The man in this story stands accused of quadruple first degree murder and the attempted murder of a fifth woman. On Friday night, Phoenix, and Mesa, AZ, not 15 minutes from where we live, was terrorized by a gunman who decided to target and kill the unhoused in an unprovoked slaughter. While the person accused used a 9 mm pistol, and not a rifle, the proliferation of guns in this nation has allowed for a war zone to develop.
The Valley, as it is called, has a major “homeless population” that is criminally underserved and vulnerable to various threats, like usually, heat. However it is now becoming commonplace for the unhoused to be targeted victims of violence, adding to the overall statistics of gun violence casualties.
In fact across the nation, gunfire is popping off faster than a bottle rockets on July 4th.
For example, in Chicago, at least 48 were shot, and 12 killed over a weekend that had not yet hit its holiday. Shootings coast to coast were, as usual, a feature of daily American life, and there seems to be not one move toward their abatement.
Iren Byers, 20, was originally taken into custody near Main Street and Ext Road for trespassing on May 28. He allegedly confessed to all the crimes, and he told police where they could find the clothes he wore and the handgun he used for the shootings.
For the first victim in Phoenix, authorities say Byers shot the man in the head because he was smoking fentanyl, and he didn’t like that because his brother abused it too. In the second shooting, Byers reportedly told police that the victim was talking about “blues,” a term used to refer to fentanyl, and so he shot him in the head.
..In the last shooting, Byers reportedly told investigators that he shot the victim in the head because he “was homeless and not from around here.” The victim reportedly fell down a hill and Byers followed him and kept shooting.
While this is not a one location mass shooting, this is most certainly a mass shooting type of event. One person took a firearm with the purpose of ending the lives of people he decided did not deserve to live. According to police, this is an accurate paraphrase of his own words.
It is believed by the Mesa police he targeted them for being on the streets, and or afflicted with addiction illnesses.
These are the mass shootings since May, 26th. You might also recognize that date as, three days ago.
|301||05/28/2023||Chicago (Lakeview), IL||1||3||(Preliminary, unclear if 2 nearby shootings are connected), gunman unknown|
|300||05/28/2023||Fort Worth (Aledo), TX||1||3||Gunman unknown|
|299||05/28/2023||Harrisburg, PA||0||4||Gunman unknown|
|298||05/28/2023||Hazlehurst, MS||0||5||Gunman unknown|
|297||05/28/2023||Memphis, TN||0||4||Gunman unknown|
|296||05/27/2023||Marianna, AR||1||4||Gunman unknown|
|295||05/27/2023||Moreno Valley, CA||0||4||Gunman unknown|
|294||05/27/2023||Red River, NM||3||5||Gunman: Jacob D. Castillo (30, wounded)|
|293||05/27/2023||Chicago, IL||1||3||Gunman unknown|
|292||05/26/2023||Columbus, MS||1||4||Gunman: Undra L. Williams (30)|
|291||05/26/2023||Mesa, AZ||4||1||Gunman: Iren Byers (20)|
|290||05/26/2023||Baltimore, MD||0||5||Gunman unknown|
|289||05/26/2023||Woodbridge, VA||2||2||Gunman unknown|
|288||05/26/2023||Brunswick, GA||0||5||Gunman unknown|
|287||05/26/2023||Milwaukee, WI||0||4||JUVENILE VICTIM (four female teens, including a 16-yr-old, wounded), gunman unknown|
For the year, this makes 301 mass shootings as of Memorial Day. This is about two each day.
It is no longer unusual to see videos of criminals using machine guns in public.
In my newsletter, I pointed out that statistically, the rate of gun death in this country is 1 for every 10,000 people. But in some areas it is much higher. However, at 17,360 fatalities this year alone, the amount equivalent to an events arena, the nation is now on pace to approach previous records, and close the gap with common illnesses as a cause of death.
Now it is important to point out, close to half of gun deaths in a given year are suicide related. On the other hand, to me, the idea that 1 in 22,000 Americans end their life with a gun on a yearly basis is mind-boggling.
If gun violence is not curbed, it is not inconceivable it could eventually catch diabetes for number eight as a cause of death, for all ages, in this nation.
- Heart disease: 695,547
- Cancer: 605,213
- COVID-19: 416,893
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 224,935
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 162,890
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 142,342
- Alzheimer’s disease: 119,399
- Diabetes: 103,294
- Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis : 56,585
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 54,358
Diabetes. While respecting non-dietary causes, and not assigning fault, do I need to remind anybody of the American diet? You mean to tell me that the gun problem could be worse than our national diet? Think about that.
Consider in 2010, there were 31,672 gun deaths. By 2021, that number had ballooned to over 48,000. 50,000 is not out of the realm of possibility for this year.
For those counting at home, if it reaches 52,500 that is one every ten minutes.
Yet all of this is just stats. Easy to read, easy to forget. But here is one stat that is not easy to forget.
There are 58,000 names on the Vietnam Memorial. If this pace continues, by 2030, if not earlier this country will see enough fatalities to put up a similarly sized memorial to gun violence, for every year going forward.
This is a lot to unpack. And there is a third, no less important component to consider here.
Aside from the have the out of control gun violence, there is a growing dehumanization of the unhoused and oppressed classes, through the concerning trend towards bigoted and violent rhetoric, in some cases glamorized by rappers or other so-called artists.
In the past week for example, I have seen African-Americans referred to as vermin, subhuman, monkeys, insects, and “joggers.” I have seen endorsements of anti-semitism, and have seen stories from influencers about discrimination for their sexual orientation on a major cruise line. Whether it is YouTube, or Yahoo, Linkedin or NextDoor, the discourse in this country has rotted, and the outright targeting of the unhoused, minorites, and ill is being applauded.
You can see the comments yourself on almost any news article. America is far too comfortable with dehumanization.
And as long as the word United is a lie told by the States, it is nothing more than a myth, and an experiment on the brink.
I do not want my home to become a cautionary tale of “live by the sword die by the sword.”
Or more likely, gun.
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