Claims that mental illness of some type is really at the root of someone’s willful misbehavior have become so commonplace that many folks have not only lost their outrage that so many make such claims but also have granted these claims a fair degree of plausibility and even legitimacy. This begs the question of whether the concepts of personal responsibility and accountability even exist anymore. Is everyone in fact a victim in one way or another? Is all our behavior merely a product of our biochemistry, our upbringing, our environment, etc.? Are the concepts of right and wrong, crime and punishment simply outdated? Is everyone a victim, including the perpetrators of despicable acts?
The judge’s decision in the Ethan Couch case left many wondering whether being “spoiled rotten” will become the new defense for delinquent juveniles hoping to evade accountability for their actions.