Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is facing criticism for a tweet comparing the number of people killed in two mass shootings this weekend to those who died in other ways during the same amount of time. Some perceived the tweet as insensitive, as at least 29 people were left dead and dozens injured in the wake of the tragedies. “In the past 48hrs, the USA horrifically lost 34 people to mass shootings,” Tyson wroteSunday afternoon. He then compared the “average” number of people who die in other ways across “any 48hrs.” “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,” he reasoned. “Often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data.” The tweet has faced a barrage of criticism, for the last line, in particular. “Cold take, Neil. 200+ Americans died from gun violence in the past 48 hours,” wrote Shannon Watts, founder of the gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action. “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.” [full article]
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