Neil deGrasse Tyson draws criticism for response to America's mass shootings

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Monday 05 August 2019 12:15
Picture:(Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson has been criticised for his response to the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio.

The American astrophysicist is facing backlash online after he referred to mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, suggesting the death toll was little in comparison to deaths from illness and medical errors, among other causes.

He wrote: “In the past 48hrs, the USA horrifically lost 34 people to mass shootings.”

On average, across any 48hrs, we also lose…

500 to Medical errors

300 to the Flu

250 to Suicide

200 to Car Accidents

40 to Homicide via Handgun

Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data.

Many felt his words downplayed the damage of gun violence in American society

deGrasse Tyson was accused of "minimising terrorism"

Even those who support the scientist thought his latest tweet was a bad take

It was a "flat Earth" levels of fail

"Data divorced from context is just noise"

And they encouraged him to "take a moment"

In response to criticism online, the 60-year-old took to Facebook and posted a response, titled TweetStorm.

My intent was to offer objectively true information that might help shape conversations and reactions to preventable ways we die.  Where I miscalculated was that I genuinely believed the Tweet would be helpful to anyone trying to save lives in America.  What I learned from the range of reactions is that for many people, some information –-my Tweet in particular -- can be true but unhelpful, especially at a time when many people are either still in shock, or trying to heal – or both.

So if you are one of those people, I apologize for not knowing in advance what effect my Tweet could have on you. I am therefore thankful for the candor and depth of critical reactions shared in my Twitter feed. As an educator,  I personally value knowing with precision and accuracy what reaction anything that I say (or write) will instill in my audience, and I got this one wrong. [sic]

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