This Is Not What Freedom Looks Like

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firearms, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Via Charles Pierce — A small town Pennsylvania police chief made a video threatening “libtards” that went viral. The video got him a 30-day suspension from his job, but many people in the community wanted him gone permanently.

However, Kessler became a hero to gun rights activists. At a public hearing a week ago, gun guys from several states showed up in force to support the sheriff. Things got a bit hairy.

Many in the gun-toting crowd, which seemed to out-number the considerable media and the sparse towns folk, seemed to agree. Some bearing arms said they were there to protect Kessler, who has claimed to have received multiple death threats in wake of the Internet firestorm. Some said they were providing “security” for the meeting.

When it came time to open the small borough building for the public meeting, these armed men blocked the doors and prevented people from going inside. The mayor hand-selected members of the media who were granted access. Gilberton residents were admitted first.

It’s a pro-gun crowd that goes on about United Nations code No. 7277, which Zangaro said declares international law intended to restrict and register weapons.

Signs in the flag-waving crowd read, “Impeach Obama, Mark Kessler for President” and “Legalize the Constitution.”

No police were present at the meeting.

And while Kessler enjoyed his share of support from those who hail his Second Amendment leadership and vigorous video defense, the chief had detractors among some residents brave enough to speak out.

“He was way across the line,” said Wade Greg Necker, who lives just outside the 700-resident borough. “He’s a nut. I do not feel safe with him around at all.”

“He should have been fired,” added life-long Gilberton resident Pete Kostingo, addressing the borough council. “He used the position, and he abused the position.

Another citizen, speaking at the meeting, called for the county district attorney to investigate Kessler and his actions.

Another, Gregory Grove, said his wife lives in fear of the chief. “She’s afraid of him,” he told council. “Kessler is a detriment to this borough.”

Michael Morrill, with Keystone Progress, delivered a petition bearing 20,000 signatures calling for Kessler’s firing….

But Morrill said the group purposefully declined to mobilize its own set of protesters, fearing an altercation with the gun-carrying crowd. As it was, Morrill was shouted down, including by someone with a bullhorn.

This is not what freedom looks like. Charles Pierce wrote,

The Republican party, a number of timid Democrats, and the conservative “movement” have played footsie with dangerous woodland characters for far too long. This stuff can be used, but it cannot be fully controlled. This is not political debate. This is empowered, enabled paranoia, with firearms. This is not an exercise in democracy. This is a little touch of Munich, 1923 come to the forested exurbs. This stuff can be used, but it cannot be fully controlled, and something very bad is going to happen.

And Pierce is not the sort to evoke Godwin’s Law lightly. Anyway, it was at this hearing that Kessler got his 30-day suspension, and later he complained he’d been the victim of a “kangaroo court.”

But dude — sounds like the kangaroos were on your side. And they were armed.

The most recent wrinkle is that residents of the community have started a “We the People” White House petition to send National Guard to protect them from Kessler and his “fans.” I believe it would be more correct to petition the governor of Pennsylvania, who commands the Guard within his state. But the governor is a Republican, so he won’t respond.

Also, a solicitor for the town wants Kessler to account for all the weapons his department has bought and sold over the years. Apparently the rifles he fired in his videos belonged to the town, not to him. Officials may suspect Kessler has been using department firearms as his own personal arsenal. Kessler responded through his lawyer that if the town fires him, he will sue.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. joanr16  •  Aug 7, 2013 @1:01 pm

    I’m glad Charles Pierce said it first, because the account of that heavily-armed “security presence” made me think: “This is what Germany looked like, around the time the Reichstag caught fire.”

    After all, heavily-armed racist/nationalist bullies risk comparison to you-know-whatzis by definition.

  2. Stephen Stralka  •  Aug 7, 2013 @1:16 pm

    Well, what can you expect? For four long years every one of these guys has been yearning for Barack Obama and Eric Holder to show up at his house and try to take his guns away, so you can’t blame them if they’re getting a little impatient.

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Aug 7, 2013 @1:20 pm

    Maybe the NRA will start having a “Buy 1, Get One Free” offer.

    With every gun you buy, you get a free brown shirt!

