During the holiday season we tend to reflect on our lives. By Paul Maisano

Photo: 16 yearold Ethan Couch of Texas Photo Courtesy WFFA.com

My focus is usually on what I could have done better as a parent, a community member, or a business person. While most of us do fairly well,
many of us wish to raise the bar. We all can become better people by learning from life’s tough lessons.
Let’s look at a sad situation in Burleson, Texas. According to a report in the Star-Telegram, a 16 year old named Ethan Couch, drove his father’s company truck into four innocent people. All four were killed on the Texas roadside as they tended a disabled vehicle. Couch evidently lost control of the truck plowing into this group. Another teenager, a passenger riding in the truck bed, sustained serious injuries is now sentenced to life living in a vegetated state.
Couch’s defense attorneys argued that their client suffers from a condition of ‘affluenza’. His defense team convinced the judge that the defendant suffers from this condition as a result of being spoiled by his wealthy parents. The parents pretty much gave this kid everything he desired allowing him to get away with anything.
Apparently, Couch now has gotten away with killing four innocent people.
According to police reports, Couch was tested for alcohol registering at least three times the legal limit, plus traces of a narcotic were found in his blood stream. Even though Couch pleaded guilty to the DWI, he was still sentenced to a years rehabilitation and a ten year probation.
Obviously, Texas State Judge Jean Boyd has bought into the Couch bogus defense by dispensing a ‘joke’ of a sentence. By allowing this young man to get no penalty, for what is at minimum vehicular homicide, is criminal. Ethan Couch may be a juvenile, however, a few years in a detention facility along with twenty years of probation, accompanied by the indefinite loss of license for life, might have been more in order for such irresponsible behavior.
Certainly, in most cases a penalty serves as a measure of accountability. It can never provide compensation from the result of the destruction caused by a moments poor judgement. A sentence is seldom to be a tool of revenge, but moreover a barometer of fairness.
Let us all remember, each of those killed in this horrific accident are gone forever. We should all take note of the following potential circumstance, if it was one of our own daughters, sons, parents, or loved one was killed….how would we feel? A reasonable penalty should be a minimum standard. We are all required to be responsible when we get behind the wheel of any vehicle, regardless of our age.
There are no winners in such tragedy, only the lessons for all of us to learn.
Now, does anyone have the intestinal fortitude to talk about texting while driving by any chance? Let us not deny the fact that this dangerous illegal behavior is of epidemic proportion. We all witness it, many of us do it. We must initiate a program that heightens the level of awareness by enforcing the current rules. A three strike warning citation enforcement system should start immediately, before its too late.
What’s worse…. injuring someone while intoxicated, or while looking for your email while driving sober? You decide.
We must teach our children responsibility with our actions, not words.

Let’s us all enjoy a safer 2014, by working on this problem together.
Safe holiday best wishes from Paul Maisano

Thank you,

Paul Maisano
Blackstone Enterprise Inc.

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