Monday, January 9, 2012

Some changes for the New Year

First, regular viewers of the Mapping Project will notice the addition of a new marker on the maps: an outline of a male or female figure in white. In the western legal tradition, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law and it is on this basis that we map the executions in Mexico--as a red balloon marker for all civilians, regardless if they are said to be "bad guys" by the government, the military, the police or the press. However, it was raised as an issue (by some viewers) about those who are, without doubt, innocent: the weeks-old baby, the 4-year-old girl or the woman driving in her car who is caught in the crossfire of a gang shoot out. For these undeniable cases we will now include this new marker. The use of the red balloon markers, however, still does not indicate the culpability of the person who dies, that is not for us to decide, rather the marker only indicates that there was a death that was related to organized crime/narco activity.

Second, the weekly count that we have been displaying (here: has been based upon the numbers provided by La Reforma, a respected newspaper whose research is used by many academics and researchers. For the overall total (now at 54,432) We have calculated the dead from the base number provided by the last government report in January 2011 (34,612 people killed in narco-related violence since Dec 2006 -- see my blog here for details) and then adding La Reforma's weekly updates. As of January 1, 2012 this will change, as we will now provide the updated figures based upon our own research with the data available on our public maps, for all to scrutinize. The reason for this is that we cannot challenge or check La Reforma's methodology, and unless you are a subscriber to their paper (as well as able to read Spanish) you cannot even obtain access to these numbers.

Morally, it is somewhat reprehensible that such data (concerning the havoc that is occurring in Mexico) is, firstly, not collected and made widely available by the government in a transparent and timely fashion and, secondly, that private agencies tie this important data to a subscription model...making a tangential profit off of the grief and misery of others. The Mapping Project will now address both of these issues--all data collected is displayed on public maps and the count maintained and updated weekly, free for the viewing. Full Disclosure: I do maintain a database of the collected data as well, but any analysis will be fee-based (we have to pay for this service in some fashion).

For a map of the killings: click: Narco-killings
Website: WM Consulting

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