Scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson responded on Sunday to the recent tragedies in El Paso and Dayton by stating facts and putting things in perspective. What ensued can only be described as a full meltdown from those on the political Left.
Tyson 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.”
The numbers that Tyson tweeted appear accurate, except for the statistic about the number of deaths that occur over a 48-hour period from medical errors. A Johns Hopkins University study claims that 250,000 people die per year in the U.S. from medical errors, which equates to 684 deaths per day — or 1,300+ deaths over a 48-hour period.
Tyson’s tweet was not well received by those on the political Left who seek gun control.
Far-left anti-gun activist Shannon Watts, who has a history of lying, tweeted: “Cold take, Neil. 200+ Americans died from gun violence in the past 48 hours. And you list causes of death that are researched, regulated and also happen in other high income countries. Our gun violence crisis is preventable and senseless and driven by a special interest.”
Notorious anti-Semite Marc Lamont Hill tweeted: “This is dumb.”
Qatari-funded Al Jazeera employee Sana Saeed tweeted: “oh cool. found the worst take imaginable on mass shootings, everyone.”
Ethan Klein tweeted: “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.”
Tyson later cowered to the online mob and apologized for stating facts, writing in a statement:
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.
Neil deGrasse Tyson