The Sky is Falling!
Written by John M. Knox, PLS   
Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Editor's note: The accusations contained in this letter are so ridiculous they do not warrant a response, much less space in the magazine.

Chad and Linda Erickson have sounded the alarm – the sky is falling! Run for your lives everybody; land boundaries no longer have meaning, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!

In their many contributions to this publication, and with a pallet of only black and white paints, the Ericksons seem compelled to establish the following:
• All BLM surveyors are arrogant idiots.
• All young surveyors establish and monument property lines by coordinates, even if they happen to trip over an original monument while navigating their RTK unit. They know or care nothing of the principles of junior/senior rights, lines of occupation, etc.
• The only true surveyor is a boundary surveyor. Photogrammetry, geodesy, LiDAR, construction staking, etc. are the role of eggheads and drones.
• All college educated surveyors care only about “blue topping highways or scanning cathedrals”.
• All newly licensed surveyors resemble the clever cartoon published in the December 2014 issue, that of the tattooed youth holding a lollipop which represents their Land Survey License.
• All professors who teach survey classes can't speak English because they're from Pakistan.
• The Ericksons themselves are the only ones qualified to perform boundary surveys.

Their contribution from December 2014 entitled “The Fox is Guarding the Hen House” contained several offensive passages, masked among folksy quips like “nada-nada-lemonada” and “dip 'em and fry 'em” (come on, Mr. Editor, you do have the right to EDIT). They recognized that the content would be controversial, thus the note “This cross-exam prep was vetted by our attorney”. Well, perhaps the attorney was correct in that they will not be sued, but the content was offensive and in poor taste and not worthy of publication in a professional magazine. The clever cross-examination of a licensed land surveyor who is acting as an expert witness establishes that while attending his elite university, the “expert” gained no practical field experience, as he wasn't allowed to take survey instruments out of the building, due to the professor being a Pakistani who couldn't speak English. This witness has never studied case law, does not read trade publications, has no boundary surveying experience, zero, zip, nada-nada-lemonada - oops, that clever folksiness seems to be contagious. But he somehow was awarded a free lollipop, I mean a license to practice land surveying. The Ericksons also include an anecdote describing a conversation with clients wronged by BLM surveyors, who were about to have their original boundary restored by the authors. “Bless you for that! Thank you Lord!”, the client says. I picture the authors dressed as Mighty Mouse, singing at the top of their lungs “Here I come to save the day!”

Other recent contributors to this publication have adopted a similar tone, bashing FEMA, civil engineers, architects, the BLM, etc.

Even a witty piece from the June 2014 issue entitled “Things I've Learned” was corrupted by the author's political views. In establishing his position as a centrist, he places himself between the extreme positions of the pope and, with a sarcastic reference to the Affordable Care Act, President Obama. The political quip added nothing to the amusing, enlightening list of 29 life lessons described therein. Again Mr. Editor, please EDIT.

All of these authors make valid points, but at issue is the way in which these points are delivered. After reading several of these diatribes, one may begin to wonder if these points are raised solely for the purpose of feeding egos through the smack-down of others, rather than for the education and the improvement of our profession. For years the surveying community has been on a soapbox demanding that we be treated as professionals, granted status equal to that of the professional engineer, architect, etc; Rodney Dangerfield said it well - “we get no respect!”, but if we continue to communicate our views through snark, sarcasm, and folksy sound bites, we'll be waiting a long time for that respect.

John M. Knox, PLS
Costa Mesa, CA