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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

Rocklin Charts Course for Defunct Sunset Whitney Golf Space The Rocklin City Council is scheduled to consider an opportunity proposed for the former Sunset Whitney Golf Course land at the March 28 Council Meeting.

Spring Eggstravaganza April 15-16 at Fairytale TownSacramento, Calif. - Celebrate spring with egg hunts, puppet shows, hands-on activities and more at Fairytale Town's annual Spring Eggstravaganza

Gardens of the Hills Fundraiser Tour and Crafts FairEl Dorado Hills, CA - The Assistance League of Sierra Foothills presents their 8th annual Gardens of the Hills Fundraiser Tour and Crafts Fair

Carmel Valley: Land of Honey, Wine & ArtCarmel Valley, CA- Just a short scenic drive inland from Carmel-by-the-Sea lies a delightful little village tucked in the hills that sometimes and undeservedly gets overlooked by travelers in favor of its more popular coastal neighbors.

Roseville Moose Lodge Charity Golf Tournament May 20thRoseville, CA- The Roseville Moose Lodge will be holding its second annual charity golf tournament Saturday, May 20 at Whitney Oaks Golf Club in Rocklin

Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital Foundation welcomes new president and board memberAuburn - Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital Foundation announces the appointment of a new board president, Robert Frew and board member, Suzi deFosset.

Lincoln MKZ: Luxury sedan has lots to offerRoseville, CA- We test drove the 2017 Lincoln MKZ recently for a week and came away impressed.

Corky's Corner: Golden Age Mic Pre 73 ReviewRoseville, CA- If you have a budget or bedroom studio and you are looking for a Neve type Pre amp look no further. The Golden Age Pre is for you.

Roseville Gas Prices Cool as Warmer Temps Move InRoseville, CA- Gas prices in Roseville experienced a slight dip this past week. That's good news as the forecast shows warmer spring weather finally returning to Northern California

American Sign Language Bicentennial Celebration at WJUROCKLIN, Calif., - William Jessup University's American Sign Language (ASL) club will host "ASL Day for All" on Saturday, April 8 at 9:30 a.m. at the growing university

Chicago the TRIBUTE to play Opera House Saloon in Roseville(ROSEVILLE, CA) - Chicago the TRIBUTE, a 9-piece tribute to the band with the horns and hits will be playing the Opera House Saloon Roseville on Thursday, March 30

Roseville Criminal Activity Heats UpRoseville, CA- As the weather heats up, so does Roseville criminal activity. The Roseville police log digest update for the ten-day period covering March 10-20, 2017.


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