Of Course Tamerlan Tsarnaev Is on Slate’s List of People Killed With Guns

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 19 2013 5:29 PM

Of Course Tamerlan Tsarnaev Is on Slate’s List of People Killed With Guns

Surveillance footage that shows Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Surveillance footage that shows Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Photo by Handout/Reuters

Yesterday, at an event organized by Mayors Against Illegal Guns in Concord, N.H., a list of names of "victims of gun violence" was read aloud. Today, one name stands out: that of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing suspect killed during a shootout with police. The MAIG list came from Slate's interactive, "How Many People Have Been Killed By Guns Since Newtown?" The Atlantic Wire and others are asking: Should Tsarnaev’s name be on that interactive?

Of course it should. The interactive is not a list of "victims" of gun violence—in fact, the interactive never uses that word, for this very reason. It is a pure accounting of deaths, provided, as our original partner in the project @GunDeaths notes, "regardless of cause and without comment."

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The interactive includes a link to a news story about every death, so that anyone reading it can check the sourcing and see how the death happened. Tsarnaev makes the list because he was killed by gunfire—the linked story clearly explains that he was a bombing suspect killed by cops in a gunfight. The list also includes other wrongdoers killed by law enforcement, people who committed suicide, people who died in accidents, and people killed by criminals. And it includes Sean Collier, the MIT cop allegedly murdered by the Tsarnaevs.

Dan Kois is a senior editor at Slate and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.