To the editor:
This is not a nice story.
It is a story about how bad it is getting in Kelowna—watching, seeing, listening to and experiencing the degradation of society all around us.
If you live near downtown and City Park, every night the homeless and addicted wander the alleys breaking into cars and trailers and yards, stealing whatever is not nailed down, bolted down, glued down or locked up.
When they are not doing that they may be fornicating wherever possible, and leaving the condoms to be picked up and disposed of by property owners. Or they might be shooting up drugs, or stealing mail from mailboxes not emptied promptly each day, hoping to land some kind of money. Those living in the area know this well.
The nine RCMP officers working any night try to intercede, and sometimes they do. But in the downtown and near-by heritage residential district, the denizens of the night have literally taken over. One has heard that the armed police are even hesitant to go into City Park to intervene in the nightly drug dealing, for fear of being attacked.
As well, on Thursday, Aug. 25, between 6:45 and 7:30 p.m., a downtown area resident was sitting on a bench along ‘marina stroll,’ near the yacht club and winter rink. People and dogs and bikes were happily trotting, ambling and riding past, while the five-year Kelowna resident enjoyed the water and boat action with the beautiful light changing as the sun slowly sank behind the mountains.
About 7:30 a female street person came along carrying personal effects and a handful of shiny wires, from which she apparently made artistic figures that she sold or ‘busked’ in City Park. She sat down beside the senior and quietly fussed with her possessions, saying nothing. Shortly thereafter she was joined by a lean, hungry-looking male, an obvious street person with compulsory backpack and a slightly nervous or agitated manner.
The coinciding was unusual, a ‘perfect storm’ of profanity.
At precisely the same time one of the two large boats operated by KelownaCruises.com was coming into dock, although not yet visible on the far side of the parked marina craft. Loud ‘music’ was coming from the cruise boat, carrying over the whole marina area. The older citizen at first thought it originated from one of the large boats parked there, a particular house boat tried up at one of the farther fingers.
As the cruise boat approached, the music got louder and louder: “PLAY THE FUCKIN’ MUSIC…!” ripped across the scene until you could hear little else except the same word coming repeatedly from the street fellow talking to the girl.
“I found $50 on the floor of the washroom at the Casino,” the young woman said.
“Oh yeah,” the man says. “That’s f***ing weird because I was in there earlier and lost $50.”
A knife was visible in his belt with the shiny blade pointing up, supposedly as a threat. If he tripped and fell he could easily stab himself in the stomach, the citizen thought.
Meanwhile the cruise boat blared, “PLAY THE FUCKIN’ MUSIC…!” over and over as it neared its slip.
“F***ing this…and f*** that…,” the angry fellow continued to the girl.
The senior endured it as long as he could until finally he said, “Hey Buddie, would you mind backing off on the ‘f’ word? Your vocabulary seems limited to three or four words, all starting with ‘f.’ ”
To this the angry fellow responded with a barrage of insults and the same “…f***ing …!” profanity until the girl told him, “Don’t say that! It’s not nice. Don’t argue. I hate arguing.”
The senior casually got up, donned his helmet and pedalled away on his wonderful bicycle four months after his second hip replacement. The sun was gone, the heat of the day subsiding and the evening’s lovely, gentle ambience destroyed.
As he rode past the cruise boat and ticket office the ship was about to berth and the captain or host was yelling something. Possibly it was an apology to his passengers, including children, for the profane song, although the older biker could not make it out.
Back home he Googled the Wild Cherry ‘hit’ on Youtube to be sure he heard it correctly. Previously he never had any doubt. Imagine his surprise when he read that the actual lyrics go: “Play that funky music…!”
He listened to the song’s chorus two or three times to be sure he got it right. He did. The word reads and is supposed to be ‘funky.’ But what raps out loud and offensive is, ‘Play the fuckin’ music, white boy…!’
What did mid-1700s Anglo-Irish Member of Parliament and statesman Edmund Burke say about failing to act when an increasingly Godless, angry, permissive society starts falling apart?
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Mayor and council, please take note.
Walter Nelson, Kelowna