How Big Data Can Stop Gun Violence

Armed only with data, we could begin to see the patterns between guns and ammunition purchases and violence, and to flag those people most at risk of killing dozens of their neighbors.

What's the Latest Development?


By turning algorithms loose on gun and ammunition purchasing trends, tragedies like those at Newton, Aurora and Virginia Tech could be prevented, according to Marc Parrish who works in the data industry: "As someone who deals daily with the deluge of data currently inundating the marketing world, I can say based on experience that this kind of record-keeping would be an inconsequential task to set up, and the data science to analyze it trivial. Massive efforts are going into far smaller things, such as which TV program is most engaging for soap buyers who have DVRs, and which pitcher/batter combinations lead to better baseball."

What's the Big Idea?

Those who would object to a database of gun and ammunition purchases on privacy grounds must confront surveillance efforts over text messages, cold medicine purchases and airline security. "To keep us safe, our government has decided they need the brightest mathematical minds to analyze records on the former and not the latter. Imagine if that were to change. Armed only with data, we could begin to see the patterns between guns and ammunition purchases and violence, and to flag those people most at risk of killing dozens of their neighbors."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

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