Skagit County Trends Newsletter

33,000 ANNUAL GUN-RELATED DEATHS IN THE U.S., BUT WHO ARE THEY?

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Good data can help to dispel fact from opinion, especially in the face of controversial subjects. Compelling visualization techniques can deliver insights about the data faster than lines of numbers of text.

Accessing the facts through data visualization simply helps us to better understand the world around us. We read upsetting news that might lead us to form sweeping generalizations. A sense of the data behind these reports can prevent quick, emotional reactions. Just as the Skagit County Trends site proposes, it is important to let data speak for themselves without the noise of quick judgement. Of course, there is more to understanding any slice of life that is depicted by data. Data usually tell a story or narrative. But interpretation,

and understanding the "why" behind the story is up to individuals and research.

Gun Deaths in America is an example of a data visualization on a highly charged, sad, and very topical subject. The interactive website, offered by FiveThirtyEight.com, provides an annual estimation of gun-related deaths by type in America. Using a variety of credible sources (such as the CDC, FBI, GTD, IPUMS and others) the site portrays in a compelling visual manner the origins of the approximate 33,000 gun deaths that take place annually in the U.S.

As you can observe in this data visualization, about 2/3 of all U.S. gun deaths are suicides. Of these, 85% of are committed by males, and more than 50% of male suicides are committed by those 45-years of age or older.