Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Slate Partners With Anonymous Tweeter @GunDeaths To Map Ongoing Reports of Gun Incidents

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, December 21 2012

There's a ton of statistics out there on gun-related violence in the United States, but as two of Slate's editors pointed out this morning, there's not much out there that tracks statistics in real time.

So the duo, Chris Kirk, Slate's interactives editor, and Dan Krois, a senior editor there, decided to try and change that by partnering with the anonymous Tweeter at @gundeaths to map every reported death that @gundeaths finds through news alerts and tips. @gundeaths began the Twitter reporting this July.

"It seems shocking that when guns are in the headlines every day, there’s no one attempting to create a real-time chronicle of the deaths attributable to guns in the United States," write the two editors.

As the they admit, the map won't catch everything. Nevertheless, it's still a sobering project: For example, the map shows that since last Friday, 114 people (including those in Newtown, Connecticut) have been shot and killed.

The data is sortable by gender and age, and can be downloaded in a spreadsheet that the two have compiled.

Slate's project is sure to be just one of others that are likely to emerge in upcoming weeks. Already, Seattle-based entrepreneur Alex Algard has put together a map of school-related shootings at Stoptheshootings.com. And then there's other maps of crime that don't specifically focus on guns, but contain a lot of incidents related to guns, such as Homicide Watch in Washington, D.C., Redeye Chicago , and Crimemapping.com, which, per a spokesperson, tracks data from 400 agencies around the country.

The FBI receives reports from state and local law enforcement agencies on an annual basis and publishes these reports in the form of Uniform Crime Reports. A recent Congressional Research Service report on gun control legislation based on data from these reports shows that the estimated gun-related murder rate has actually declined between 1993 and 2009 from 6.6 victims per 100,000 people in 1993 to 3.4 in 2009.

Update: Chris Amico of Homicide Watch says that both The Trentonion and The Chicago Sun Times have licensed its software. And Jim MacMillan tracks gun violence in Philadelphia at GunCrisis.org.

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

monday >

Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

GO

More