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Monday, August 1, 2016


The Old AF Sarge's recent post inspired this re-run from August 2011

I have always been leery about “EXPERTS.”  An expert is someone with subject knowledge which is above and beyond the average person’s knowledge on that subject. 
I know more about the English language than the average person in Mexico (probably).  Given a question about the English language, if I was in Mexico City I would probably be one of the best persons to ask.  Would that make me an expert?  If you had a question about the English language, and I was in Princeton New Jersey, I would be one of the last persons you would want to ask.  On the English language, in Mexico I am an expert.  In Princeton New Jersey I am an idiot.  What is an expert?

I was once on a jury hearing a case where some kids were hurt in a fight at a roller skating rink.  The injured kids were suing the rink for not protecting them by stopping a fight. The lawyer for these injured teens presented an “EXPERT” to testify to the errors made at the rink.

The lawyer established the witness’s expert credentials.  
“Mr. Slimy, do you have any training in the field of crowd control and security?”

“Yes sir, I have a certificate of expertise in crowd control and security from the J.J. Johnston School of Crowd Control and Security.”

“Mr. Slimy what did your training entail?”

“Well sir we spent three 12 hour days of intensive training, lectures and role playing before receiving our certificates.”

“Your honor, I summit Mr. Slimy is an expert in crowd control and security.”

“Agreed, continue.”

The teens were hurt in a brawl which started after the rink closed.  Apparently there was a small altercation during the skating session between two groups of teens.  When the skating ended the battle started again in the lounge area.

The rink security guard broke up the fight, and separated the two groups.  After several minutes there were words again quickly followed be a knife and a stabbing.  The injured argued that the rink security did not protect them.  My thought was it was the teen’s responsibility to get the fuck away from potential trouble, but instead they had to stay and show off their testosterone.

“Mr. Slimy, what in your expert opinion should have been done to break up this fight?”

“Well my training says you need to have a sign of authority, a badge, or a uniform.  When trouble breaks out you need to step between the aggressors, blow a whistle, raise your arms and move everyone to the side.”
“Thank you.  You are excused.  I call on John Tate, the so called rink security guard that night.”

“Mr. Tate you were the security guard that night?

“Yes sir.”

“Mr. Tate you work security as a part time job; during the day you are a sanitation man, is that correct?”

“Yes sir.”

“Mr. Tate, as a…ahem…sanitation man, do you have any credentials what-so-ever as a security guard?”

“Well sir, I was in the Army for eight years.”

“The Army….what did you do in the Army?  What training did you get in the Army to prepare you for security?”

"Well sir, I was an MP.  I went through nine months special training in crowd control and security.  The next seven years I helped to break up fights between drunken soldiers just about every weekend….and there were guns involved sir.  You blow your whistle around guns and drunken soldiers and you could just exacerbate the issue if you know what I mean.  One thing we were taught; if a soldier wanted to get himself hurt in a fight he was going to get himself hurt in a fight.  We just tried to keep them alive sir.  I never lost a soldier in eight years.  There were a few cuts, slashes, and big time contusions, but we kept them all alive! Sir.”

No further questions. Thank you Mr. Tate
We ruled the rink not liable for the teen’s injuries, even though Mr. Tate did not have a certificate.


  1. Experts are almost as credible as eyewitnesses, eh?

  2. Expert...the definition a moving target both in time and space.

  3. Give me someone with common sense and experience over an "expert" almost every time.

  4. We live in a sue-crazy society. Whatever happened to common-sense and a good smack round the ears!!!!

  5. Disgusting how everyone expects the 'other guy' to pay for everything gone wrong to themselves and their responsibilities.

  6. That's a great story.

    Fortunately, juries are usually pretty good at figuring out that sort of thing.

    At a certain point, someone being stupid is subject to a survival-of-the-fittest kind of thing.

  7. I don't consider myself an expert on anything, although I have a deep interest in a few subjects.

  8. Mr. Tate was a far better expert witness. You and the rest of the jurors did a fine job too. Sometimes attorney's aren't all that smart.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  9. An old curmudgeon of my acquaintance likes to say, "EX is a has-been, and a SPURT is a drip under pressure. . ."

    Someone else has said that an expert is any a$$hole with an opinion, who's 25 miles or more away from home. . .

    Just, you know, my two cents' worth. . .

  10. Craig's beat me to it. My Dad use to say that X is an unknown quantity and Spurt is a small drip. They must have known the same curmudgeon.
    Glad you jurors weren't snowed and got the verdict correct.

  11. I have heard one or two Mr Slimys in my day.

    Well done Joe!

  12. If you've done something once you're a "leading authority"; twice & you're an "expert"!!

  13. I agree with Mr. Tate. If you're hell bent on being an idiot, you're gonna' be an idiot. - Good job on the ruling. I'll take common sense over a certificate any day.

  14. I've been on juries where BOTH sides produced their own experts who said the exact OPPOSITE thing. They were either both idiots or one was lying. To me it was a wash and I ignored both of them.

  15. After reading this, I realize that I've never given the word "expert" much thought. Sounds like it's time to come up with a replacement.

  16. Heh, heh. We had training on this stuff one year, out at the local junior college. Some high-dollar expert gave a presentation for several local schools. The expert's advice was to jump between the fighters, and shout, "What'd you have for breakfast?" The combatants would be so startled that they would stop fighting and think about what they had for breakfast.

    What did I learn that day? Nobody can heckle a speaker better than an athletic director and a principal. They walked out. Let the record show that people who have never worked one day in a high school should not be hiring themselves out as experts on school safety.

  17. Well done mister. Justice was served.