AceShowbiz - Neil deGrasse Tyson has apologized for his tone-deaf comment about El Paso and Dayton shootings. The celebrity astrophysicist released a statement on Monday after he was slammed on Twitter for appearing to downplay the extend of tragedy caused by the mass shootings which happened over the weekend.
Taking to his Facebook account, he wrote, "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."
The author detailed his controversial tweet, "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."
He then offered an explanation to the tweet in question, "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."
Neil went on extending his apology to those hurt by his comment. "So if you are one of those people, I apologize for not knowing in advance what effect my Tweet could have on you," he said, adding, "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."
However, Neil only receives more backlashes as he appears to double down on his "true but unhelpful" data, which compares the death toll in both massacres to deaths from other causes. "This lame apology was horrifically tone deaf. Good Lord you're a disappointment," one called out the Harvard graduate.
Another agreed, commenting, "It was tone deaf and unhelpful. You help people avoid flu. You license drivers. You do essentially nothing to avoid mass shootings. The comparison was asinine and a distraction from what needs to happen: gun control."
Someone else pointed out which part of Neil's statement is troubling. "This is not an apology. 'Where I miscalculated was that I genuinely believed the tweet would be helpful' passes blame to those who find it unhelpful," the said user wrote. " 'I apologize for not knowing in advance' is just a slam. No one knows in advance. That is not the part you needed to apologize for."
Another who also didn't accept his apology wrote, "The depth of your reflection in this note is offensively shallow. You used data to draw a false equivalence with unfathomably hurtful timing, and your arrogance has you doubling down with 'true but unhelpful'. Why even bother with a note?"
But there are a few who think Neil was never wrong in the first place for presenting the fact. "You don't need to apologize. It was good data. People taking it emotionally is on them not you," one wrote. Another similarly said, "Don't apologize to over emotional fools. Even more so when you're correct because it validates their incorrect opinions."
Some others defended Neil and told people to give him a break. One user reacted to the criticisms from others, "And now people don't think you apologized right. He offered humility. He learned something from his error. This is the whole point of living and growing. People. Our inability to accept each other's differences in processing the world is exactly a part of this bigger problem. Learn what to be mad at."
Another added, "It sucks that you had to post an explanation and apology to a post that made perfect sense to probably most of the people who read it. Some people look for every chance to feign outrage about the smallest things. Keep up the good work!"