Neil deGrasse Tyson admits his controversial comments about mass shootings were “unhelpful.”
In a Sunday tweet about the gun massacres in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the astrophysicist and media personality noted that more people are killed by medical errors, the flu and car accidents than mass shootings.
After being berated by social media users, Tyson took to Facebook today to apologize.
“My intent was to offer objectively true information that might help shape conversations and reactions to preventable ways we die,” he said in a lengthy statement. “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.”
He continued: “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.”
As previously reported, Tyson wrote in his tweet: “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,” he added.
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.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) August 4, 2019
Tens of thousands of people replied, with some calling the tweet “insensitive.” Others said Tyson’s comments were “tasteless and disrespectful.”
Bay Area rock band Smash Mouth responded by telling him to “F–K OFF!!!!”