Neil deGrasse Tyson apologizes for 'tone deaf' take on El Paso, Dayton shootings

Neil deGrasse Tyson apologized on Monday for his much-criticized comments on the weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

The celebrity astrophysicist angered many on Sunday when he compared the death toll in both massacres to the average number of lives lost to the flu, medical errors and car accidents in a 48-hour period. 

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

Tyson’s tweet quickly drew a plethora of responses, many of them negative.

Tyson responded to the backlash early Monday, saying he “got this one wrong” in a lengthy note posted to his official Facebook page and other social media accounts. 

“My intent [with the tweet] was to offer objectively true information that might help shape conversations and reactions to preventable ways we die,” he said. “Where I miscalculated was that I genuinely believed the tweet would be helpful to anyone trying to save lives in America.”

45 PHOTOS
Dayton, Ohio shooting: Families, locals and more mourn the victims
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Dayton, Ohio shooting: Families, locals and more mourn the victims
Jamila McNichols, sister of slain mass shooting victim Thomas "TJ" McNichols, mourns beside a memorial near the scene of the mass shooting Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Family members of slain mass shooting victim Thomas "TJ" McNichols, from left, Donna Johnson, aunt, and sisters Jamila and Finesse McNichols, mourn beside a memorial near the scene of the shooting Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A mourner prays his rosary beads beside a memorial outside Ned Peppers bar that was the scene of a mass shooting the previous day Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Finesse McNichols, sister of slain mass shooting victim Thomas "TJ" McNichols, mourns beside a memorial near the scene of the crime, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners gather outside Ned Peppers bar that was the scene of a mass shooting the previous day, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners pause for a prayer as they gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners visit a makeshift memorial outside Ned Peppers bar following a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly slain by police, officials said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners gather at the scene of a mass shooting during a vigil, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners visit a makeshift memorial outside Ned Peppers bar following a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly slain by police, officials said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A makeshift memorial is setup outside Ned Peppers bar following a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly slain by police, officials said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners comfort one another during a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly slain by police, officials said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly slain by police, officials said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, left, speaks alongside Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, right, during a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly slain by police, officials said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners sing as they participate in a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Balloons are released as mourners gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley speaks during a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly slain by police, officials said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners light candles as they participate in a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly slain by police, officials said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners light candles as they participate in a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly slain by police, officials said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners bow their heads in prayer as they gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners bow their heads in prayer as they gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners bow their heads in prayer as they gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Doves are released over gathered mourners during a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners bow their heads in prayer as they gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Flowers are placed at the front of a business as mourners gather at the scene of a mass shooting before a prayer vigil, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners gather at the scene of a mass shooting before a vigil, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A tight bullet pattern remains in the window of a storefront as mourners gather at the scene of a mass shooting before a vigil, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A mourner places flowers at the front of Ned Peppers bar as they gather at the scene of a mass shooting before a prayer vigil, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners hugs at the front of Ned Peppers bar while they gather at the scene of a mass shooting before a prayer vigil, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners place flowers and candles at the front of Ned Peppers bar while they gather at the scene of a mass shooting before a prayer vigil, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
DAYTON, OHIO - AUGUST 05: Annette Gibson-Strong cries after visiting a memorial to those killed in yesterday's mass shooting in the Oregon District on August 05, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people were killed and another 27 injured when a gunman identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire with an AR-15 style rifle in the popular entertainment district. Betts was subsequently shot and killed by police. The shooting happened less than 24 hours after a gunman in El Paso, Texas opened fire at a shopping mall killing 22 people. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DAYTON, OHIO - AUGUST 05: Annette Gibson-Strong visits a memorial to those killed in yesterday's mass shooting in the Oregon District on August 05, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people were killed and another 27 injured when a gunman identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire with a AR-15 style rifle in the popular entertainment district. Betts was subsequently shot and killed by police. The shooting happened less than 24 hours after a gunman in El Paso, Texas opened fire at a shopping mall killing 22 people. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DAYTON, OHIO - AUGUST 05: A memorial to those killed in yesterday's mass shooting sits along the sidewalk in the Oregon District on August 05, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people were killed and another 27 injured when a gunman identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire with a AR-15 style rifle in the popular entertainment district. Betts was subsequently shot and killed by police. The shooting happened less than 24 hours after a gunman in Texas opened fire at a shopping mall killing 22 people. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DAYTON, OHIO - AUGUST 05: A memorial to yesterday's shooting victims sits in the Oregon District following on August 05, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people were killed and another 27 injured when a gunman identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire with a AR-15 style rifle in the popular entertainment district. Betts was shot and killed by police. The shooting happened less than 24 hours after a gunman in Texas opened fire at a shopping mall killing 20 people. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DAYTON, OHIO - AUGUST 05: A mourner prays at a makeshift memorial in the Oregon District following yesterday's mass shooting on August 05, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people were killed and another 27 injured when a gunman identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire with a AR-15 style rifle in the popular entertainment district. Betts was shot and killed by police. The shooting happened less than 24 hours after a gunman in Texas opened fire at a shopping mall killing 20 people. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DAYTON, OHIO - AUGUST 05: Mourners pray at a makeshift memorial in the Oregon District following yesterday's mass shooting on August 05, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people were killed and another 27 injured when a gunman identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire with a AR-15 style rifle in the popular entertainment district. Betts was shot and killed by police. The shooting happened less than 24 hours after a gunman in Texas opened fire at a shopping mall killing 20 people. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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“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,” he wrote. “So if you are one of those people, I apologize for not knowing in advance what effect my Tweet could have on you.”  

Still, not everyone accepted Tyson’s apology. Many accused him of continuing to downplay the role gun violence played in both massacres. 

“The depth of your reflection in this note is offensively shallow,” one person wrote in a Facebook comment. “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?”

Another person commented: “I think the point you miss, is there are laws, regulations and programs trying to [minimize] those preventable deaths. There is little being done to [minimize] mass shootings.”  

Tyson’s remarks followed the announcement that he’d keep his job as head of the Hayden Planetarium at New York’s American Museum of Natural History after the conclusion of an investigation into sexual misconduct claims against him. 

Fox Broadcasting and National Geographic announced that Tyson’s television series “StarTalk” and “Cosmos” would return to the air following the completion of that probe.

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9 killed in Ohio in second mass shooting within 24 hours
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9 killed in Ohio in second mass shooting within 24 hours
Authorities work the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Shoes are piled outside the scene of a mass shooting including Ned Peppers bar, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Authorities work the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Authorities work at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Authorities work at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Bodies are removed from at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Autoridades trabajando en el lugar de un tiroteo masivo, el domingo 4 de agosto de 2019 en Dayton, Ohio. (AP Foto/John Minchillo)
Bodies are removed from at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Witnesses comfort one another at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley speaks during a news conference regarding a mass shooting earlier in the morning, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. At least nine people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Bodies are removed from at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Shoes are piled outside the scene of a mass shooting including Ned Peppers bar, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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