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.