Letter, photo off base

To the Editor:

Mr. Vetter: While I agree with your sentiment, the photo published in the Sentinel on Jan. 3 is not a good vehicle to use to express it. I find it incredibly perplexing that not only have you taken precious time from your life (and now mine) to quickly judge someone, but over an instance where – I am maintaining the same vein as your opinion, here – you should probably be thinking “Well, hey, at least they’re at the library and he doesn’t have them plopped in front of the TV, soaking up whatever instantaneous ADD causing shenanigans that Spongebob Squarepants is dishing out.” (No, that is not my own opinion, the study can be found here: http://bit.ly/1amdZDf)

My children and I spent around two hours at the Martin County Library that afternoon, reading and exploring the activities there together. This photo was taken the one time I took out my phone. Well, second if you want to count when Gunner and I were putting together the rocket that put the Mars Rover, Curiosity, into space through the one of several NASA apps that I have on my phone. Since it is called a “smart phone,” I maintain it as such. Besides, how could you possibly know that there wasn’t something important happening here? From this picture that captures an infinitesimal fraction of a moment, how can you infer that I was using an electronic device to ignore my children, and not, say, responding to a pertinent text message from their mother, or pulling up the aforementioned NASA application?

I knew that a picture of my children and I would be in the newspaper, but it didn’t occur to me that this would be the picture used; to be honest, I didn’t even know pictures of us had been taken until I was approached by the photographer when she asked for my permission to use them. I was actually caught a bit off guard since I was focused on my children, and it certainly didn’t occur to me at the time to ask to see the pictures she took. And I still don’t think I would have, anyways. Like I said, we were there for a while, and I had assumed that she had gotten a good picture of us while I was helping my youngest read a book, or when he was putting on a performance with the bald eagle puppet that was there, or after we all went and found a good book on which dinosaurs were found on which continent (on the “grown up” side, I might add, because those two boys are that smart) and we were all huddled around it. Seeing that this was the picture that made the front page infuriated me far more than you, trust me.

Your letter to the editor is well-written, but unfortunately fallacious.

Matthew Bishop