Maggie Clark, Pew / Stateline Staff Writer, USA Today - December 6, 2013
The case involves the State of Florida, which uses only IQ to determine whether a convicted person is “mentally retarded” and therefore ineligible for execution. A few other states use very narrow or very difficult to prove criteria to determine intellectual disability, while most states use a “3 prong” approach that takes several factors into consideration. It sounds like the Supreme Court might be ready to give clearer, possibly better criteria to all the states.
I’ve still never heard anyone discuss how legally defining intellectual disability in death penalty cases might affect non-criminal cases like competency and guardianship. Since I oppose the death penalty, I’d be glad to see any ruling that removes more “borderline” cases from death row. But, I’m also worried what else might happen when more people are deemed legally not responsible for their actions, due to intellectual disability. Lots of intellectually disabled people would benefit from having more responsibility and autonomy in their lives.
Benjamin Weiser and Matt Flegenheimer, New York Times - December 5, 2013
Obviously, this is a great victory for disabled people in New York City. As someone who lives in a small town, though, I’m hoping that in a few years, used accessible cabs from New York might provide more accessible service in rural areas. Where I live, even one accessible taxi would make a huge difference.
After reading this story, I went looking for information on LA Weekly, wondering if it was a heavily partisan, right-wing newspaper. It seems not. It's more like the Village Voice, a little "out there", but artsy, and left-of-center. So, I’m even more disgusted at the story, and afraid of how many otherwise sensible people will start to believe that this one guy is indicative of some sort of ugly trend. More specifically, this is just shoddy journalism. The article refers to a “sizable but unknown amount of cash” the man has collected from his ADA lawsuits. If the amount is unknown, how do you know it’s sizable? The article explains that only California law permits collecting damages from ADA lawsuits. So really, it isn’t the ADA at all … it’s a California law he’s suing under. It may be modeled on the ADA, but it isn’t the ADA, which is a Federal law. And the cartoon at the top of the article is really pretty offensive and snide.
I really worry that the next big thing in the social history of disability is going to be the general public buying into a whole matrix of myths that cast us as dishonest, lazy, selfish, irritating, and delusional. These are already active, but I'm concerned that they will take the next step from shameful prejudices won't admit to, to hip, cynical joke themes enjoyed by "smart" readers of alternative weeklies like the LA Weekly.
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