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This Weekend in OtherWords: Donald Kaul Responds

After Kaul's column appeared in the Des Moines Register, his words were taken out of context.

ESG-by BC-1

As OtherWords readers know, Donald Kaul‘s first column in five months ran on Dec. 19. It was on gun control in the wake of the Newtown shootings and he wrote it in his usual satirical style.

It’s hard to pull off any kind of humor when it comes to the very un-funny topic of mass murder and the weapons used to kill children. But initially it seemed that people got what he was trying to say and understood that the outrageous statements in his column were intended as satire. His fans were excited and said so.

But after the column appeared in the Des Moines Register on Sunday Dec. 30, things changed. Opponents of gun control pulled Kaul’s satirical statements out of context, accused him of threatening members of Congress, and posted these excerpts around the Web. Predictably, the people who saw these snippets got very angry.

These angry folks have taken things to a different level. They have posted derogatory, insulting, and threatening things about Kaul in particular and OtherWords in general on this website and many others. They have sent us hundreds of defamatory emails, most of which are too filled with profanity to reproduce here.

This is why Donald Kaul has written a new column on gun control that follows up on the first one that we’re distributing outside our normal schedule.

I’d also like to thank everyone who expressed their concern about this column in a civil way — both of you.

Emily Schwartz Greco is the managing editor of OtherWords, a non-profit editorial service.

  • Lyn Benson

    Donald Kaul doesn’t know what he is talking about. Guns don’t kill. When in the hands of a bad person and miss used, bad things happen, the gun didn’t jump up and shoot someone on it’s own.

    Cars kill 32,000 people a year and I see no legislation outlawing them. At this point we are being charged up because of a misguided person trying to fuel his own agenda.

    Common sense needs to come back into our thinking and actions.

    • brianrc

      I understand your concern, but I think we should be able to come together as a society to say that felons and people with mental problems maybe shouldn’t have free access to assault weapons.

      I think most of us would be satisfied if guns were at least as regulated as cars. Remember, people have to get a license in order to drive a car. There is no such requirement for owning a AR-15.

      Why don’t we use some common sense to regulate assault weapons?

      • Franko

        Because those in control have no common sense and would rather take away all the guns from honest hard working Americans but leave all the psychos, lunatics and felons alone to run wild and kill. Why can’t this government ban gang bangers and felons from owning guns? Why can’t they stop the drugs. How about the drunk driving? All these things are just getting worse and the answer is to take the honest joes guns and leave him defenseless in a society that just grows more dangerous everyday. Semi-autos and AR-15s are generally not very dependable. We seen that in Portland. They jam all the time. Large magazines jam even worse. The fact is the biggest killers the last 100 years have been governments.

      • Matt Drake

        You apparently have never purchased a gun, as the paperwork and FBI background check evaluates for that and I can tell you as someone who performed those checks, people get flagged and refused on a daily basis in the hundreds.

      • Undergraduate

        Brian, why don’t you use the sense God gave you, shut the eff up, and don’t buy a gun if you don’t like them. Cars, guns, apples, oranges. Want to change things, get the Second Amendment repealed. Then, when the government tries to enforce its designs, we’ll see who stands against them. I can guarantee it won’t be you.

  • Old Texian

    I left a real humorous post for Mr. Kaul. His way of trying to write humor would make me a Pulitzer prize writer for sure :) And I forgot to ask him if he could get the federal gov’mint to purchase me some AR’s. I know they bought a lot of them for the Mexican drug cartels and I would like some too. Can you pass the word please? I appreciate the 1st Amendment but I love my 2nd. Being the daughter of a NAVY WWII vet and a wife of a Vietnam Vet….do ya think “humor” on killing the 2nd is funny? Well, come on down to Texas….and watch me hawg hunt!

  • jan

    Most of us are smart enough to know Mr. Kaul’s previous column wasn’t to be taken literally. He and the rest of us have a right to be angry when 20 children die because people are allowed to own a weapon that has no purpose other than killing people.

    I’m not surprised gun owners are attempting to intimidate him. I’ve seen them suggest things online. I’ve seen them go so far as to publish people’s names, addresses, and phone numbers on major news websites recently. There appears to be no level to low for them to sink to.

    • ESGreco

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, publishing names, phone numbers, and addresses on websites in this way is troubling.

      • Mike Johnson

        Is it only troubling when someone published the names, phone numbers etc. about the NY newspaper employees or is it equally troubling when those that own firearms have their names, addresses and phone numbers published?? Is is only troubling when one side does it and not the other?

    • eddie sessum

      That was the anti gun newspaper that published the names. Just like the guy your defending. You tell a lie and the other one swears to it. You cant even back up what you say! Google puts the truth right in front of you if you open your eyes. This kid that killed those children played those vivid killing video games all his life. Have you ever seen one? It made me sick to my stomach! Our kids enjoy it. Have any of you thought the effects it has on people? Even once have you thought about that. Feel free to answer that please because the silence from your side is deafening! Im sure ill just be attacked by your ilk.

      Des Moines Register publishes gun-ban column advocating deadly violence against NRA, GOP leaders

      Read more:

    • Franko

      Im not surprised that you libtards don’t like the shoe on the other foot. Your hypocrisy is astounding. Nothing is lower than parading and advocating the slaughter of unborn humans. The right could sink low and still be on Mt Everest to a libtard.

    • Old Texian

      Dear Jan:
      You seem to be confused. Mr. Kaul has every right as an American to write his style of humor. I am not a writer therefore I haven’t the masses to spread my style of humor. Like Mr. Kaul has. You seem to lack education in weapons. Have you ever played baseball with a bat? Have you ever changed a tire with a tire tool? Have you ever cut up a steak with a knife? Well you have used weapons that have killed humans. The “weapon” I would assume you have referred to should not be written in the context as “no purpose other than killing people.” The millions of Americans that own guns do not use a “gun” to kill people only those that are mentally deranged. 3,000 people died from food borne illnesses in 2012. I expect the gov’mint to arrest the farmers next. Take away the food source. Will you survive? And the rest of us are smart enough to know that controlling guns only means “control”. The two natural enemies of a gun is rust and politicians. Glad I have the 1st on my side to share my viewpoint and the 2nd to protect it!

      • jan

        Let me correct your mistaken assumptions. I grew up in Kansas in a family of hunters who would never have considered owning an assault weapon for even one moment and I was taught gun safety first and how to shoot second. Typically, around here you will find assault weapons are embraced by the right, not the left.

        No one wants to take away hunting guns. That’s a lie propagated by the gun nuts; and yes, there are definitely gun nuts. Assault weapons are for those who use them for target practice or to shoot people. Any other use, such as on wildlife, would have been considered a lack of sportsmanship and lack of marksmanship in the house I grew up in. Given the fact that they are primarily used for target practice or to shoot people, there is no logical reason to allow them to remain in private ownership. They should be restricted to the military and law enforcement personnel. If you listen to them, they always seem to justify private ownership of assault weapons on the basis that they need to be able to fight the government. Oddly enough, I still believe that if you don’t like the government you have currently you go to the voting booth next time it’s open and cast a vote.

        And finally, in my book, mentally deranged would consist of calling people at 3 a.m., stalking and publishing their name and address on the internet in the hopes of making them a target of others of similar mindset, .

        • Dave Wiezorek


          You say you grew up with hunters. So, you understand then that an AR15 is chambered typically in a .556/.223 round. This round is less lethal than your typical hunting round of 30.06 and
          .308, both very popular hunting rounds. Hunting rifles come in
          semi-automatic actions just like an AR15 and can be fired just as rapidly as an AR15. Just because the AR15 looks like a scary military weapon doesn’t make it any more dangerous than a hunting rifle. A pistol grip, a fore end grip, an adjustable butt stock and the color black doesn’t make these types of weapons more lethal than your daddy’s hunting rifle. What you and the left are doing is what you leftist call profiling. So what if someone is more comfortable carrying an AR15 hunting, it’s no more lethal or more un-sportsman-like than the weapon’s you and your dad are carrying. It’s just more comfortable to some folks. Additionally, I know liberals that like the AR15 platform. What’s the threat to you and your lib friends if I want to target shoot? I no longer hunt (shhh, don’t tell my right wing, gun nut friends that I no longer enjoy killing animals) and other than home defense, target shooting is one of the main reasons why I own weapons. I love the sport of shooting, period. I’d love to own and shoot an AR15. It’s just too expensive for my taste right now, at least the one I’d like to buy. Uhh, gee, shooting exists in several formats in the Olympics, right!?

          You see, you can have a desire to own guns in any format for many reasons and not have a desire to shoot people or even animals as you and your daddy do. But there is another reason, one we elephants take more seriously than you jack-asses, and that is to defend ourselves against a radical government. Sure we can vote you out, but when a government threatens to continually limit and even eliminate (many libs would love this) our 2nd amendment rights by even circumventing the congress, then you’re talking tyranny. I won’t even get into how the liberal MSM and Hollywood are perpetuating this trend.

