprived. It’s about time that society’s attitudes about this changed. We have great advances in technology, but our attitudes and opinions towards others haven’t matched as they should have.


  2. Well I nearly chocked on my morning cuppa here in the UK as I read the above just now. AFFLUENZA, please forgive me but I thought the Brits had the world hands down on turning a blind eye to the deeds of the affluent, privileged, posh, well to do, rich what ever you choose to call them! Well we did just say to the very affluent politicians who greedily stole via expenses from the. British public you naughty people now pay it back! Nobody went to prison there either! Not a crime of the same magnitude I know, merely serving as an example the wealthy western world is walking around with it head up its backside when it comes to these people. YES these people…… A familiar term dished out usually on the poor, of race etc….

    The above shame faced young AFFLUENT male clearly does know right from wrong else why look shame faced? Maybe as he apparently doesn’t know right from wrong he should go to prison….. Well he wouldn’t know if its the right or wrong place but I bet he would quickly learn! Don’t you think?

    The law of a land applies to all, no excuses….. That said I for one wont be holding my breath for the great day of equality as while a class system such as this exists sadly the affluent will find a way to opt out of the ‘real’ world.

    Great article, thanks for taking the time.


    1. Hi OurSewingPatch,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. No no, you Brits are not alone, for a long time we Americans complained about celebrities getting off with a slap on the wrist for their…antics. But my God, if Lindsey Lohan ever killed someone with her vehicle she would at least get some jail time (30 days seem to be the rule of thumb for celebrities).


  3. Reblogged this on Bend Me, Shape Me and commented:
    Oh my God. I had not heard about this in the news and am appalled at the audacity of the double standard employed by this judge. This screams injustice louder than anything I’ve heard recently. But then perhaps I should not be so surprised. This happens too often, but more importantly, is too seldom railed against in the media. Where are the main stream news reports that call attention to this kind of bullshit? “Judge Boyd, also presided over a case last year in which a 14 year old African American boy punched one person, who subsequently fell and hit his head and died from the injury. He was sentenced to ten years in prison.”


  4. Definitely a double standard. This young man may be protected by money but he has got to live with this. Whether he speaks of it ever again or not, he is forever marked and his soul blackened.


  5. “The Girl” – In response to your comment on my blog – Many of Detroit’s problems came from the actions of corrupt politicians over a span of 50 years. The Big 3 held the economy together by a thread, but when they were permitted to open factories in other countries where the labor rates were lower, the glue melted and the city began to fall apart. Bail outs helped for a while, but many of the residents left in Detroit are elderly and can no longer work. There are food deserts all over the city and many are forced to buy manufactured crap to eat because no fresh produce is available to them. I am a sociology major and found two organizations who do the best they can to help the people of Detroit and other large cities – Girls, Inc. and Peaches & Greens. Look them up if you are interested. They really care. Have a good night. ~Katrina


    1. Hi Katrina, Thanks for the run down of Detroit’s history as I was unfamiliar with it. When you say “food desert” you mean there is no farms or fresh produce? How does Detroit’s situation affect the rest of the state, if it does?


      1. A food desert means no suburban-style grocery stores, no fresh produce stands, sometimes there are fast food or greasy spoon restaurants, but any kind of quality food is not readily accessible. Many people do their “grocery shopping” at liquor stores, gas stations, etc., and purchase ready-made sandwiches or frozen snack-type foods or roller dogs. Most of those affected receive SNAP and would not have the money to take a cab to the nearest grocery store if they could get the cab to come to their neighborhood. Diabetes and heart disease are not uncommon in these areas. Response time for Police, Fire Fighters or EMTs averages 55 minutes.
        Flint and Saginaw are affected because they were heavily attached to the auto industry. Many of the suburbs that housed the middle class have lost residents and home values have tanked because the industries that supported the auto industry also tanked (battery firms, tire manufacturers, etc.) People that are offered positions in other states – or Mexico- are taking them more often than not because they need the money. You know, the old shit runs downhill theory of economic decline… Hope I didn’t bore you 😉


      2. NO you didn’t bore me, in fact could you recommend a book where I could read into more details. Ah, we have food deserts here in NYC too, parts of Brooklyn, Bronx, and Manhattan. But NYC Dept of Health have been pushing “green carts” and community farms so those areas could get fresh produce.


