Instead of arguing about guns on Twitter, Neil deGrasse Tyson just laid out the numbers.

As a world-famous scientist, Neil deGrasse Tyson is known for his dispassionate embrace of cold, hard facts...

And the occasional beach ball game with a late-night comedian. Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images.


...which makes him the right person to address a controversial topic: the abnormally high number of Americans who die from gun violence.

Umpqua Community College in Oregon, the site of a mass shooting earlier this year. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

In November 2015, he composed three tweets where he laid out the numbers.

And they're sobering.


According to PolitiFact, this actually slightly understates the case (American war deaths were closer to 1.2 million as of 2013).


This, sadly, is also true.


Estimates vary — and Tyson's is on the high end — but 2015 is expected to see approximately 33,000 total gun deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is nearly 3,200 every five weeks (comparable to the nearly 3,400 Americans who have died in terrorist attacks since 2001).

Tyson's tweets are a stark reminder that we have a problem. And it isn't going to go away on its own.

The father of a Sandy Hook shooting victim holds his son's picture. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

The uncomfortable statistics don't end there. For every time a household gun is used legally in self-defense, there are four unintentional shootings, seven assaults or murders, and 11 attempted or completed suicides-by-firearm.

Yes, people do occasionally use other weapons to kill people (though firearms are far and away the most popular). Yes, people do attempt suicide by other means (though when they do, they're far less likely to succeed). Yes, car deaths are comparable (not nearly enough attention is paid to figuring out how to reduce automobile deaths, and, as with firearm deaths, it's ridiculous that we accept the amount we do).

But none of that is a reason to sit back and do nothing.

A gun safe. Photo by BrokenSphere/Wikimedia Commons.

On a personal level, that means making sure that, if you do own guns, they stay locked up and unloaded when they're in storage to help prevent accidents.

On a political level, that means supporting laws that keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and opposing laws that make it easier for them to access guns and carry them around wherever they please.

It's true: We have a problem.

But it's only by admitting it that we can hope to find a solution.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.