Now this is a powerful way to represent some dark statistics. This infographic, created by Kim Rees and Dino Citaro of Periscopic, shows all the gun murders that occurred in the U.S. in 2010, based on data from the FBI's Unified Crime Report.
But instead of focusing only on death, the graphic also looks at life: specifically, the lives of all the victims, and how they were cut short by a bullet.
Each line that appears on the graph represents the life of one victim. The arc starts out yellow-orange, but once the victim is shot it turns grey, to present a projection of how long each person might have lived if they were not killed.
Of course, there's no way of knowing exactly how many years someone might have lived. The team used data from the World Health Organization to develop estimates for each individual based on the age distribution of U.S. deaths.
But the designers say they weren't aiming for precision; they wanted to make people think.
"We're hoping that people will see these individual victims," the team told Co.Design. "We're not looking at aggregate numbers. We're not trying to analyze this data. This data was living and breathing, and has now been extinguished. We're hoping to keep their flames living on in the hearts of others."
Once all the lines are loaded in (9,595 people killed, and an estimated 409,280 "stolen years"), some thought-provoking statistics appear at the bottom of the graphic. For instance: "69 per cent of these people were killed with a handgun."
With all the recent talk of an assault weapon ban in the U.S., and tougher gun laws, it's interesting to note that handguns were the most prevalent murder weapon in 2010.
Another stark statistic: "57 per cent of gun murder victims were black." The supporting text points out that African Americans made up only 13.6 per cent of the U.S. population in 2010 according to the government census for that year. The graphic's authors say that "the burden of gun violence falls disproportionately upon the black population of America."
You can explore the infographic and look at the stats in more detail right here.