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The Syllabus: What you need to know for the June 9 'MHP'

A petition popped up on this week urging Connecticut Gov.
AP Photo/Jessica Hill
AP Photo/Jessica Hill

A petition popped up on this week urging Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy to keep private graphic photos of the bodies of the Sandy Hook victims private. The petitioners, all parents of child victims in the Dec. 14 shooting, voiced their wishes for their children to be remembered as happy, beautiful, individuals.

As the gun control battle seems to have stalled on the national stage, Sunday’s Melissa Harris-Perry will look at the power that pictures have on policy changes. We have witnessed the affect that graphic images have had on the public and legislative reaction to violent events, from Emmett Till to Abu Ghraib. Host Melissa Harris-Perry's conversation will center on the pictures of the Newtown victims and weigh the importance of privacy for grieving families against the power those pictures could wield in the gun debate.

In keeping with our conversation on our right to privacy, Harris-Perry will discuss this week’s admission from the White House that the NSA has been collecting records of phone calls by Verizon users as well as gaining information about Internet use through some major companies like Google and Facebook. At a time when terrorists hide in plain sight and communicate across the same fiber optics as everyone else, where do national security measures end and where does our right to privacy begin?

Sunday’s show will throw it in reverse and take you back to the 1980s, when a limited study conducted on infants born to crack addicted mothers gave rise to the term "crack baby." The study concluded that these babies would suffer lifelong cognitive and physical disabilities and would most likely become “delinquents.” As it turns out, the study that ignited a media frenzy, was unsubstantiated and many of the symptoms exhibited by the so called “crack babies,” were the same attributed to premature infants. Harris-Perry will discuss a new study from the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine and will sit down with Dr. Carl Hart, author of "High Price", a book that unearths the truth behind drugs and society.

Harris-Perry will also talk to our panel about this year's terrific lineup of movies brought to you by black filmmakers, directors and actors--and will speak to Ava DuVernay, the first black woman to win the Best Director prize at the famed Sundance Film Festival for her 2012 film Middle of Nowhere (see a trailer here). And of course, be sure to check out this week’s installment of “Wow…Seriously?”

Be sure to read what we’ve linked above, and watch Melissa Harris-Perry Sunday at 10 a.m. EST on msnbc! Also, don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #nerdland. See you on Sunday!