January 26, 2022


In the last few days we witnessed a shameful performance at a juvenile court in Tarrant County, Texas.    A young man on a drunken rampage with some friends stole alcoholic beverages and ran into a crowd killing four innocent bystanders.    The culprit, which belonged to a wealthy family, was given probation, with a mandated treatment, based on the idea that the 16 y.o. was suffering from affluenza.   

This term used in a book to describe rich, spoiled children is not reflective of any known mental illness.    We have experienced on recent years many tragedies that were committed by untreated mentally ill persons.    Using a fake diagnosis does a tremendous disservice to the truly sick.    Lawyers will surely opine on the legal aspects of this case.    I do feel a personal embarrassment that another mental health care provider contributed to this farce.    Will the thugs that practice the infamous knockout game will excuse their behavior with the allegation of suffering from indigenza, or is this stupidity exclusive to the rich and powerful?   

We as a society are indeed suffering from an illness.    We could name it, amorality plague.    The etiology is derived from a lack of family values, poor education, lack of accountability, and it is spreading among all members of the population regardless of wealth.    The treatment would consist of high doses of limits to antisocial behavior, with old remedies as a good slap in the behind, and new ones like a time out.    A long term treatment will be required to go back to the times when we were told about limits to our actions, right from wrong, spiritual not material rewards, and the merits personal responsibility versus dependency.    The need for treatment is urgent!

Fernando J Milanes MD