We all know that graphics are fantastic for getting your point across. The problem is that it is easy to make graphics - even accurate graphic - very deceiving.
For instance. I found the graphic below on Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns website. This beautiful graphic compares states using a range of colors from cheerful lemon yellow to foreboding blood red. On the home page, the link title for this map reads, "Find out whether your state is doing everything it can to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people," implying that the red states are practical war zones where "dangerous people" have easy access to guns.
After clicking on the link, you find a similar deceiving title followed by the fine print that only makes passing mention of what the map actually depicts, and then bold text that implores you to "Demand Action to end gun violence from Congress and your governor."
What this graphic really depicts is how the states are coming along in locating and submitting missing background check records demanded by those running the national database. It has absolutely nothing to do with gun violence. It does, however, show that Texans are just as good as New Yorkers at keeping records - and we have a lot more gun sales to keep up with.
Let's compare Mayor Bloomberg's graphic to another graphic from Zara Matheson at the Martin Prosperity Institute. This one depicts actual gun violence rates per capita by city and compares them to the violence statistics of entire countries.
WHOA! That lemon yellow section in the northeast doesn't look so safe anymore. And look at all those dangerous blood red states - with the exception of New Orleans - and we can all agree on the issues there - the blood red states have the fewest and smallest bubbles of all. Most have none.
Add in this year's ten top scoring states for gun control laws (by Brady Campaign score) - California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Rhode Island, Illinois, and Pennsylvania - seven of which aren't looking too good on MPI's per capita violence map, and we begin to get a much better picture of the real world.
Mayor Bloomberg's site puts up a deceitful map and then tells you what to think. I'll just give you these graphics and statistics and let you draw your own conclusions. That is the luxury of truth.
Thanks for Reading,
James R. Hannibal