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The true horror of mass shootings is lost as the media moves to the next tragedy and politicians stall with platitudes. The outrage dissipates.

How can the danger from gun violence and domestic terrorism be presented to better inform people and mobilize them to demand action from legislators?

The large volume of data on gun violence makes it hard to understand the full scope of the carnage. But, it is important to identify the pattern in these killings in order to understand the root causes and what can be done to prevent them. Why is the frequency increasing? What do the perpetrators have in common? Why are more people getting killed and injured? Which weapons do they use? Who are the elected officials where the killings took place?

Mapping mass murders

Visualization distills large amounts of data into a simple graphic that is easy to understand. This lets people first grasp the big picture but still be able to access the details. The Five W's are a good information gathering technique.
Where was the mass shooting?
When did it take place?
Who was the shooter?
What weapon was uses?
Why? What was the killer's motivation?

We analyzed the last hundred mass shootings in the US since 2018. This information was current as of the recent tragedies in El Paso and Dayton. A time-lapsed map was designed withArcGIS using publicly available data from Mother Jones and congressional district data fromArcGIS Community Analyst to highlight:

- The age, gender and race of the murderers.
- The weapons used and the number of casualties.
- Congressional district and the congressperson's party affiliation.
- The size of each icon (sadly) corresponds to the number of injuries and deaths.

Clicking on an icon reveals the details about that shooting. The timeline at the bottom of the map indicates the time period being displayed. Note the accelerating rate and increase in the number of deaths since 2017.

The map shows the cumulative number of mass shootings and highlight the accelerating rate of killings. The map can be freely shared with this link or added into a web site with this line of code.

This map is static and can be searched for details of a shooting and the local elected official. The sample query above is of the recent mass shooting at Walmart in El Paso, TX where 20 people were slaughtered by a young white man who drove hundreds of miles to a largely hispanic area.


Simple visualizations work! Confusing data comes alive when presented clearly. Use infographics to inform and mobilize people. Learn more here.

Co-Founder, DemLabs

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