A targeted country

Francis Gagnon
February 16, 2018

When a mass shooting in the US appears at the top of the news cycle, it’s difficult to talk or even think about something else. The whole debate is hard to grasp from abroad as the arguments of the gun lobby — people kill people, bad guys will have guns, it’s in the Constitution, the government will control us — have all been addressed successfully outside of the U.S. Yet, the debate goes another round. As one famous tweet and may people have said: it seems like the debate was over ever since Americans decided in Sandy Hook that it was ok to mass murder children.

An editorial from the New York Times shows this in a powerful way. The title sets the scene “What Congress Has Accomplished Since the Sandy Hook Massacre” and the visualization does the rest.

And all the way down to today, with the Parkland massacre. The legend is especially poignant as it raises your hopes that something has been done, but then you scroll and scroll and none of these colours appear.  Poignant scrollytelling.

What struck me though isn’t really visualized: it’s the number of mass shootings each month. The Times probably decided not to encode it because it would have distracted from the message. But there seemed to be a trend where they are more common in the summer and I wanted to verify that, so I made this with the data.

Each red dot represents a mass shooting. The black bars in the back top at the monthly average. They happen to form a skyline, targeted by the shootings. A moving art piece hidden in the data.

We, non-Americans, watch in horror each time and feel powerless like many Americans, except we truly are and it’s weighing on us. For now, this will be my contribution as I can’t stop thinking about it and I dread the moment that I will.

Picture of Francis Gagnon

Francis Gagnon

Francis Gagnon is the founder of Voilà: (2013), an information design company specializing in sustainable development.

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