    Oh, btw, if that sociopathic police chief ever wants his job back, he needs to be made to understand that in his job, he’s as responsible for the safety of the “Librtards,” as he is the “Real ‘MurKKKinz!”

    I wonder if, when they put Fluoride in the water, some groups don’t also dump in a whole sh*tload of “TEH STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPID!!!”

  4. biggerbox  •  Aug 7, 2013 @1:20 pm

    I’m glad that at least Kessler is still saying he will sue if he fired. He sounds like he’s on the verge of doing much worse, and has some loyal thugs who would assist him.

    I believe this town is in coal country, where traditional rules about power, who has it, and how it is exercised, have long been more brutal and primitive than the democratic ideals in other parts of the nation. I hope the citizens of Gilberton can get pull things back under their control, and violence can be avoided.

  5. uncledad  •  Aug 7, 2013 @1:26 pm

    Wow take a look at the pictures posted on the “Things got a bit hairy” link. What a bunch of pussies walking around with their big bad guns and wrapped in the flag. I’d bet none of them ever served in the military, by looks of most of them they served time but it was by court order, in fact I think I’ve seen a few of them on MSNBC’s weekend programming!

  6. moonbat  •  Aug 7, 2013 @1:32 pm

    There is a sequence that fascism takes, a progression if you will. Our country is at the point where armed groups of this kind rise up every now and then, intimidating those around them. A key thing to look for is: whether the state or national political party embraces what these people are doing, or whether it repudiates them. Whether the people charged with enforcing the law look the other way, or throw the book at these kooks. It’s a tipping point that should be watched carefully.

    It’s a seed that ‘s trying to pop open and infect everything around it. If this seed does indeed pop open, and the law is set aside, and these people are embraced at a higher level, fascism will have progressed to the next, and probably unstoppable level. A major corner will have been turned.

  7. Buckyblue  •  Aug 7, 2013 @1:42 pm

    “Buy one-get one”: classic gulag.
    I’ve always tho’t that the rise of you-know-who pretty well paralleled modern conservatism. If you look up, meaning google, characteristics of fascism they will sound vaguely familiar. Persistent nationalism, militarism, misogyny, propaganda etc. well worth looking into, and it’ll scare you. When I taught World History classes I would always teach this and even here in red country someone would always say, “that sounds like the Republicans”. I was careful but my lesson plan got through, to at least a few. I always wondered how a well educated society could buy Hitler, but then I see the power of the Fox Propaganda Network. The thing they’re really missing is the one, charismatic leader. If they find that, I’m getting my tix for Europe.

  8. uncledad  •  Aug 7, 2013 @1:46 pm

    We had a similar gathering in our state capital last year, a bunch of gun toting wanna-bees gathered outside our capital bldg. The funny thing is this PA gathering and the one last year in my state never got any real mainstream media attention. Makes me wonder if a bunch of gun-toting Arab-Americans showed up at a pro-Islam rally would the media cover it? Or how about some heavily armed African American Brothers at a pro-Trayvon Martin rally?

  9. Gator90  •  Aug 7, 2013 @2:11 pm

    Uncledad: “Makes me wonder if a bunch of gun-toting Arab-Americans showed up at a pro-Islam rally would the media cover it?”

    We would probably drone it.

  10. Stephen Stralka  •  Aug 7, 2013 @2:26 pm

    uncledad–Yep. Bed-wetting cowards the lot of them. Gun nuts are dangerous cowards, of course, but there’s no mistaking the cowardice of people who feel the need to go around heavily armed in the face of no observable threats.

    Myself, I never thought of going to work as an act of courage, but what I do must seem inconceivably reckless in the gun nut view of things. I regularly ride public transit in Sacramento with no weapons at all.

  11. uncledad  •  Aug 7, 2013 @3:08 pm

    “Gun nuts are dangerous cowards, of course, but there’s no mistaking the cowardice of people who feel the need to go around heavily armed in the face of no observable threats”

    I would argue there is a difference between a gun nut and these Bozo’s. Based on my arsenal I’m sure I would be classified a gun nut to some, so would many of my friends, but I would never even consider walking around at a public event with a rifle strapped to my chest or even holstering a pistol, it’s just plain dumb. What these dimwits are really up to is they want to provoke a response, they want the ATF to show up, they want a war. If they were not such cowards they could join the Army and go through some training and go fight a war, the problem is someone might shoot back at them!

