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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

$866 Million Budget for Placer County ApprovedThe Placer County Board of Supervisors has approved the county's final 2017-18 budget of $866.2 million, an increase of 6.2 percent from the previous

Free Dementia Training on Sept. 27 for Families of Loved Ones Roseville, CA- The number of Americans living with Alzheimer's disease is expected to triple - from five million today to more than 16 million by 2050 - unless a cure is found

Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk October 8thSacramento, CA - Join the Down Syndrome Information Alliance as we unite for a common cause and raise funds at the 2017 Step Up For Down Syndrome Walk

Roseville City School District partners with Tommy Apostolos FundRoseville, Calif. - Accidents happen, which is why local nonprofit, Tommy Apostolos Fund, is launching its newest program, "Kids' Care Kits."

Sacramento Metro Chamber Small Business Development Center UpdatesSACRAMENTO, CA - In less than three years after assisting its first client in December 2014, the Sacramento Metro Chamber's Capital Region Small Business Development Center

Recovery Happens Event in Auburn September 23Auburn, CA- This annual event celebrates people recovering from substance use or mental health concerns, highlighting their success stories

New Social Host Ordinance in AuburnAUBURN, Calif. - The Auburn City Council unanimously passed a civil social host ordinance during their city council meeting.

Versatile Hyundai Ioniq: Has EV and Hybrid modeRoseville, CA - Anyone interested in purchasing the all-new 2017 Hyundai Ioniq better be proficient at decision making

Roseville Gas Price Hikes Slow Heading into AutumnRoseville, CA- Coming off recent upticks in prices, Roseville area residents have seen prices remain relatively stable this past week.

WJU Baseball adds experience and leadership to staffROCKLIN, Calif. - William Jessup head baseball coach Jake McKinley is pleased to introduce the new coaching staff for the Warriors, bringing years of experience and leadership

Roseville Club to Host Tennis Sectional ChampionshipRoseville, CA - The United States Tennis Association (USTA) Northern California Adult 55+ Tennis Sectional Championship will be arriving on Sept. 21-24

Our Most Vulnerable Residents: Expanding Medical Care & HousingThe Placer County Board of Supervisors recently approved two new components of the Whole Person Care pilot program: a medical respite unit that will provide interim care for at-risk clients leaving the hospital, along with a new agreement to purchase housing units


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