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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."


Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.

Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.

Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com



Placer County News Headlines

Buying a Home is Still Better Than RentingRoseville, CA-- Home prices continue to rise faster than incomes and new employment, but it is still more cost efficient to own a home than to rent.

Parking Fees being levied at Hidden FallsAUBURN, Calif. -- Placer County's Hidden Falls Regional Park in North Auburn is a gem of a park. Unfortunately, parking can be hard to find, especially during weekends

$22.5 Million Approved for Placer County BuildingsAUBURN, Calif. -- Placer County Board of Supervisors approve an investment plan that will allocate a minimum of $4.5 million annually over the next five years

Placer SPCA Sees Success in Waiving Adoption FeesRoseville, Calif. - Adoption fees are waived for all animals, without exception, at the Placer SPCA during the month of August for its "full hearts, empty kennels" campaign

Classic Car Show in Grass Valley August 25(Grass Valley, CA) Cascades of Grass Valley, a senior living community located at 415 Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley, will be hosting a classic car show on Friday, August 25

Warriors Set to Start 2017 Volleyball CampaignROCKLIN, Calif. - The William Jessup women's volleyball team will start the season this week hosting the Warrior Invitational

Podcasts for Fundraising Professionals and DonorsWith that goal in mind, Eric Hogue and David Pineschi of William Jessup University are regularly producing light-hearted podcasts each month

Mono County Events for Scenic Adventure SeekersMONO COUNTY, Calif. - After record-setting snowfall that refilled lakes and rivers, leaving glistening snow on high peaks and meadows below

Lowest Reported Gas Prices in RosevilleRoseville, CA- Gas prices in Roseville and Rocklin are holding relatively steady as residents shift from summer vacations back to school and work

WJU Volleyball signs Isabella MauricioROCKLIN, Calif. - The women's volleyball head coach, Shasta Millhollin announced the signing of Isabella Mauricio from Foster City, Calif. to the 2017-18 roster.

Foam Fest Craft Beer and Live Music Festival[Olympic Valley, Calif.] - Achieve Tahoe (formerly Disabled Sports USA Far West) will host its 28th annual "Foam Fest" fundraising event

The Great Banquet in Roseville October 7thROSEVILLE, Calif., - Joni and Friends Sacramento will hold its fourth bi-annual event titled "The Great Banquet" at Bayside Church in Roseville on October 7, 2017


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