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Neil deGrasse Tyson Wades Into Gun Control, Gets Dragged, Offers Apology

By Kristy Puchko | Celebrity | August 5, 2019 |

By Kristy Puchko | Celebrity | August 5, 2019 |


Neil deGrasse Tyson has got Twitter riled again. This time it’s not over his pedantic nitpicking of movies, but over a tweet made in the wake of the two latest mass shootings in America. With the horrific events in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, taking place on the same day, at least 29 have been reported dead and 53 injured. While many took to Twitter with hashtags like #EnoughisEnough and #GunControlNow, the outspoken astrophysicist pulled right of his lane with a tweet that suggested others were being too emotional to think rationally about the gun violence epidemic in America.

Here’s how Twitter users responded to Tyson’s numbers game.

Smash Mouth didn’t mince words.

Forensic pathologist Judy Melinek M.D. called out a flaw in Tyson’s statistics.

And Twitter user @ZiziFothSi broke down the flawed logic of Tyson’s tweet.

Tyson has since offered an “apology,” which falls into the “sorry you were offended school,” and otherwise misses his critics’ points entirely.

From his official Facebook account:

Yesterday, a Tweet I posted in reaction to the horrific mass shootings in America over the previous 48 hours, killing 34 people, spawned mixed and highly critical responses.

If you missed it, I offered a short list of largely preventable causes of death, along with their average two-day death toll in the United States. They significantly exceeded the death toll from the two days of mass shootings, including the number of people (40) who on average die from handgun homicides every two days.

I then noted that we tend to react emotionally to spectacular incidences of death, with the implication that more common causes of death trigger milder responses within us.

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.

Respectfully Submitted
Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Kristy Puchko is the managing editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.

Header Image Source: Getty