      3. I was born in Kew Gardens, Queens! Miss NYC like nobody’s business. There is an organization that has done extensive research on food deserts and green carts. I have to look through my notes and I will give you the name of the woman who consults for the government on just this issue. I strongly suggest looking up Peaches & Greens in Detroit, MI. They are a non-profit who bought some old UPS trucks, rigged them up to deliver food and they go around to neighborhoods that do not have grocery stores, or have a high concentration of elderly or children. They partnered with Home Depot last year to create community gardens and help people learn how to grow their own fresh produce. My feeling is, if they are going to take recess away from inner-city kids, the least they can do is start community gardens with them so they can be out in the sunshine and have nutritious food at the same time. Meantime, I will look for the name of the organization I cannot remember. ~Katrina


      1. I used to be a tattoo artist at Electric Chair and Artistic Fusion in Flint. It began to go downhill fast. My husband worked at the Grand Blanc Metal Fab on Dort Hwy for 25 years and they have since shut down most of that facility. Many of his relatives waited too long and their homes aren’t worth much so it is nearly impossible to move. Glad you were able to find a way out…


      2. yes….I know that story for the majority of my friends and neighbors. And my brothers family. My entire family followed me; parents, 3 adult kids & siblings. Except for that one brother in Davison. I will have to post my story about moving, its a long one, had a brain tumor & didn’t know it, etc.. .


  6. I would like to believe as well if Lindsey Lohan killed someone she would go to prison; however I’m not so sure she would either; look how many times Naomi Campbell assaulted her assistants has she been thrown in prison?


  7. Many public schools in inner city areas do not have recess anymore due to cost. I do not know why recess costs so much that it needs to be gone, but some pencil pusher does… Here is the name of the woman I researched and her organization has a lot of reading material available, as well as a few websites you can check out. I would start here, though – http://www.marigallagher.com/ It would take me 10 years to do all of the research she has and it seems as though she really cares. ~Katrina


  8. The good people in bad neighborhoods, and those who want something more are usually best served by getting out. Social programs only go so far, and their results don’t always match the intentions and the cost of running those programs.

    All those things you mention: mental health, access to opportunity, more school spending, reduced violence through programs can never take the place of the greatest passer-on of social capital: The family and good-decision making.

    As many folks will tell you, even decent kids in the ghetto hustle a little on the side, and each hustle requires a victim. That can’t be ignored either.

    Someone’s got to be contrarian.


    1. That is true. Because apparently wealthy children in affluent neighborhoods do suffer as well. I guess you would ask who are the bigger criminals, Bernie Madoff or the 14 year old boy who punched someone — and the person died.


      1. I’m not defending the ‘affluenza’ defense, merely trying to point out truths as I’ve experienced them.

        I don’t think this a competition to see who cares the most for the ideas we hold, but rather to get at the truths, right?


      2. I was actually agreeing with the last point you made, about family decisions. Because even though Ethan Couch came an affluent background, his parents made poor decisions, especially since he had a history of police interaction and drinking…and look what happened. But I still wonder who is the bigger menace to society?


      3. Ok, understood.

        Ethan Couch is still a pretty serious menace to society. There will always be some families with love and good decisions, and others with money, not much love and bad ones.


      4. I know and that makes me wonder… if a kid comes from a loving family but has poor social support (bad schools, violence in neighborhood, food desert) is he/she the bigger threat to society if they decide to join a gang or what..or is it the one whose family doesn’t love them and they do what they want with no consequences? Cause eventually the gang member will get shot or go to jail….but the other….is still out in society.


  9. I think there is a mistake at the heart of thinking about crime. Nowadays most people are willing to agree that we are all victims of our environment. We neither choose our genes, our family nor the time and place we are born. We are products of forces beyond our control.

    Liberals tend to think this means that we should all be excused from our actions, while conservatives think that there is an important difference between animals, children and the mentally ill on the one hand, and non-retarded adults on the other. They believe that the difference is one of free will. The difference between an animal and a normal human is the ability to reflect on our actions before we perform them.

    I don’t know which group is right but I don’t think it matters. It is forgotten by liberals that the justice system forms part of the environment that shapes us and a lenient justice system will encourage crime while a harsh justice system will discourage it (of course, not all crimes and criminals are deterred by harsh sentencing but it is enough that some are). It therefore makes sense to have a strict system of justice, regardless of whether we have free will or not or whether we are ultimately responsible for our actions. All the lawyers’ and judges’ rationalisations about why someone did what they did is just so much hot air. Explanations are not justifications and knowing that you will be held responsible for your actions and that all your whining, excuses and Just-so stories will be of no use is enough to make some people decide that committing a crime is not worth it. Conversely, knowing that there is something about your situation (poor, black, abused etc.) that will make a soft judge look kindly upon you is enough of a green light for a certain kind of person to decide that he is justified in committing a crime.


