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Adrian Clavijo
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Beck's new album did not disappoint.

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Some education on the wind speeds of the 5 categories of Hurricanes
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Yesterday, +Aleatha Parker-Wood shared an interesting set of maps which plot the rate of gun deaths – total, suicides, and homicides – across the US. I wanted to share this here to point out an interesting feature of the graphs: the homicide and suicide maps look very little alike. (Note that gun suicides outnumber gun homicides nearly 2:1 overall; the graphs do not have the same scale, which is unfortunate.)

Only a handful of areas score high on both graphs: primarily, a band from southern Arizona into western Nevada, and another stretching from Dallas up across Arkansas.

Gun homicides cluster in the southwest and southeast, with southern California (really stretching all the way north to San Francisco), the Eastern Seaboard from mid-Virginia all the way down to Miami, and a radiating cluster spreading from Louisiana up and outwards through much of the Western half of the South, with one tendril reaching east to Atlanta; as well as hotspots in various larger cities, especially in the Industrial Midwest. There's a big chunk of the West where the gun homicide rate is too low to plot without revealing personally identifiable information.

Gun suicides, on the other hand, form an angry red blot over the entire Western US, with California and Washington notably excluded. They also stretch vividly in a band across Appalachia all the way out towards Oklahoma, with notable clusters along the Gulf and in northern Michigan.

There are a lot of finer gradations you can find if you dig into these maps for a while, but I find these results very interesting. They align, to some extent, with Colin Woodard's description of the US as partitioned into "nations," geocultural groups with distinct heritages (http://emerald.tufts.edu/alumni/magazine/fall2013/features/up-in-arms.html), modulo the caveat that Woodard's understanding of the US seems to stop somewhere around the Mississippi River. Homicides are clustered in the Deep and Tidewater South, and another in the Southwest in a way which is probably much more tied to economics. Suicides trace out Woodard's Greater Appalachia plus the West – a place whose cultural link to Appalachia is often ignored. (But consider where the miners, the frontiersmen, and various other misfits who spread westward during the 18th and 19th centuries, and defined "Westernness" in a lot of ways, came from; the similarity between miner towns and Appalachian towns is not a coincidence.)

My guess: These two graphs are driven by very different things. Gun homicides are likely tied to guns acquired specifically for antipersonnel purposes, be they "self-defense" or "murder." Gun suicides, on the other hand, may well simply be tied to these being the areas where people are more likely to have guns for other reasons – e.g. for hunting – and so they become the natural tool of self-harm as well.

What this really emphasizes is the extent to which the cultural understanding and significance of guns in the US is geographic. A gun in LA or Chicago is there for killing people; a gun in Utah or Tennessee is there for hunting or varmint control. And because our geography is increasingly connected with our politics, which in turn is increasingly connected with who we talk to, people are increasingly unlikely to know people across these boundaries – or to realize that guns mean something completely different in different places, and come with completely different sets of risks.

(A good companion to this map, from the same source, is this set of diagrams showing how gun-related deaths compare to all other causes of death in the US: http://www.oregonlive.com/data/2015/10/gun_deaths_other_causes.html)

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Best horror movie ever.

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Just try it my way.

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