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Neil deGrasse Tyson Kind of Apologizes for Mass Shootings Tweet

By Daniel Goldblatt

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says he miscalculated with his tweet on Sunday about the mass shootings and says he is sorry if you happened to be offended by it.

The tweet from Tyson in question tried to compare the number of people killed in this weekend's shootings to the number of people who die on average every 48 hours from things like medical errors and the flu.

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Tyson's tweet was not well-received and on Monday, he tried to apologize for it. Kind of.

He explained the tweet, saying, "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."

Tyson says he "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."


Tyson tried to explain his rationale, saying, "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."

Gettyimages | Noam Galai

He then tried to pivot to an apology, saying, "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."

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