Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson attempted to add some perspective about our world in the face of a pair of mass shootings over the weekend.
The effort did not go over well in the Twitter-verse.
In El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, gunmen with almost polar opposite takes on life opened fire, resulting in a total of 29 people being killed and scores more injured.
Tyson, an astrophysicist and television personality, tweeted a list Sunday showing how many people die in an average 48 hour period in America due to other reasons.
“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 tweeted.
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
It’s not clear where Tyson got the statistic of 34 deaths due to mass shootings, though former President Barack Obama lowered the threshold to qualify as a mass shooting to three deaths in 2013.
The reaction to Tyson’s tweet was swift, especially from those eager to push a political narrative in response to an apparent manifesto from the El Paso gunman.
At the same time, these same people were all but silent after a Chicago Tribune tweet noted that 48 people were shot in the city over the weekend, including a 5-year-old boy, with five being killed.
At least 48 people have been shot in Chicago since Friday evening, including a 5-year-old boy. Five were killed. https://t.co/LRCFqGKIDF
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) August 5, 2019
Tyson would later explain himself in a long Facebook post that included an apology.
“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,” he said. “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,” Tyson continued. ” I am therefore thankful for the candor and depth of critical reactions shared in my Twitter feed. As an educator,
As for the shootings, President Donald Trump plans to make a statement on Monday morning, after telling reporters Sunday “more has to be done.”
“Hate has no place in our country and we’re going to take care of it,” the president said.
The president, who spoke with both Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray, is expected to address the matter around 10 a.m.
The pushback Tyson saw from the intolerant left wasn’t pretty. There were even calls for him to delete the tweet:
This is an awful, painful take. Delete this.
— Ketan Joshi (@KetanJ0) August 4, 2019
Here’s a sampling of other responses from Twitter:
On the one hand, Neil deGrasse Tyson is an idiot nerd who trades in shallow pedantry masquerading as profundity. On the other, he sucks shit.
— Luke Savage (@LukewSavage) August 4, 2019
2019 is just real-life Mugen. Smash Mouth vs Neil DeGrasse Tyson? Sure. Why the fuck not?! pic.twitter.com/e60GVxqJ6D
— Mike Futter (@Futterish) August 4, 2019
Welcome to 2019, where Smash Mouth is telling Neil DeGrasse Tyson to “fuck off” and most people are siding with Smash Mouth.
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) August 4, 2019
Neil deGrasse Tyson needs to politely excuse himself from twitter, when we decide we want cinemasins but for real-world tragedies I promise we'll go to him
— Jenny Nicholson (@JennyENicholson) August 5, 2019
Just never thought I’d live to see Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining why deaths from white supremacists weren’t a big deal using math.
— (((Yvette))) (@TheSciBabe) August 4, 2019
On average, across any 48 hrs, people need to get medical help, Catch the flu, & drive. They don’t need the types of weapons and accessories that are often used in shootings such as these.For a guy who often likes to show the world how smart he is, this is a really stupid tweet.
— Tim Benz (@TimBenzPGH) August 4, 2019
Neil says it’s all good guys! Apparently we don’t need to worry about mass shootings because it kills less people than the Flu ?? https://t.co/pz23vsJsmY
— Ethan Klein (@h3h3productions) August 4, 2019
shut up neil https://t.co/bfeqCtDGii
— Delaney Tarr (@delaneytarr) August 4, 2019
How do you not see the difference between an honest medical error and someone being needlessly killed by a white supremacist? Stick to gatekeeping science
— Sara Civ (@SaraCivian) August 4, 2019
“All deaths matter”. Like WTF?
— ?❄️Talitha Dragonfly ❄️? (@TalithaDrgnfly) August 4, 2019
This isn’t to say that Tyson did not have his share of supporters. Or, at the very least, those who see intolerance for what it is and aren’t afraid to call it out.
In the end, all that was proven in an attempt to keep people focused on the big picture was just how toxic and unhealthy social media can be. Perusing on Twitter can prompt some to wonder why people are so attracted to the social media platform — then again, it’s our nature that sometimes stops us from looking away at the scene of a deadly car crash.
God forbid a man has an opinion or free thought of his own. If you don’t fall in step with what the Left’s narrative is they crucify you.
— Lisa Collins (@lisacollins21) August 4, 2019
He’s right, but his statement of the facts makes for a inconvenient, unwanted truth.
— Shane Simmons (@crotalidae75) August 4, 2019
Every liberal in this thread thinks they’re smarter than Neil deGrasse Tyson. In reality they can’t even remember to feed their imaginary pet unicorn named pflag.
— ManoBrow (@realmanobrow) August 5, 2019
Sadly, people aren’t interested in facts. They want their emotions and their opinions validated. They want to feel like they are heard, even if it means silencing opposing or logical voices.
— Casey (@CaseyDCopeland) August 4, 2019
So since when are facts bad… Oh yeah. In a society that doesn’t want to hear them.
— Natedogg (@N83135660) August 4, 2019
Neil is 100% correct to draw attention to the fact that some deaths get attention and some don’t.
Misplaced fear is at the core of so many American issues.
We absolutely all should be aware of the statistics he is citing and I don’t blame his timing one bit.
— Hani Sharabash (@h_bash) August 4, 2019
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