Mass Shooting Report Card

Exploring U.S. Gun Deaths in 2016 through Interactive Data Visualization

INTERACTION DESIGN : DATA VISUALIZATION

How might we represent complex national data to help citizens better understand the escalating gun deaths in the USA?

The most obscene incidents of gun violence usually do not make the mainstream news at all. Why? Because the mainstream media’s definition of “mass shooting” should more accurately be described as “mass murder”.

The current FBI definition of mass murder, commonly accepted by the media as a proxy for “mass gun violence”, is three or more people murdered in one event. At masshooting.org, a daily tacker of all gun violence in the USA, they believe this does not capture the whole picture.

Their definition is this: a mass shooting is an incident where four or more people are shot in a single shooting spree. This may include the gunman himself, or police shootings of civilians around the gunman.

Team

Individual Project

4 weeks – Communication Studio, Carnegie Mellon University, 2016

Role

Data Research, Analyses, Data processing, Concept & Interaction Design, Visual Design, Motion Graphics

Tools & Processes

Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Invision, After Effects

The Mass Shooting Scorecard

Gathering data from masshootingtracker.org, I was struck by the vast difference a quantitative definition of murder means.

The current FBI definition of mass murder, from their recent study of active shooter events, is three or more killed. The FBI does not define mass shooting. It is important to differentiate  between the two largely because of the huge variable that national data represents to its citizens and the level of false-safety that is advertised by gun-lobbyists.

Masshootingtracker.org defines a mass shooting to be an incident of violence in which 4 or more people are shot. Their mission is to record all incidents of mass gun violence. They include the shooter’s death because suicide matters and means matter. Ignoring the shooter’s death is not logically consistent with research that tracks the death toll of firearm suicides in our society.

Based on these two definition differences, I created the mass shooting scorecard – an interactive data visualization that presents the 2016 annual scorecard of the deaths and injuries caused by gun violence in the United States.

The interface is inspired from a gun range shooting scorecard. As the project was done before the end of the year 2016, only months from January to November were accounted for and visualized.

Citizens would be able to interact with each month tab, which would expand to showcase all days of the month and highlight the number of shooting for each day. It would also showcase based on  color intensity scoring, the death and injury rates per shooting incident.

Here we see the report for the month of February, showcasing gun deaths and injuries based on the definition of 4 injuries or deaths caused by gun violence. According to this definition, the quantitative deaths in February were 55 and injuries were 131, just by gun violence.

Citizens can toggle between FBI mass shooting definition and the masshootingtracker.org definition of mass gun deaths. Here we see the report for the month of February, showcasing gun deaths and injuries based on the definition FBI mass shooting, which reports only 19 injuries and 28 deaths.

Citizens can get more information on each gun shooting incident by clicking on the scorecard color intensity tabs. An incident report is generated on the right which states where the incident happened and how many individual deaths and injures occurred.

The red incident report indicates that the FBI did not recognize it as a mass shooting incident.

The blue incident report indicates that the shooting was registered by the FBI as a mass shooting incident.

Apart from viewing the gun violence incidents as a monthly report, citizens can also choose to print a annual report card. The interface changes to show a compact visualization of all the months together and the number of shootings.

This is the annual gun violence report according to the FBI which only registered  217 deaths and 105 injuries.

This is the annual gun violence report according to the masshootingtracker.org, which registered 572 deaths and 1702 injuries.

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