Home News Neil deGrasse Tyson draws criticism for response to mass shootings

Neil deGrasse Tyson draws criticism for response to mass shootings

by whereisthebuzzmedia
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The American astrophysicist is drawing criticism after he Tweeted a response to the recent shootings in Texas and Ohio that killed at least 29 people. Tyson stated that more people are killed by medical errors and car accidents than mass shootings, adding, “often our emotions respond more to spectacle than to data.”

The difference is that mass shootings have never inspired a single effective action to ensure that they never happen again. The equivalent would be if nobody worked on flu vaccines, or effective treatment, despite people needlessly dying from it.

Medical errors: staff can be suspended, fired, have their licenses to practice medicine revoked. Patients or their families can sue the hospital. Staff can be re-trained, if appropriate, or punished. Policies can be made to prevent it happening again (see Harold Shipman case).

The Flu: we have supportive medical treatment, flu vaccination, medical scientists working out which strain is going to be most common this year & producing the appropriate vaccine, and large-scale public health campaigns on coughing or sneezing into your elbow, & washing hands.

Suicide: though the infrastructure of mental healthcare requires vast improvement, we not only have psychiatric drugs & treatment, but 24-hour helplines, and large public campaigns to destigmatise mental health conditions. We’re not doing enough, but we’re doing SOMETHING.

Car accidents: THIS IS WHY WE HAVE SEATBELTS. Also licenses, laws against driving while incapacitated, airbags, stop signs, speed limits, safer cars & safer roads. This is why we have crash test dummies, to mitigate the danger as much as possible, and PSAs against driving drunk.

The only one I’ll give him ground on is homicide via handgun, though arguably we are less disturbed by it as the homicide could be due to a disagreement or crime of passion, as opposed to just senselessly mowing down swathes of strangers based on a warped ideology.

This borderline religious veneration of the second amendment means that even examining why and how the event happened is stymied, waved away with phrases like “violent media” and “mental health”, when those factors exist in other countries WHICH DO NOT HAVE MASS SHOOTINGS.

So we have all these measures in place to reduce instances and mitigate risk, through legislation, innovation, and education – yet when it comes to mass shootings, all that comes is a shrug of “thoughts and prayers”, and absolutely nothing done to prevent it happening again.


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