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Week Two with Journalist David M. Perry




Last week, you learned about David M. Perry, a history professor who doubles as a nationally known disabilities rights journalist and activist. He has a 10-year-old son with Down syndrome.

Not long ago, the Ruderman Family Foundation commissioned Perry to research the 260 occurrences from 2011-15 of people with disabilities who were murdered by their parents or caregivers. Perry was shocked at what he discovered.

In a telephone interview, he said, "First off, it should not be a surprise people with disabilities experience violence at a higher rate than other people. That's true across the board, whether that's domestic, sexual or state violence (i.e., policing or incarceration), violence from poverty, or, as in this case, violence coming from people who are supposed to take care of you."

In America, Perry learned, a parent or caregiver murders a person with a disability under his or her care about once a week. Again, no surprise. What shocked him was the unprofessional way journalists went about covering these heinous crimes.

He said, "For one, any given local journalist is going to encounter one or two of these stories eventually, depending on their geographical location. The question is when they encounter these stories, do they have the tools to do a good job accordingly."

Journalists usually slant these types of stories to make the murders appear as "mercy killings" rather than actual, real murders, Perry said. The media rarely question the murderer's oft-repeated claims of "hardship," which Perry said repeated the skewed narrative that financial or physical hardship was an acceptable reason for a caregiver to murder and as a reason for the caregiver to avoid incarceration.
He said, "If we journalists spread the message that it's understandable and sympathetic when parents kill their disabled children, what kind of message does that send to other parents?"

Also, in the 66 U.S. murders reported on just in 2015, Perry didn't find one instance in which a newspaper reporter used a reaction quote from a person with a disability or a disability rights group to get their timely perspectives on the murder.

Of this, he said, "Every city and state in our country has formal disability rights organizations ready to talk on the record about these issues. These groups exist and will answer email and telephone questions. It seems so basic and such an achievable goal for a journalist or editor (to get these reaction quotes). This should be Journalism 101."





Placer County News Headlines

BottleRock Napa Valley 2018 Lineup and Single Day Passes NAPA, CA- Single day general admission and VIP passes for the sixth annual BottleRock Napa Valley music, wine, food and craft brew festival, presented by JaM Cellars on May 25 - 27, 2018

Toyota C-HR, a stylish new subcompact SUV unveiledRoseville, CA- The all-new 2018 Toyota C-HR, a subcompact crossover sport utility vehicle that is similar to a hatchback.

Roseville Gas Prices Up: Where You Can Save MoneyRoseville, CA,- Residents in Roseville and throughout Placer County have watched as gas prices have pushed upward to being the new year.

WJU Warriors Clinch First Conference Win over HopeROCKLIN, Calif. - The Lady Warriors took Horton Court for the second time this week, last taking on No. 1 in the nation,

Roseville Teacher Under Investigation for Sexual Harassment Following ArticleRoseville, CA- An email went out this morning in Roseville addressing concerns over a Roseville teacher who is under investigation relating to allegations of sexual harassment and unprofessional behavior

Placer County Appoints New CEOAuburn, CA,- Following a nationwide search, Placer County has selected Todd Leopold as its new county executive officer.

Rocklin completes purchase of former Sunset Whitney Golf ClubRocklin, CA,- The City of Rocklin has completed the purchase of approximately 184 acres of land that was previously the site of the Rocklin Golf Club

Former Roseville Mayor Rocky Rockholm DiesRoseville, CA,- Former Roseville Mayor and Placer County District I Supervisor F.C. "Rocky" Rockholm passed away yesterday after a short illness at the age of 73.

3,200 False Burglar Alarms in Roseville in One YearThe Roseville Police Department responded to approximately 3,200 false burglar alarms in 2016. That's an average of 8.75 service calls every day of the year for a non-crime purpose

Placer SPCA Searches for the Hero Next DoorRoseville, Calif. - Placer SPCA is seeking nominations for the 2018 Hero Awards, to be presented at the 17th Annual Funny Bones Comedy Show & Awards Night

Placer Community Foundation's 2018 Scholarship Applications Placer Community Foundation invites local high school seniors and current college students to apply for scholarship awards for the 2018-2019 year

BottleRock Napa Valley Sells Out of 3-Day Festival PassesNAPA, CA - January 9, 2018: BottleRock Napa Valley, presented by JaM Cellars, has announced that all 3-day passes for the sixth annual music, wine, food and craft brew festival have sold out.


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