The Price of Freedom: Gun Violence and Children

Lab Reports, Maps


“This is the price of freedom.  Violent nuts are allowed to roam free until they do damage, no matter how threatening they are.”

A quote from Bill O’Reilly’s Blog, No Spin News, regarding the mass murder in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay hotel in the Fall of 2017.  This quote, unfortunately, clearly states that innocent lives are lost due to lack of gun control.  Hearing this quote I had a desire to map out this cost. Focusing on the most innocent, I mapped out the gun deaths and injuries of children under the age of 12.
I started by looking at a possible correlation between overall rates of death for each state. I then began looking into connections between domestic violence and gun violence.

Everytown Gun Research


Data Collection
Using data from the Guardian regarding gun crimes and death in the United States, I pulled the rate of deaths for each state.  I then found data on deaths and injuries of children under 12 from the Gun Violence Archive.  In order to get a geolocation from this dataset, I needed to bring the data into OpenRefine to combine columns into a format that could be used with google sheets services.
Data Visualization
The data for states from the Guardian file easily over the shapefile from the U.S. Census site. I used light and dark on each state to show higher or lower death rate.  The locations of deaths and injuries are shown with a marker.  The size of the marker indicates the number of deaths.
Google Sheets


Gun Violence Rates and Children

When the data was laid out in Carto the resulting map did not show a strong correlation between gun deaths of children and rates of total gun deaths by state, which I found surprising.  There must be another influencing factor, so I began to look at domestic violence since there is such a strong correlation between femicide and domestic partners.
As I began to look at data from, there does seem to be a connection between lack of support services and domestic gun violence.  This data was in separate tables for each state, so a new dataset would need to be created from the others.  Creating an additional layer of shading on the state map that displays each state’s ability to meet the needs of victims, may illustrate this connection.

Future Considerations

I would have liked to have spent more time gathering and working with the data.  Most resources only gave parts of a full data-set and normalizing the data was challenging.  Also, some data simply did not exist. Not all states report the same, or any, data on gun violence or domestic abuse.  It is an interesting subject that deserves more attention.  Most news coverage is focused on mass shootings like the one in Newtown, CT, but the same number of children under 12 are killed every two months in the US.