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Rick Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Rick Blue
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is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer. He and partner George Bowser are the famous Bowser and Blue comedy act. Here's his bio from their Bowser and Blue website.

Rick Blue was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in Maine, New Jersey, and Toronto. He has an MA in English from Concordia University. He has been involved in bands and media music in Montreal for over twenty years. In 1981 he won an international 'Clio' award for excellence in advertising.

He once appeared on television naked.

His life had no real meaning, however, until he began to play with Bowser and Blue. Rick plays guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, and sings in a rather pleasant baritone when George will let him.

He is also a columnist for Montreal's outstanding West Island Gazette..

His LCC columns are archived here

Posted 08.10.14

RICK BLUE

Uniforms? We don't need no stinkin' uniforms!

MONTREAL | I was interested to read that the Army Surplus stores are doing such good business these days because of the pension protests by the Montreal police. Yes, our boys in blue, er...camo prints, have to buy their costume somewhere.

I don't know why they chose camouflage. I am sure that they all own a pair of jeans. I can only surmise then that they enjoy the idea of camo-wear. Perhaps they have always imagined themselves as heroic soldiers in some far away theatre of war.

Apparently, there are various prints that are sold in Army Surplus stores. Most familiar is a mix of green, brown, tan and black, which is called U.S. Woodland. There is also "Tigerstripe," which was the Vietnam soldiers' jungle camo, and Desert Storm-era uniforms known as "Chocolate Chip."

But none of these styles will help them conceal themselves against the streets of Montreal.

So perhaps we are witnessing a mass fantasy. Inside every ticket-giver is a rugged macho warrior dying to get out.

But is it the right message to send the citizenry? We now seem like a country under occupation. With soldiers on the streets.

The red baseball caps may give them a festive air. But it doesn't help us take them seriously as officers of the law.

One question I would ask is this: Do they really have the right to enforce laws dressed like that? Could a citizen who received a $165 ticket for not making a complete stop from a guy wearing camouflage pants and a red hat successfully contest that ticket in court?

I would throw it out if I was the judge. These officers are not supposed to be undercover. Their uniform is just as important as their badge. Wouldn't a citizen be well within his rights to refuse to accept such a fine?

And if they are willing to break the rules of their dress code, how can they expect citizens to not be willing to break the rules of the road? The wearing of a uniform is mandatory. Just like stopping at a stop sign.

Respect for the law is dependent upon respect for those who enforce the laws, respect for the institution and the uniform. A police uniform is a symbol of their authority. It is a certification of legitimacy. It says "One who enforces the laws of our state."

What they are wearing now says: "Duck hunter." Or: "I'm off to play paintball."

This respect can be lost very easily.

And here is another question I have. If, in fact, it was judged that they still have a right to perform police duties in such a costume, then does this mean that if I go out and buy a pair of camouflage pants and a red baseball cap, I can be arrested for impersonating a police officer?

To read Rick Blue's complete column on the West Island Gazette, click here Rick Blue blog on West Island Gazette
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