The recent San Bernardino shooting in California that claimed the lives of 14 innocent people has renewed focus on America’s gun control policies and how politicians have routinely shied away from drafting strict and concrete legislation to restrict the use of guns. Data from CDC has shown that guns killed 30,876 more people than fires and 4,635 more people than alcohol in the year 2013 in US. But it’s not just regular homicide cases or mass shootings that guns find mention in, even a large number of people are reported to shoot themselves every year.
Cases of gun violence have become so rampant that very few neighbourhoods can claim themselves to have not been affected by shooting incidents.
So if you are in the US and if you want to know whether someone’s been shot near your home, then a cool interactive map is here to help you. The map is a result of a collaboration between the Slate and The Trace with data reproduced from the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit that records gun violence in the US in real time.
All you need to do is enter your street address or your city name. Multi-coloured tags will pop-up showing you how close a shooting took place near you. They are also classified on the basis of whether it was a fatal or non-fatal shooting. Other details such as the date of the shooting along with the number of people killed or injured in the incident will also appear.
It is important to note how impressive this database is and the amount of data the researchers may have rummaged through to bring out such minute details. The interactive records a total of 30,284 incidents between December 5, 2014 and December 5, 2015. A pattern also emerges if one were to move from the countryside to the suburbs to densely-populated cities. Readers can also inform the non-profit if indeed a shooting incident has not been recorded in the map.
Finally, for Americans, the map is a terrifying reminder of how close a shooting may have taken place near them. More than anything, it should serve as a prompt message that there is more to be done in preventing gun violence.