Our sister site, Medill National Security Zone, is building a collection of databases and resources to help you cover — and uncover — great stories on your national security beat. Here is an overview of some of the data sets we build and analyze. More will be coming as 2013 unfolds.
Airport Gun Confiscations
A database built from weekly details released by the Transportation Security Administration about guns confiscated at airport check-in. Included is data by incident, day and by airport; type of weapon; whether it was loaded or not; and if loaded, whether there was a bullet in the chamber. There are also monthly and other charts. Data covers 2012 and 2013 to date. Available for download as CSV file. → Full Details.
2012 was a record year for suicides in the U.S. Military. We’ve begun compiling monthly totals that the Army, Navy and Marines release. The Army, which has the highest number of suicides, has the most detailed data. We also have full month-by-month 2012 data, as well as historic totals, along with links to Department of Defense annual reports that have a very detailed amount of data. → Full Details.
2012 Potential Active-Duty Suicides by Month
Government requests for online user data
Online privacy is a skyrocketing national security issue. Google and Twitter — and as of March 2013, Microsoft — regularly release detailed databases about requests from governments for user information and data (the U.S. is by a long-shot the world leader in pursing subpoenas and search warrant for the personal information). The most recent addition to these reports is data about the number of National Security Letters received. We don’t duplicate the databases that Google, Twitter and Microsoft maintain, but we do regular analysis (latest Google story; latest Twitter story; latest Microsoft story) and plan to do some spin-off data sets after the quarterly data is released.
SOURCE: OnTheBeat graphics using EPIC.org compilation from Federation of American Scientists document collection.
Analyzing your data
It’s one thing to lead you to data; it’s another for you to take charge and mine for your own stories. We’ve got two of our “NSZ 101” how-to guides that will help.
In Part I, Brendan McGarry of Bloomberg takes you through the basics of using an Excel spreadsheet to analyze an example data set of U.S. military deaths. You’ll learn how to calculate differences, percentages and rates; add numbers in columns, compare parts to a sum, and sort the data.
In Part II, McGarry walks you thorough filtering, creating subtotals and pivot tables and creating graphs and charts.