“Is gun crime a virus?” That’s the question asked in Tuesday’s series finale of Science Channel’s Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. As the episode’s synopsis states: “Every 17 minutes in America, someone is killed with a gun. Politicians can’t seem to stop the violence. But epidemiologists, psychologists and big data crunchers are discovering that gun crime spreads like a virus — and science may be able to stop it.”
In our exclusive clip, we meet statistician Sherry Towers, whose team investigates whether media coverage of a shooting actually leads to more shootings. They looked at the most heavily-covered school shootings and mass killings and extracted a series of data: type of shooting, location, date and time. “What we found was there is a very strong evidence of clustering in time,” Towers says. “When there is an event that occurs, one of these gun tragedies tends to trigger a similar tragedy in the very near future. And this bunching together in time is actually the hallmark of contagion.”
The Through the Wormhole series finale airs May 16 at 10 p.m. on Science Channel.
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