Skip To Content
BuzzFeed News Home Reporting To You

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Apologized For His Tweet About Mass Shootings

"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."

Last updated on August 5, 2019, at 2:53 p.m. ET

Posted on August 5, 2019, at 8:42 a.m. ET

Over the weekend, two mass shootings took place in the US. The first, in El Paso, Texas, left at least 22 people dead; hours later, a shooter killed at least 9 people in Dayton, Ohio.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted about the attacks, comparing the number who died to other statistics.

Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

He said: "Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data."

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.

People were not happy with his tweet.

@neiltyson You thought this tweet was being whimsical while informative with the goal to make us think... But bro, this is a spectacular-Fail. Like earth is flat sorta fail. Wow.

This urban young Sheldon reboot stinks https://t.co/A58scjWP2z

Some said he tried to normalize gun violence with his tweet.

What the fuck Neil... data is data, but that doesn't excuse this blatant normalization of gun violence πŸ˜’ https://t.co/2ixjh3ZrRl

@neiltyson 1. The medical errors number is wrong. It’s based on grossly extrapolated data with no autopsy confirmation and assumes that if someone died after surgery it was due to the surgery and not to the underlying disease the surgery was for. 2. Mass shootings are homicides.

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 πŸ‘ŒπŸ—½ https://t.co/pz23vsJsmY

Today he published an apology on his Facebook account, and clarified his tweet. He said, "My intent was to offer objectively true information that might help shape conversations and reactions to preventable ways we die."

Some accepted his apology.

@neiltyson Thank you for your thoughtful apology. Stress and hurt can cause emotional reactions. In times of crisis this can cause people to lash out, even at those trying to help. I know you meant well and I personally took your tweet as coming from a place of good intention.

But others were less impressed.

@neiltyson Am sorry that some of you were upset about my idiotic, tone deaf, entitled tweet is not an apology.

ADVERTISEMENT