Militarizing the U.S. police force is nothing new. Ferguson, Mo., is just an uncommon, eye-opening example. The thousands of photos picturing heavily armed, camo-clad cops strewn across the internet illustrates that we may have crossed the threshold of reason.
One impressive New York Times data vis tracks down how we got to this point. Section 1033 of the National Defense Authorization Act, implemented in the early 1990s, made the flow of weapons and technology between the military and the police much easier. Sourcing the Department of Defense, the NYT takes a look at where all those guns, body armor, helicopters, armored vehicles, and grenade launchers are coming from since 2006.
The second map comes from Twitter and CartoDB, which took every geotagged tweet of Ferguson and put it all in one animated map. Each tweet shows up as a small blip and has an overall effect of some Skynet doomsday scenario playing out across the globe. The map collects data from Aug. 9 to Aug. 14, and as the intensity of the protest ebbs and flows, ultimately reaching its most explosive during the last few hours of August 13th, it shows a fascinating look at how news spreads in the age of social media. [The New York Times and PBS]
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