Every few months, the media reports on a shooting so tragic that it causes the nation to pause. Last year, shootings in Aurora, Colorado and Oak Creek, Wisconsin became horrific preludes to the mass shooting carried out in Newtown, Connecticut.
But these shootings, while tragic in scope and scale, are not isolated events.
Take the map below, for example. The red dots represent adults killed by guns, the yellow dots represent teenagers, and the blue dots represent children. The data was pulled from Slate, which is available here. You can see a fullscreen version of our map here.
Shootings happen every day in America, but most are never covered by the national media. There is also no central database where the number of deaths by guns is recorded or collected. In response, and as the nation debates gun control, Slate is attempting to collect data on every person killed by a firearm. Through media reports, individual tips and in collaboration with the Twitter feed @GunDeaths, they are assembling the names, ages and gender of the victims, along with the location on the incident.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Slate recorded more than 1,600 deaths in just the few weeks since the Newtown shooting.
Dan Kois is a senior editor at Slate and a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine. He's working on the gun map interactive for Slate and discusses why he believes this data is crucial.