Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Teachers, Children and the Art of the Dodge

Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you'll know by.
-Graham Nash

Those of us of a certain age espouse the belief that among the inalienable rights with which the primordial ooze that preceded us has imbued us is the right to be very critical of young people.  We take solace one hopes in the fact that the very same persons who give voice to comments such "Oh, those kids", "Kids today don't appreciate [fill in the blank]" and "Back in my day [again, fill in the blank as it suits you]" are the ones about whom such things were being uttered a generation ago.  

We should also come to grips with the fact that an adult can serve as a really shitty role model for a child.  Case in point, your newborn irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or skin color does not enter the world chock full of prejudice and hate.  Those are after-market accessories.  Want to take a guess on where he or she acquires them?  

Of course, given the propensity that far too many adult humans have towards being responsibility-evading jagoffs it is little wonder just how often those adults in positions of responsibility abdicate that very responsibility.  Take for instance, Judge Jean Boyd of Fort Worth, Texas.  On two separate occasions prosecutors asked the Honorable Judge Boyd to sentence 16 year-old Ethan Couch to a term of incarceration in State prison.  Why?  It turns out that young Mr. Couch was driving a pickup truck (in Texas - quick open the Crayola box and color me "stunned") in which seven people were passengers.  Young Mr. Couch was driving while intoxicated to the point that his blood alcohol level, when tested post-accident, was three times the Texas limit of legal intoxication.  Young Mr. Couch crashed his pickup truck, killing four people in the process, and severely injured two others.

The four people who Couch killed were not in a vehicle that was in his lane of travel.  A young woman named Breanna Mitchell was in her disabled car, which was on the side of the road, being assisted by three Good Samaritans, including Hollie Boyles and her 21 year-old daughter Shelby, when Couch rammed his truck into the vehicle.  Ms. Mitchell and all three of the people who stopped to assist her were killed.   

Judge Boyd has now - on two separate occasions - sentenced young Mr. Couch to 10 years' probation and to go to a private rehabilitation facility, which his parents shall pay for, and has flatly rejected the State's request that he spend at least a bit of time actually paying for what he did.  If this case rings a bell - and it might - it is likely because of the defendant's introduction of the "Affluenza" defense, which excused Mr. Couch's behavior on the grounds that his parents had so spoiled him that young Mr. Couch could not tell the difference between right and wrong.  http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/affluenza-teen-ethan-couch-due-back-court-article-1.1602998

For those keeping score at home, Judge Boyd's defense is "Assluenza", which experts tell me means that she is too much of a jackass to understand her responsibility to impart life lessons on the subjects of "right" and "wrong" in accordance with the discretion the law vests her with to irresponsible young people such as young Mr. Couch. 

The Hon. Jean Boyd and the Affluenza-afflicted Ethan Couch could both stand to spend a bit of time in the company of my friend Gabriel Hurley.  Yes, I have written of Gabe often in this space and I am doing so again right now.  Perhaps a point in time will arrive when he ceases doing things worth taking the time to talk about and to appreciate.  It is a possibility I suppose.  It is certainly not probable. 

This past week, at or about the same time that young Ethan Couch was being reminded again by adults who should care enough about him to do better by him (his parents, his attorney and Her Honor for those scoring at home) that nothing paves the way to abdication from responsibility quite as smoothly and as effortlessly as money does, Gabe was giving his incredible presentation and lecture to a group of high school students in Montclair, New Jersey.  http://newjersey.news12.com/multimedia/every-day-heroes-gabe-hurley-1.6976126.  Do yourself the great service of checking out the video.  It is less than two minutes from start to finish and if it is not the best two minutes of your day today, then I promise you that in the spirit of the Sochi Olympics it shall at least earn a place on the medal platform. 

Ethan Couch probably spent about as much time in court listening to and appearing before Judge Boyd as those high school students spent in assembly listening to and watching Gabe Hurley.  Who do you think left having learned a life lesson to carry forward all the days of their life? 

Well, a life lesson worth carrying forward that is....

-AK

   


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