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