“It shouldn’t take the death of a teenage boy to stop overuse of restraint in schools. But, given how ingrained such practices are in our educational systems, and the 120,000 kids experiencing restraint or seclusion each year, I’m worried this one death won’t be enough.”
I am just finishing edits on my sixth piece on the death penalty in the last two years for Pacific Standard. Here’s what I’ve written:
- First the Supreme Court established a better standard for determining whether someone was intellectually disabled (and thus protected from execution) by overturning the “Lennie” standard. Because Texas asked juries to compare people to “Lennie” from Of Mice and Men.
- But then Arkansas executed Ledell Lee, a man who was clearly disabled with fetal alcohol syndrome and possibly innocent. Few disability rights organizations (The Arc was an exception) seemed to care.
- That led me to ask just how many prisoners on death row were disabled? Answer: pretty much all of them.
- This year a tip from a friend showed me how “ethnic adjustments,” the knowledge that IQ tests are racist trash, are used to artificially raise the score of convicted prisoners of color to make them eligible for the death penalty.
- Then most recently I talked about Kwame Rockwell, a prisoner in Texas set to be the next disabled person executed in the U.S. He’s mentally ill, not intellectually disabled, so his protections aren’t as clear. His execution was halted at the last minute to re-assess competence though.
Is there anyone reading this site who doesn’t read me at Facebook, Twitter, or over on Patreon? I’m considering letting the blog posts mostly go here.
My latest update: Weekly Roundup: Spider-Man and Marc Lamont Hill.
UPDATE – SO GLAD TO SEE Y’ALL IN THE COMMENTS! I will keep posting here.
My daily posts have mostly moved to my Patreon site. Today’s is on a dozen or so ableist job ads in higher ed, an issue I’ve been covering for years.
New Open Post: Book Review – The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi. “Fun, raunchy, convoluted, and extremely well paced. It delivers satisfying payoffs for the setups in the previous book, and has a few surprise reveals at the end.” (On Patreon, but open to all)
D: D’Souza clearly isn’t interested in facts, so what kind of effect do you think you can have?
K: I’m under no illusion that I’m going to get him off Twitter. He’s got a very profitable con—I assume it’s a con. I do it for people on the sidelines, [for] people who aren’t already his fans but are confronted with people pushing his work directly or his arguments indirectly. It’s a way to serve as counterbalance.
D: Are you worried that you’re just giving him more oxygen?
K: Both D’Souza and Trump have a much bigger audience than I have. The millions of people who follow them are already going to see [their tweets]. It’s important to not just let them go unchallenged. D’Souza’s schtick was to say that no historians ever objected to what [he says]. So our lack of fact-checking was taken as at least our tacit approval. If we don’t speak up and challenge these untruths, then they have the floor.
Historians have the same kind of duty that scientists have to climate change deniers, that doctors have to anti-vaccine folks.
Horrible people in Chicago attempt to use zoning rules to stop parents trying to build a ramp for their disabled child. Their reason – ramps are too ugly.
Steve Weiss, president of the Old Town Triangle Association, wrote a letter to Ald. Michele Smith (43rd), detailing his objections to the project.
“I understand that the people who purchased the house have a child that requires special needs,” he wrote. “What I don’t understand is why they chose to buy a house in a Landmark Zone when you have these needs. I don’t mean to be heartless or uncaring but this is not the neighborhood for that. Here you conform to the rules, not the other way around.”
The garage would ruin one of the most beautiful, and historic, lines of Victorian homes in Chicago, and the family knew they would be subject to the landmark district’s rules, he wrote.
“Now I’m feeling bad like they are shaming us because we are not willing to allow them this garage which they need for their child,” Weiss wrote. “They should have put their child’s needs first and moved to a neighborhood more conducive to her needs.”
Disabled people, according to Weiss, aren’t allowed in historic districts. Weiss, the worst person in Chicago (on this day) had more to say. From the article:
Weiss went on to write if the zoning board approved the plans for the renovation, he would soon follow with construction plans of his own. It’s a slippery slope when you start allowing homeowners to make certain renovations within historic districts, he argued.
“Do not approve this request to have a garage built,” he wrote. “If you do, I will have my lawyers contact you immediately about building my garage and my friends across the street will do the same. Then we’re like Wells Street and no longer a historic district. It’s game over for preservation!!!”
Well that’s a charmer.
“These are the ingredients of a memory that’s neither eulogy nor miracle. Stock, wine, garlic, onion and fat. Heat, cancer, childhood, sorrow and love. I wish I could cook for her again.”
Today in The Washington Post.
NEW POST: My wife would like to help you make biscuits. #Biscuits #OhNomNomNom #recipeshttps://t.co/t3XYbxwZdu pic.twitter.com/qCObL4ydPu
— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) November 19, 2018
I’m still figuring out the relationship between my blog and posts on my patreon site. My wife and I are so grateful for all the love and financial help in this difficult moment, so she wrote up her biscuit recipe. It’s amazing (she’s a pro). Happy eating. Post open to all (but if you had 2$ a month to spare to support my writing and her recipe development, we’d be grateful).
“Like HQ2 but for housing the homeless.”
— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) November 16, 2018
Whenever I argue about universal healthcare, building a robust safety net, fully empowering people with disabilities to live lives based on maximum autonomy, or otherwise articulate a vision in which government alleviates suffering, I get one answer – oh yeah! How are we gonna pay for it!
But the obscene spectacle of governments competing for Amazon’s second headquarters shows what’s possible when leaders feel the payoff is worth it and the political price for not competing would be too high.
Now just imagine those resources were expended on making life better for people who need help, rather than building infrastructure to enforce income inequality.
A man can dream.