The Sandy Hook Project
I wanted to share with you guys a project I’ve been involved with started by John Spens of Thoughtworks regarding data collection and open analysis around guns and gun-related violence. John lives in Connecticut and has friends who were directly affected by the massacre in Newtown. Here is John’s description of the project:
I initiated the Sandy Hook Project in response to this need for information. The purpose of this project is to produce rigorous and transparent analyses of data pertaining to gun-related violence. My goal is to move beyond the rhetoric and emotion and produce (hopefully) objective insight into the relationship between guns and violence in the US. I realize that objectivity will be challenging, which is why I want to share the methods and the data openly so others can validate or refute my findings as well as contribute their own.
I’ve put the project on GitHub. (https://github.com/john-m-spens/SandyHookProject). While it’s not designed as a data repository, I think the ubiquitous nature of GitHub and the control enforced through the code repository model will support effective collaboration.
John has written a handful of posts about statistics and guns, including A Brief Analysis of Firearm-related Homicide Rates and Investigating Statistics Regarding Right to Carry Laws.
In addition to looking into the statistics that exist, John wants to address the conversation itself. As he said in his most recent post:
What limited data and analysis that exists is often misrepresented and abused, and is given much less attention than anecdotal evidence. It is relatively simple to produce a handful of cases that support either side in this debate. What we really need is to understand the true impact of guns on our society. Push back by the NRA that any such research would be “political opinion masquerading as medical science.” is unacceptable. We can only make intelligent decisions when we have the fullest picture possible.
John is looking for nerd collaborators who can help him with data collection and open analysis. He’s also hoping to have a weekend datafest to work on this project in March, so stay tuned if you want to be part of that!