Massacres in the US: Interactive map worth ‘1,000 words’

An unidentified woman asks a police officer for information about a teacher after a shooting spree threw Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown into turmoil Friday morning. Melanie Stengel/Register

Por César Arredondo

As the nation is still trying to understand the tragic loss of the 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut last week, here is an interactive map of massacres that have happened in the US in recent decades.

“A map is worth a (sic) 1,000 words,” says Patricial Carbajal, geographic information system lecturer at Stanford University, who created the project. “This interactive map shows the latest incidents in the US for the past few decades.”

Click on a symbol to find more information about the incident. Symbol size and color is displayed by the number of fatalities on each incident.

On her website, Carbajal says: “This project is a personal tribute to Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, Ana, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessice, Avielle, Benjamin, Allison, Anna Marie, Lauren, Victoria, Rachel, Mary and Dawn. You are the reason why I started this project. This is the best I can do to honor your memory.”

Carbajal was one of several trainers who participated at the recent Hackathon on Immigration in Los Angeles. The event was organized by Claudia Nunez of the nonprofit RDataVox and sponsored by Latino California, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and Sprint and others. The Hackathon trained journalists to translate numbers and other data into stories and visuals to better inform their readers.

This map is in line with that purpose.

“This project started on December 14th, 2012 to provide a platform for constructive debate on how to avoid tragedies like the one that happened in Sandy Hook Elementary School,” says Carbajal on her site.

She adds: “We hope that with this data, maps and graphics, we can bring together policy makers, politicians, journalists and researchers, who can start looking at the reality of mass shooting in the US from another perspective. Our map and our graphics show that this is not a series of random events where national attention gets devoted for a few days and we quickly forget until the next tragedy strikes. Mass shootings are starting to be an unfortunate common thread on our every day news. The current measurements are clearly not enough and a national debate (whether it is gun control or not, educational programs, security systems, etc) needs to happen.”



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