Just hours after nearly 30 people were killed in mass shooting in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio — both who appear to be white supremacists. Neil degrasse Tyson decided to ramble weak analogies on Twitter and now he is being slammed.
The scientist wrote, “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.”
The backlash has been extreme considering none of his examples mentioned white supremacy and there are regulations in place to bring down the flu, medical errors, car accidents, etc. Moreover, if 20 people died from the flu within minutes at a Walmart, there would certainly be shock.
In response to the backlash, Tyson wrote on Facebook, “I apologize for not knowing in advance what effect my Tweet could have on you.”
The El Paso shooting was reportedly the result of a young white man’s anger over the number of Hispanics in the U.S. That much was made clear in an apparent manifesto written by that shooter, Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old white man who wrote that he was decidedly against “race mixing” and supports the idea to “send them back” and offering a prediction of “genocide.”
At least one tweet, apparently preserved by someone controlling an Antifa Twitter account, seemed to show he was in support of building President Donald Trump‘s wall along the nation’s southern border.
The shooter in Dayton, Texas was 24-year-old Connor Betts from Bellbrook, Ohio. Within 32 seconds, he used an AR-15-style assault rifle and a 100-round drum to kill nine people. He was reportedly wearing a mask, ballistic armor and carrying a black rifle, running toward the entrance of Ned Peppers — a bar where people ran to avoid gunfire.
Six of his victims were Black and one was his sister, Megan Betts. This police killed him within minutes and Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said Sunday, “Had this individual made it through the doorway of Ned Peppers with that level of weaponry, there would have catastrophic injuries and loss of life.”
Just last week, Santino William Legan killed multiple people attending the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California. Similar to reports about Saturday’s shooter, Legan left behind social media posts that show he may have been a white supremacist or at least sympathized with the racist movement. The final social media post Legan made prior to the July 28 shooting endorsed a book that has been widely tied to white supremacist hate groups and ideology.
Clearly, Tyson’s tweet was offensive and tone deaf. See the reactions below: