A Random Image

Hey, Princess Bitchypoo, I eat people like you for a midday snack. Garnished with cilantro, of course, to heighten the taste.

Okay, this entry is to be filed under “Bullies Get A Knee To The Nards” or “Hey, Lookit, More Sheeple Are Being Churned Out Daily!!”

On Sunday I was scheduled to do a family visit for a child that lives a ways down the road. I happened to have my camera with me, and as there are some interesting Bammy Sights along the way, I figured I’d snap off a few photos for my own enjoyment while I was out. Blah, blah, you’ve all seen me do this before.

Plus, there is this really cool waterplay area in the park I was headed to; it has a huuuuge metal daisy (twenty feet tall or sommat) that spouts water and has bugs painted on the underside that I had a mind to photograph to publish on this here blog.

So we got there, and the kid’s family was a no-show (typical); I asked if he’d like to stay and play a bit anyway, as he’d brought his trunks and towel in anticipation. He voted yes, and I dumped all my work stuff and phone and camera on a table under a gazebo. I pulled the lens cap off the camera and shot the metal daisy, a couple signs, and I noticed this very cute, squishy-cheeked toddler playing in the water. She was wearing a yellow shirt and jeans and was stomping errant puddles with her bare feet. I asked the two adult women with her if they minded if I shot some frames with her in them before I ever raised my camera in her direction.

The women conversed actively with me as the children played and I tried to frame up a decent picture; difficult, as they were excitedly and happily zooming around the waterplay area.

I got three, maybe four shots of the baby and her older brother playing in the water before my batteries died. D’OH! I had neglected to bring spares, so I put the lens cap back on and told the woman if she had e-mail access, I’d be happy to send the photos to her once I got them offloaded from the camera. She did not, so she inquired of the other woman: Did she have e-mail access? She didn’t either, but the first woman volunteered that the child’s mother did and I offered to give her my e-mail address; she could give it to her daughter and the daughter could e-mail me for the photos.

I sat down at the table, did a little paperwork, then made a phone call. I was on the phone when the woman approached me for my e-mail addy, which I gladly gave her. She asked me what I was doing there in the park that day, and I told her that I could not go into a whole lot of detail, but I worked for social services and was presently working. She asked a couple more questions, which I declined politely and smilingly to answer, explaining that I was bound by confidentiality.

Then tonight, I opened my inbox to this shitty e-mail:

From: ******@*********.com

Date: 2004/08/24 Tue PM 08:11:34 CDT

To: ************@*******.net

Subject: concerned parent about pictures in park

hello, i was informed upon my arrival from out of town reguarding sunday august 22 at ******** park. my mother was caring for my children in my absence and was enjoying a day at the park with her grandchildren whom she does not see often, and after this incidence she and i are very concerned! i was informed that my mother asked you what your purpose and job was and you told her that you were not able to let that information out, well let me tell you something i am very upset, you do not take pictures of someone else’s children for one thing , and another not offer explanation and comfort for the questions reguarding the purpose of these photos! with the world that we live in today, you of all people should know, being a social worker i believe that you told my mother that you were, that this type of action should not have even took place. i want those photos and your name and who you are and what those pictures are being used for. if not i will report this to the proper authorities with your email address and the other mother there that day will do the same. i just dont believe in this society today to ever let your guard down when it especially involves MY children, and as a mother i hope that YOU would feel the same, otherwise you are just one of them.

Just like that, one big rambly, threat-and accusation-filled paragraph with no sig. Bullshit. I did nothing wrong! I was in a public place shooting photos which I did not intend to publish (save for the aforementioned daisy) or use commercially; as a matter of fact, I didn’t even have to ask permission to shoot those kids, but I did it out of courtesy. It’s what I –as a mother– would want done were the situation reversed.

I sat, slack-jawed and shocked, for a couple minutes. Let me tell you, these are difficult reactions to pull from me. I was appalled at the shitty way this woman chose to handle a situation that she was ‘uncomfortable’ with. So, after that couple minutes-worth of consideration, I shot back a fancypants ‘fuck you‘:

From: ************@*******.net

Date: 2004/08/24 Tue PM 08:50:06 CDT

To: ******@*********.com

Subject: Re: concerned parent about pictures in park


I was just out shooting some photos in the park, as I had taken a little boy there for a family visit. As a hobby, I often carry my digital with me and shoot my surroundings, with or without people.

I asked permission before I included ANYone in the photos, and was given clearance to do so by the accompanying adults. I even approached them after my batteries had died and offered to send copies of said photos if they liked. You say now that your mother is very concerned; she was not at all concerned that day. Allow me to repeat: NOT AT ALL. She gave me permission more than once, in fact.