  12. joanr16  •  Aug 7, 2013 @3:57 pm

    uncledad, your comment got me thinking, how do I define a “gun nut”? It’s not ownership (not even of a lot of guns). It’s not going to the firing range, or hunting.

    To me, gun-nuttery is a belief: that guns are the most efficacious solution to conflicts between people, e.g. getting fired, losing custody of the kids, failing a class, or like the guy the other day, having town authorities seize one’s property. It’s the belief that the law (e.g. “Stand Your Ground”) gives rights to the gun-carrying citizen, not the unarmed one.

    Gun nuts are the ones who show up at gatherings carrying loaded firearms. They’re making a point: if you disagree with me, this is how I will deal with you. This is what the Second Amendment means, state and federal laws mean: America is for bullies! Someone who thinks like that, or acts like that but is too debse to think about it… that’s a gun nut.

  13. joanr16  •  Aug 7, 2013 @4:10 pm

    “debse” = dense. Jeez.

  14. Stephen Stralka  •  Aug 7, 2013 @4:24 pm

    Yes, I certainly wouldn’t say that all gun owners are gun nuts, but I’d be willing to use a different term. We’re all talking about the same people, anyway–that subset of gun owners who feel that they need assault rifles in order to defend themselves when the government comes to take their assault rifles away. 2nd Amendment fetishists would be a more accurate term.

  15. justme277  •  Aug 7, 2013 @6:10 pm

    Holy shit!

  16. Swami  •  Aug 7, 2013 @7:41 pm

    Anybody planning to write a book or do their doctoral thesis on self image psychology should snatch up those pictures of the Constitutional Security Force.. It’s the mother lode of reference material.. Just don’t confuse it for a ZZ Top convention.

  17. Dan  •  Aug 7, 2013 @8:49 pm

    Interesting that those commenters on the one site keep talking about ‘preventing government tyranny,’ while Kessler is the poster child of actual government tyranny!

    How dumb can one group of people get…

  18. maha  •  Aug 7, 2013 @10:36 pm

    How dumb can one group of people get…

    Arguably, this crew upped the ante.

  19. Swami  •  Aug 7, 2013 @11:22 pm

    How can the town not fire him? What a disgrace he is. I guess if you come from a backwater town where there are no checks on personal conduct or expectations of standards of professional decorum this type of thing can happen. It’s a black eye for the entire state of Pennsylvania.
    It’s almost on par with that conservative judge in Pennsylvania who was destroying children’s lives by sentencing them to ridiculous periods of incarceration for the most trivial trumped up offences to a for profit juvenile detention center in exchange for a kickback. Typical conservatives.
    Imagine being a non white driving through that backwater town with an Obama/ Biden bumper sticker fastened to your bumper?.. You think that Sheriff/ Police Chief would be giving you the protection of law or the treatment of civility if by chance you found yourself in an adversarial situation?

  20. Tom_B  •  Aug 8, 2013 @12:43 pm

    “How can the town not fire him? What a disgrace he is.” Someone should point out to the city that if they FAIL to fire him in full knowledge he’s armed and mentally unstable, THEY will be exposed to liability for his actions. How could they not be?

  21. Ed  •  Aug 8, 2013 @2:09 pm

    Apparently this guy has been in that position for 14 years. This should be long enough to have a track record of patterns of abuse in actual law enforcement, if he were arresting/protecting his “libtards” differently from his “patriots.”

    Has anyone seen any reports about how he has carried out his duties as a sworn officer of the law over the years of his tenure?

  22. Cthulhu  •  Aug 20, 2013 @11:51 am

    This idiot is TOAST. When the facts come out, it’ll be revealed he’s been using local state and probably federal monies to fund his little penis extention fetish, and he’ll be up on fraud charges.

    As for the rest of those dickless yahoos, piss on them.



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