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Neil deGrasse Tyson Downplays El Paso and Dayton Shootings With Statistics

”Maybe you should add some emotion to your game, because your data collection sucks,“ lawyer Amee Vanderpool tweets

While many celebrities reacted with despair and anger to yet another round of mass shootings in America, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s approach to addressing the tragedy was different… and very much not appreciated.

On Sunday afternoon, the host of the rebooted “Cosmos” compared the death count of the two shootings in El Paso and Dayton to the average death rate in 48 hours to other factors, including medical errors, car accidents and suicide.

“Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data,” he remarked.

Tyson’s tweet comes following the killing of at least 29 people who were shot and dozens more injured in the past 24 hours in mass shootings at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart and mall, and at a bar in Dayton, Ohio. That comes after a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California that killed three people last week.

The tweet was quickly met with backlash, as Tyson was accused of downplaying the violence and using faulty data. Writer and lawyer Amee Vanderpool noted that Everytown, a research think tank pushing for gun control legislation, found that an average of 100 people per day die of gun violence in America. That includes accidents and violent crimes that do not make national headlines the way mass shootings do.

“Maybe you should add some emotion to your game, because your data collection sucks,” Vanderpool tweeted to Tyson.

Others noted that while no other country has had more than three shootings in 2019, the attacks that occurred this weekend bring the U.S. up to 249 in just 215 days. Others also noted the lack of legislative response to the shootings over the decades, thanks in large part to anti-gun control lobbying on behalf of groups like the National Rifle Association.


This isn’t the first time Tyson has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons this year. Last winter, he was accused of sexual misconduct by four women, including his assistant on “Cosmos” who resigned after he made inappropriate sexual advances.

Investigations were opened by National Geographic Channel, which aired “Cosmos” and its sequel “Possible Worlds,” as well as the American Museum of Natural History, where Tyson works as director of the Hayden Planetarium. In March, National Geographic announced it would move forward with “Cosmos” and Tyson’s talk show “StarTalk”; and in July, AMNH said that Tyson would not receive disciplinary action.


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