          Understand Jan, the 2nd amendment was not written so we could go hunting. It is in the constitution purely to reaffirm our God given rights, or natural rights for you libs that are uncomfortable with the word God, to allow us to defend ourselves against ANYTHING by WHATEVER means necessary. The 2nd amendment does not state your defense should be with a musket or like weapon of the founder’s era because the founders were smart enough to understand technology changes. They were able to extrapolate their observations to any future time. Checks and balances on our government isn’t through the different branches of the government (thanks a lot Roberts), or the lame MSM, it’s
          through the 2nd amendment and the strength it provides us civilians to change our government if needed by force when the rights of the people are threatened. Read the Federalist papers. Look at all despotic regimes through history and how they achieved control; through disarming the civilians. This, Jan, is what your daddy should have been teaching you while you were in the woods hunting.

          • jan

            If you’re not using it to hunt with or in a police or military setting it falls into the category of hobby or toy. Placing a hobby or toy for your own private pleasure above the lives of 20 first graders is wrong.

          • Dave Wiezorek

            HHHHAAaaaaahhahaa, no Jan, target shooting (as in the Olympics) falls into the category of sport as hunting does. Please parse accurately. You are still thinking with the clouded, mob mentality from the shooting. Please, try to step out of that box and think clearly. This is about a power grab by the left to infringe on and take away our rights. Put aside your emotions for a moment and think clearly and look at statistics and what a gun ban will do. DO YOU HONESTLY THINK A CRIMINAL WILL TURN IN HIS/HER WEAPONS!!!! Take your liberal sippy cup out of your mouth and think on your own with measureable facts.

          • jan

            When we went hunting we ate it. You can’t eat targets. Target shooting IS a hobby precisely because it serves no purpose other than entertainment or amusement.

          • Dave Wiezorek

            heheehe, so you’re are saying that Olympic shooters are just practicing a hobby? The fact that shooters shoot for accuracy, proficiency, points and high scores in organized events does not make it a sport? I actually have to eat my target or clay pigeon to make it a sport? Football players don’t eat each other or the football or goal post; baseball, basketball players the same in their “sport”, stock car racers don’t eat anything that I’m aware of in their “sport” and we call all this sport. Just because I shoot a gun at a target doesn’t mean I have to eat the target to make it a sport. Look up the definition of shooting sports. Interesting, take a sip.
            Your argument is not cogent. Even if I agreed with you that target shooting is a hobby, how do you make the connection that target shooters create or are killers of innocent people or that the tools of their sport create such killers? Incidentally, some people hunt for entertainment or amusement, does that now make hunting a hobby? Do I need to go on?? You still won’t think outside of that box. Come on Jan, test your thinking powers just a bit and step outside of that box, I dare you;)

          • Dave Wiezorek

            One last point Jan,

            You say you are a hunter and this has nothing to do with taking guns away from hunters, well you’re very wrong on this as well. Here is Feinstein in her own words explaining what she and the radical left want:
            This is what it is about, your 2nd amendment rights period. Not hunting or shooting. I’m trying to shake you Jan, wake up.

        • Undergraduate

          Let me put it simply for you Jan, and with humor and satire. Fuck you, and fuck your entire “hunter” family. The 2nd Amendment wa not written to protect your right -which many on the left profess to find even more abhorrant than killing children, to stalk and kill innocent animals in a fight that is hardly fair. I am sick to death of so-called “hunters” proclaiming their superiority to those of us who prefer semi-automatic AR type rifles to “hunting utensils.” Did I tell you and yours to go fuck yourself? If I did, I was being satirical, so don’t take me out of context you asshole.

    • joezeyboy

      Taking away law abiding citizens guns or rights will not stop the criminal acts of violence You ASS. Criminals will still have there weapons or maybe You think they will give them up if they become illegal…

  • eddie sessum

    For this man to have those thoughts shows he is mentally unstable. He means what he said. If i were to say those kinds of things Of course i wouldnt) I would make sure…. Its just indefensible!! Hes the kind of person that slaughters children.

  • MJohnson

    You may think this is satire but I don’t. After Congresswoman Giffords was shot, the left railed on the use of words and satire such as conservatives saying to “target” various politicians on the left during elections. One map even used gunsights. Well, everyone knew conservatives were not proposing the shooting of liberal politicians but that didn’t stop the left from the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the symbolism. I fully agreed the rhetoric should be reduced to be more civil. Yet, when someone liberal like Donald Kaul writes a column like that, it’s okay according to the liberals. Donald Kaul is being taken out of context and people criticizing him are being uncivil in their criticism. I still believe the rhetoric should be greatly reduced by both sides. But tell us, what would have been your reaction had a conservative columnist wrote something like this about politicians and people who support stronger gun controls. What if a conservative columnist suggested dragging Dianne Feinstein behind a truck. Would you have been so understanding and say the writer’s comments were taken out of context??????

    • Franko

      The left just doesn’t want to hear that. They will change the subject or just ignore you. Most of the left-wingers are in fact completely brainwashed. They have every classic symptom. You can’t get through to them no matter how hard you try. They base everything on emotion and that can be easily manipulated with just a TV.

    • jan

      Generally speaking, it’s the rightwing that carries the guns, not the left.

      • Mike Johnson

        I know plenty of people on the left that have guns; some are as lethal or more lethal than those recently used for the mass shootings that everyone is concerned about. Examples are the 30.06 and .308 calibers. The difference is that they participate in responsible ownership and have exhibited no signs of wanting to kill dozens of innocent people. I was never comfortable about making clones of military style weapons available to the public but SCOTUS has upheld they can be sold. I am disturbed about the shootings and the weapons used. I am equally uncomfortable that the shooters (COWARDS) in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Conneticut were also clothed in full body protective gear that should also be reserved for law enforcement and military.
        I never said there shouldn’t be massive changes to the law. Nobody, including you, has answered the question. What would your reaction be if someone conservative wrote a column or had a radio broadcast suggesting liberal members of Congress be dragged behind a vehicle??????????? Kaul’s rhetoric was over the top as are some of the responses nationwide. If Mr. Kaul can’t handle the responses when he goes over the top, then he shouldn’t write columns saying he’s comfortable taking guns from people’s dead hands and dragging two members of Congress behind vehicles.

  • Franko

    Satire? Nice try but I am not buying it. Mr Kaul meant every word he said and many on the left are saying the same things and try as you may to BS those of us that can critically think you libtards want anybody that you don’t agree with dead. Your ilk would jump for joy if this Nazi Obummer regime would hunt us down and exterminate us. Then you will be saying “then they came for me” Good luck with that.

  • Josh Gottle

    Maybe Kaul’s next heart attack will be the type that results in him immediately dropping dead.

  • M.Drake

    Why isn’t anyone talking or considering the fact that the country has no way of tracking, or identifying people with mental illnesses. And in Michigan, Mr.Kaul’s home state, shut down state mental hospitals, only to release these criminally insane mentally disturbed individuals into group homes in our neighborhoods to people with little or no training to supervise these individuals. Guns are not the problem, period. I work as a public servant, assisting the poor, impoverished, unhealthy, mentally disturbed as well as the rich, and everyone in between. I have put bodies of way more children and adults in body bags as a result of drunk drivers, drugs, speed related accidents than gun related deaths, at a ratio of 50:1. I hope Mr.Kaul would retract his comments about gun owners, his poor choice of words and challenge him to a battle of wits, based on facts, not emotion. M.Drake Coleman, MI

  • d

    You so misunderstand! All of those threatening emails and calls were satire! They were merely trying to get their point across in a memorable way.

  • wayne from Sheboygan

    Donald Kaul and I go back about 42 years. He’s informative and entertaining, and as a writer, he hasn’t lost a step. The last thing he needs right now is to be dealing with that crowd. Speaking as a member of what Dick Cheney called the “reality based community”, something has to be done about the guns. These atrocities are now occurring within weeks of each other. It’s the new normal. Having traveled in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, I can report that they have their share of mentally ill people and violent video games. They’re like us in every way except for the guns. Other advanced countries only have a handful of gun deaths per year…we have 30,000 plus. No amount of chin music from the gun crowd will convince me that it’s not the guns causing the difference. Be well, Donald.

    • Mike Johnson

      I definitely agree there should be changes to the gun laws. Nobody, including you, has answered the question. What would your reaction be if someone conservative wrote a column or had a radio broadcast suggesting liberal members of Congress be dragged behind a vehicle??????????? Kaul’s rhetoric was over the top as are some of the responses nationwide. Mr. Kaul has years of experience and is supposed to be a big boy. If Mr. Kaul can’t handle the responses when he goes over the top like this, then he shouldn’t write columns saying he’s comfortable taking guns from people’s dead hands and dragging two members of Congress behind vehicles.