If I did not tell your mother my job, then how do you know what I do? You are not making any sense. I am bound by certain confidentialities, so I cannot legally give details about my clients.

I offered (the operative word here is OFFERED) the photos and my e-mail address in good faith. I also asked permission before including those children in any pictures I was taking (which also included signs and landscapes and a myriad of other things withOUT people in them).

At this point, you have no legal leg to stand on. Plus, with your threatening, ugly tone in this e-mail, you sound like a raving psychotic. *I* can file charges for harassment based on your conduct and threats. Contact the authorities, I DARE YOU. I have every photo shot that day saved (I haven’t even had time to download them from the camera as of yet) and any authorities will see the digital date and timestamp of ALL the photos I shot that day, most of which had no people whatsoever in them.

I would have been happy to address your concerns civilly had you taken that approach. You have set the tone for this exchange, which will culminate in my laughing at your foolishness.


P.S. did you know it is a LEGAL OFFENSE to use e-mail to harass, intimidate and/or threaten people? Just so you know. Those cops you plan on contacting? I’ll have a copy of your e-mail –with full headers– to display to them if they come knocking. No sweat, report away! At this point, with your threats being what they are, I could even contact your ISP and have your account suspended. This isn’t the Wild West; you don’t have liberty to go about slinging grandiose threats at a whim. You might want to think about that in the future.

P.P.S. running your correspondence through a grammar- and spell-checker might lend your arguments more credence in the future. You sound like an illiterate fool.

I’ve yet to hear back from her, the doucheface, and it’s been three hours now. People like this should rot in hell.

And I should get to point and laugh.

21 worked it out »

  1. hans in a handbasket 8.24.2004

    If she does write back, you should tell her that you apologize and that the social worker title isn’t really for… well, a state authorized agency; you’re really more of a freelance agent placing children with new parents; parents willing to meet your “fee”.

    And you hate to break it to them, but the child you took photos of just wasn’t good enough for your clients; should you find a client that’s willing to settle for a child with such obvious flaws, they will be the last to know.

  2. Jettomatika 8.25.2004

    I’ll get right on that! Your legal counsel has never failed me in the past….

  3. SmedRock 8.25.2004

    See what happens when you try to do the right thing? Bah. Some people are just way too stupid. What may have happened is that she may have been, or is being investigated by her local social services office. Who knows, she may think you were out to get some dirt on her.

    Or I could just be paranoid …

  4. dead hans walking 8.25.2004

    Oh… that wasn’t legal advice, it was more medical advice. Medical advice with a hint of spiritual advice, saying such a thing to a person wound that tight should cause a massive cerebral aneurism; resulting in the desired trip to hell!

  5. roderickm 8.25.2004

    I, too, would be concerned if my parents described a similar chain of events after taking my son on a visit to the park. However, when addressing the situation, there are a few right approaches and a million wrong ones — that woman obviously did not choose well.

    Are you required to identify yourself as an agent of a social service? It’s not a far delusional leap from saying, “Amateur Photog, Professional Social Worker, can’t go into detail,s” to hearing, “Just collecting evidence for DHR; we’ll be back for your kid.”

    Her words are her fault, no question, but maybe next time you could feed the fools a little less food for the imagination?

  6. mac66 8.25.2004

    The poor gal didn’t handle her concerns very well, but I can see why she would be upset. She wasn’t there, got the info second hand, your “Secret Work” etc….Neither one of you handled it very well….End Point.

    Had the kids at the park yesterday. Spotted a young man sitting alone at the rear of the park…Kept my eye on him not knowing why he was around very young kids…Finally he grew uncomfortable and left..Was dismayed to find out he was with a local daycare, providing protection for the children…It’s this new age, where we are all freaking out…blame it on the 24 hour news cycle and very little good news…

  7. Kat 8.25.2004

    I’m a photography student… was working an assignment at a lake nearby where some kiddies were learning to sail these supercool mini sailboats (now i want one) and while i was working a guy came over, introduced himself as the YMCA sailing instructor and asked me to please not include the children in my photos (i actually had not because they were too far away… had they been closer it would have been too late) because, he said, a couple of them are the offspring of unamicable divorcees, and one parent is actaully hiding the kid(s) from the other. These kids’ releases for their sailing lessons specifically stated no photos could be taken of the child. Sheesh. Anyway, i had not… but still i think you were completely covered by asking – and receiving – permission to shoot them. Er, photograph them.

