Basic Grammar and Spelling Errors Obscure Intent of Death Threats

“I wish people would learn to spell,” said Mike Kelvitt.

Kelvitt works as an unpaid intern for Congressperson Sarah Penning. His job is to tabulate and filter constituent communications, responding when appropriate.

“Sounds easy, right?” he said. “But Rep Penning gets a lot of weird emails. Here’s an example. One line.”


Kelvig shrugged. “Is it a poem? A haiku? Heavy metal lyrics?” he asked. “But why send that? Maybe he’s looking for zombie porn? I’m sure there’s a site that offers that, but gross.”

He shrugged, marked a tally on his tablet and began typing.

“When I’m not sure what to do,” he said, “I send the standard response. Thank you for contacting my office. Always glad to hear from you. Blah blah blah.”

He clicked to the next email then banged his fist on his desk. “And here’s another one.”


“What the hell does that mean? Does ‘your kind’ mean ‘people similar to you?’ Or did he mean to use the contraction? ‘You are kind.’ But then what’s the rest of it? Are now welcome here? That’s nice. Or did he put in ‘not’ but forgot to take it out? Your kind welcome here? I don’t know. Canned response for that one.”

Kelvitt rolled his eyes and looked at the clock.

“Seven and a half more hours to quitting time,” he mumbled, clicking to the next email.

“And here’s another. This one has an attachment. A photo of a gun. Sounds bad, but the text makes no sense.”


“I think that third word should be ‘surprised.’ But why contact Rep. Penning about it? And who gets surprised if they are the ones who go shopping? It doesn’t make any sense. And the gun picture? Is he saying she should buy a gun? I don’t know. And another canned response.”

When asked how he felt about his internship, Kelvitt was vague.

“I don’t hate it. Would be nice to get some pay. They said I would get life experience. But really, in the adult world, will I ever need to decipher gibberish written by lunatics who write in all caps?”