  • Abort Democrats

    Hate is hate, and Mr. Kaul spewed enough of it for twenty people. It seems funny that Democrats and liberals constantly whine and cry about civility and tolerance while they exhibit zero of either. If it was not for blind hatred liberals would not have much of a personality. Satire? I think not, Mr. Kaul spoke his true thoughts and then did not like the reaction. Now he wants to explain what he “meant” when he wished death and destruction upon law abiding citizens of the United States. Blind hatred mixed with a sense of entitlement is a poor excuse for a human being. I hope everything he wishes on others happens to him and his family as well.

  • Bob

    Donald Kaul-just another example of liberal projectionism. Our president says we need to moderate our tone and stop the hate speech. “Drag them behind a truck ’till they “agree the second amendment should be repealed? “Kill all N.R.A. members”? Wow,what a swell socialist guy he is!! Just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. These guys are never held to their own standards of hate speech and it makes me sick when I hear their rhetoric. Say goodbye to all the freedoms we grew up with,we have lost control of our government,no longer for the people. It’s all about lording power over the populace now.Just a matter of time as they slowly relegate our constitution to obscurity and irrelevance in establishing their rule over every aspect of our lives-“For our own good”( or,,,,,,For the good of the state/ government that is ! ).

  • kellercherry

    Kaul should have stayed retired. BDS

  • PJH

    Mr. Kaul’s comments in his article were not taken out of context whatsoever. It is very clear by reading the article that Mr. Kaul meant every word he wrote. You are a typical news reporter; trying to back track and cover up the vomit spewed onto the floor of this nation. You along with Mr. Kaul should be ashamed of yourselves for what you are doing.
    If a pro 2nd Amendment person made comments of the sort, you would lable them as an extremist or a terrorist. I guess it is only okay for the press to make such comments and get away with it.
    For some reason the media thinks the American people are stupid. You think we believe everything you write or say. Well, guess what. You are wrong. I know, as well as the majority of Americans know the media/press is what is wrong with our nation.
    Ms. Greco, you need to pull your head out of the sand and take a good long look at what the truth really is because obviously you have no clue.
    Oh, by the way. The 2nd Amendment is there for a reason. It is there to keep an over reaching goverment in check. It is there to give the citizens of this nation the option to remove an over reaching over taxing over regulating government from office. Remember the Revolutionary War. That is what the 2nd Amendment is all about. Accept it.

  • Undergraduate

    Ya know what, Emily, you left drooling lying liar asswipes always accuse people of taking you “out of context.” Pathetic. You are complete cowards, angry ranters who, when called on it, accuse your accusers of “not getting the humor.” Eff you. Get it? Humor! Now, you and your ilk, you true zombie believers in Ubama, who continue to await for your Messiah to work a miracle and actually deliver on his promises, are really, really, really stupid. But we are not.

  • Bob Kerstetter

    Actually, Donald Kaul’s original piece was not written in a satirical style. Instead, it presented a poorly contemplated argument penned from an identity crises point of view.

    His ideological anger perhaps blocked his ability to remember Lesson Number 1 for expressing opinions in print. Here it is as a reminder for Donald Kaul and all other ideologues on the left, center and right.

    When you can’t think clearly sit on your hands and speak only in pig latin when addressing your voice-to-text device. Failure to do so leads you to act as Donald Kaul did.

    Donald Kaul peed in public, made the social arena stink and created a wide-spread health hazard. Perhaps he can mute himself until he recovers his ability to think clearly and write with clarity.

    Does he really believe the legacy of the slaughtered children in Connecticut should be murdering NRA members and dragging elected leaders behind Chevy trucks. Apparently so. Because what he wrote was definitely not satire.

    Satire is humor. There is nothing funny about the Newport killings. There is nothing funny about inflaming public discussion. Maybe we should eliminate freedom of the press.

    The founders, after all, could have never envisioned the global communications power of words on the Internet. And, as any writer knows, words are more dangerous than a mere semi-automatic weapon.

    Donald Kaul lacks the writing skills of a satirist such as Johnathan Swift who successfully lampooned a painful issue in his “A Modest Proposal” essay. If Donald Kaul is for control, perhaps he should start with himself. Maybe he should advocate word control and surrender his word processor.

  • Bob Kerstetter

    Excuse me, I proofed my comment twice and still let Newport slip by. The community is Newtown. My red-faced apologies.

  • John Duerr

    if i was to post something like he said on facebook about the ptresident or congress i would be in jail how can he do that and get away with it its called double standard hes on the side of that dumbass we have in office up there in washington so its ok if he wants to drag somebody down the street behind a truck tell him to come to ky or ind. it would probably more than likely he would be the dumbass drug down the stree