  8. Jettomatika 8.25.2004

    Rod and Mac: I see your points, and I had considered them myself. It’s not as if I identified myself in the scope of my job at the outset, because it had nothing to do with the photos I was taking, really. When I began shooting, the children weren’t even in the waterplay area; I was very clearly shooting photos of birds, equipment sans bebes, etc.

    It was only AFTER I’d asked to shoot some photos with the wee ones in them that the nature of my visit to the park was revealed. Kind of a “Is that your son?” scenario; I answered honestly, as I am wont to do. The women present were not at all concerned and, as previously stated, chatted me up quite pleasantly the entire time we were there.

    In a legal context, I am allowed to shoot photos in a public place (save for in the event of private functions where said place is being temporarily leased by a private party) without either identifying myself or asking for permission. I asked out of courtesy, because it was what I’d want done were someone to pull out a camera with my children nearby.

    They are, as Kat posed, allowed to ask me to stop and I am beholden to do so if requested to. Again, I assert that my actions were innocent and in good faith…I OFFERED THE PHOTOS TO THEM, for Chrissakes.

    We just live in a really shitty world, is all, where people are paranoid beyond belief and want to live in a police state under the guise of being babied. I –of all people– should be paranoid to the hilt, given the breadth and scope of ickiness I see on any random day.

    But I’m not, and I cannot excuse people that would threaten me, attempt to intimidate me, or infringe upon my rights just because they are wound a little too tightly.

  9. Jettomatika 8.25.2004

    pee ess for Rod: good to see you step out of the shadows now and again. >:o) I didn’t know if you were still with us here or not!

  10. Coelecanth 8.25.2004

    As Marilyn Manson put it in Bowling for Columbine: we live in a culture of fear. (I include myself even though I’m Canadian) Scared people react with anger and threats. Lots of bad things happen but it *seems* like the world is more violent and dangerous than it really is. The media never reports that today in New York City 8,008,276 people didn’t get murdered. They report that two did.

    Seems to me the only way to stay sane is to assume the best while watching out for the worst. That way an email like the one from Paranoid Mommy comes out as a polite enquiry instead of a crazed rant.

  11. steel hans of justice 8.25.2004

    jet sed:

    In a legal context, I am allowed to shoot photos in a public place (save for in the event of private functions where said place is being temporarily leased by a private party) without either identifying myself or asking for permission.


    Actually, unless Hellabama has some localized restrictions, you can even take pictures of “private events” on public land (even private land in most cases) as long as you are in a place not prohibiting the taking of photographs or restricting access. That means even if a person has rented a public place (IE a park) you can still take pictures (and recordings) from the air, thoroughfares, sidewalks and adjacent property.

  12. Jettomatika 8.25.2004

    And there you go.

  13. Wendolene 8.25.2004

    After many years of photography classes, it is my understanding that you can actually take pictures of a person’s house and property from as close as a public sidewalk, with any length of lens, and they have no right to ask you to leave or demand that you no longer take pictures. You cannot publish any pictures with identifiable people in them, but you can publish photographs of any personal property as long as you can reasonably prove that the photographs were made while standing on public property.

  14. Mac66 8.25.2004

    Geez, the whole scenerio reminds me of an old Superman strip of Bizzaro World, where everything is backwards…

    I’m glad and happy to live in the past, where every once in a while, I peek out from my happy place, inspect the ugly surroundings, then once again yank my head back into the comfort of the sand.

  15. roderickm 8.26.2004

    Oh, I’m still here; thanks for saying so. Now that a new and improved [abuantg] is back, you’re my top read of the day, once again.

    Lovin’ every minute of it,


  16. charles 8.26.2004

    I feel sorry for her kids.

  17. I have to say I agree with Smeddy… she probby had a run in with CPS once upon a time and was paranoid. That’s about the only thing that would explain the ranting email – well, that, or crack. In which case, the CPS flashbacks are probably true. heh.

    FWIW, dear, I can’t imagine anyone finding you intimidating once they have chatted you up. I’m certain that the woman’s mother tried to convince her of that, but what with the crack problem and all, I’m sure she didn’t get it. ;-)

  18. nice use of CAPS. I can only assume there were animated gifs in your retort, as well?

  19. Jettomatika 8.28.2004

    And a MIDI of ‘Cry Me A River”, as well.

  20. sarabelle 8.30.2004

    When I am President of The Universe, I am hiring Miss Superior as my speech writer.

    The ability to deliver a big ole’ FUCK YOU with such eloquence and grace is truly a phenomenal talent.

  21. melly 8.31.2004

    Instead, you should go to the park and take pictures of your vagina. That’s what I do anytime someone gets in the way of my art.


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