    1. I appreciate your comment to the post, and I agree we should have a strict justice system that applies the discipline fairly across the board, and that is why I wrote this post. This is a response to the Affluenza case that made news a couple weeks ago. You can read about it here: https://thereporterandthegirl.com/2013/12/13/affluenza-an-epidemic/

      Basically a 16 year old teen from a wealthy background killed 4 people while driving drunk because his wealthy upbringing affected his psyche. While “Affluenza” is not a real disease (but he was diagnose with it) and there has been no correlation between high wealth and crime, there has been plenty of research from CDC, WHO, and other organizations correlating crime with poverty and violence. So if this judge could give a kid probation because he’s rich, then why not the 14 year old Black kid who punched one person who fell down and died? What does the justice system have to say about this?


      1. My comment was really about both cases. It seems that too much wealth and too little wealth can both be wheeled on as reasons for crime. I agree with you that poverty seems at least as good an excuse as wealth. However, you seem to be suggesting that because the boy was black he was more harshly dealt with. I think the opposite tends to happen and simply being black is seen by many as being oppressed and with a justified grievance for crime.


      2. Ah the opposite, you feel that African Americans get an easier penalty in the justice system? I think you need to look at the numbers again.

        In terms of the 14 year old boy, I believe race and money were contributing factors. Had that boy had more green than Black, then yes maybe he could have gotten probation and “rehabilitation” instead 10 years in prison. But probably the biggest factor for Judge Boyd was the color green. But when you look at the justice system on a whole skin color does play a role…how much of role? That’s up to the experts.


      3. You could be right (incidentally, I have no idea what ‘green’ means in this context. I imagine it’s American for rich). However, I find it hard to compare two cases, one where the boy took his father’s truck and killed 4 people (accidentally, I imagine) and one where a boy hits someone who subsequently dies. The intentions of the two boys are very different though the end result the same (times 4 with the rich white boy). I would have to know what the black boy did after punching the other one, whether he had a history of such things, had he bragged of what he was going to do beforehand etc. I think to suggest that this was a case of a judge being soft on a rich white teenager and another coming down hard on a poor black one is just too convenient a way to view such judgments. There are people who see white racism all around them and close their eyes to evidence which contradicts this. I suspect it might be quite easy to find a case, if you were determined enough to look for one, where the races were reversed but the judgment was the same. It’s just that there aren’t as many crusaders for white grievances as there are for blacks.


      4. The media didn’t focus so much on the African American’s case, there isn’t as much information on his case, as there is on Couch’s (the wealthy 16 year old). You’re also very focused on race, when the article was more on class, but as I said before race can play a role; but who knows with particular judge– had the Black parents had the same amount of money to bring about a creative defense….then things could be different.

        What I can tell you about Couch, is that he is someone who had a history of police interaction and was found behind the wheel with alcohol in the vehicle before the crash. Again, it is incredibly unusual for someone with a history of bad behavior and now this brutal act to only receive probation.

        There was also another article, that listed 10 young people under the age of 19 who received harsher punishments for drinking and driving — Black, White, and Hispanic.

        As for the 14 year old from last year, not much is known about his history or case because its sealed, so maybe he punched someone because he was angry or because he scared and defending himself. We don’t know, but the point is that Couch’s case is an outrage to the justice system and our supposed “blindness”. Period.


      5. Yes, I see what you mean. The truth is that in certain moods I want to lock almost everyone up, rich or poor, black or white, innocent or guilty. Even people wearing annoying clothes should be put away. From what you say this does sound like an injustice. But the person who needs dropping on his head is neither the defendant nor his lawyer but the fool judge who accepted such a ridiculous appeals. If both wealth and lack of wealth – and presumably everything in between – constitute excuses for crime, then we may as well just do without a justice system.


      6. Well there was a petition to remove Judge Boyd, but ironically she is retiring next year. Hhmmm…also the district attorney in that county has taken interest in Couch’s case and may supposedly change the sentencing…


  10. When I first heard about this case, I thought it was an Onion story. Amazingly, it’s true. The weird irony is that an innocent pastor was killed…………god works in mysterious ways:)


  11. TheGirl..I have been absent from my blog for quite a minute. I returned this eve to note that you had tipped “like” for one of my blog entries. Thank you. Upon reading a few of your entries, I realize I have been away too long. Your observations are on point and encourages contemplation. I will be back.


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