To the editor:
Many residents of Kelowna were surprised and shocked by Sunday’s gangland-style shooting, but they shouldn’t be.
Their support, be it active or passive, for the continued growth of the city made such an event inevitable and it was only a matter of time before it occurred.
Local growth boosters like to tout the benefits of growth such as new jobs and greater prosperity but are reluctant to acknowledge the other side of the ledger—the costs of growth. And one of the costs is more and new kinds of crime.
The online Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice outlines the historical conditions which have given rise to organized crime in cities. Changing the past tense to the present in that description gives rise to the following quote: “Urban conditions [provide] the kind of environment in which organized crime flourishes. Large population sizes [provide] a critical mass of offenders, customers and victims and thereby [facilitate] the development of profitable markets in illicit goods and services.”
Kelowna achieved its critical mass when the city grew above 100,000, which was shortly before the Hell’s Angels officially opened a chapter here.
Kelowna’s growth boosters talk about it one day becoming a “world-class city.” With the shooting, Kelowna has joined Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver which can boast world-class crime.
Congratulations, Kelowna. You have arrived.
John Zeger, Kelowna