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Aug 05 2013

Police Chief Kessler Suspended

That unhinged police chief — he’s actually the town’s only police officer — hasn’t been fired, at least not yet, but the city council voted to suspend him for 30 days without pay for “use of borough property for non-borough purposes without prior borough permission.” That prompted a heavily armed rally by his supporters from many states.

Was it a show of force? Or a display of freedoms? All those people from multiple states, each packing heat — some as many as three firearms each. They flocked to this small Schuylkill County community in lock-step support of a local police chief with a loud mouth, a bold message and a megaphone called the Internet…

“He was able to stand up above the crowd and blaze a separate path,” John Zangaro, director of Operation Constitution, said of Kessler’s attention-grabbing video odes to the Second Amendment…

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.”

This is not going to end well. These people really are extremist and dangerous and they are heavily armed.

53 comments

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  1. 1
    Artor

    “…A local police chief with a loud mouth, a bold message and a megaphone called the Internet…”

    That wasn’t a bold message, that was a deranged, cowardly and ignorant message.

  2. 2
    The Other Lance

    Damn. I just moved from North Carolina to Pennsylvania and thought I was back in Cackalacky when I read the stories about this bozo. Had no idea the middle of PA was overrun by wingnuts.

  3. 3
    Chiroptera

    Has anyone else noticed how gun people never protest police stopping and frisking people because of their race?

    Or detaining people indefinitely without charging them?

    Or starting illegal wars and promoting them to the public with lies?

    Why, it’s almost as if it’s not liberty or freedom that has them so concerned, but something else entirely.

  4. 4
    Modusoperandi

    This is not going to end well.”

    Sure. But Freedom.
     

    These people really are extremist and dangerous and they are heavily armed.”

    But without them who will stand up to the all-powerful UN? WHO?!!!

  5. 5
    dogmeat

    Had no idea the middle of PA was overrun by wingnuts.

    To paraphrase, Pennsylvania is Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west, and Alabama in between.

  6. 6
    D. C. Sessions

    That wasn’t a bold message, that was a deranged, cowardly and ignorant message.

    Of course it was bold. Comic sans, all caps, 24-point, bold.

  7. 7
    bcmystery

    Hey. No need to drag poor, misunderstood Comic Sans into this.

  8. 8
    raven

    This is not going to end well. These people really are extremist and dangerous and they are heavily armed.

    Maybe not.

    They’ve always been around. In the past, they were always looking for commies under their sofas and in their closets.

    According to EB, 2/3′s of all terrorist plots and incidents since 9/11 have involved right wingnuts and/or xian terrorists. But so far, their attacks have been inept and unfocused. The only one to cause huge damage was Timothy McVeigh’s who killed well over a 100, many of them small chidlren in a day care center.

    I would just expect the pattern to continue. Inept and pointless plots and actions here and there.

  9. 9
    democommie

    Kessler is a lying fucking piece-of-shit sociopath.

    He must be, like, teh totes pissed that he can’t go get them fully automatic “tools” (the only apparent purposes of which are to waste money and kill large numbers of people, quickly) out of the weapons locker at the PD and go all Rambo on those libcomsocsymps on the village council.

    Ed:

    Where did you find the info that he’s the ONLY cop in that burg?

  10. 10
    Who Knows?

    Yeah, and these guys get upset when they’re called gun nuts. But how else could you describe a group of people who would take time off work and run to the defense of someone who posts hate filled rants on the Internet, other than nuts?

  11. 11
    raven

    The two terrorist incidents nearest my house both involved xian terrorists and right wingnuts.

    The xians firebombed the local mosque.

    Some guy got in a shootout with the cops while on his way to bomb an environmental group.

    A lot of their attacks are like that. The guy in Texas who flew a small plane into the IRS building. In Spokane, a guy who left a backpack bomb at a Martin Luther King day parage. The one from Idaho who tried to assassinate Obama by shooting at the White House.

  12. 12
    reverendrodney

    The reason these folks don’t care about asset forfeiture, NSA spying on every citizen, racial profiling, and other violations of our rights is because they don’t read.

    Anyway, I think the picture of the guy with the long red goatee, a big important looking complicated weapon in hand, with a pistol on his hip, watching out for those evil right-takers that are coming down the road at any second says it all.

  13. 13
    exdrone

    If it weren’t for the disasterous potential of the real ammunition, it sounds as comic as a scene out of the movie The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!. I see Paul Ford with sword in hand exclaiming, “As Commander of the Civilian Forces, in this emergency! I’m charging you with treason!”

  14. 14
    manfromflanders

    @dogmeat

    Isn’t that supposed to be Kentucky ? Not that it makes a lot of difference though :-p

    To paraphrase, Pennsylvania is Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west, and Alabama in between.

  15. 15
    Synfandel

    According to EB, 2/3′s of all terrorist plots and incidents since 9/11 have involved right wingnuts and/or xian terrorists.

    Who is EB when he’s a home?

  16. 16
    CaitieCat, getaway driver

    Some of that right-wing terror is unfortunately effective, raven @ 8: the campaign of the anti-choicers to murder doctors who perform abortions. Not only does it keep other doctors (quite understandably) from wanting to be part of the target group, but it means that in certain parts of the US, women have to go hundreds of miles to find a doctor who can perform a perfectly legal operation. Not sure if you’re hooked into the pro-choice crowd at all, but there’s one area where there is a shedload of unfortunately effective violence. :/

  17. 17
    Artor

    Synfandel, EB is Ed Brayton. He is at home. Welcome to his place.

  18. 18
    Sastra

    This is not going to end well. These people really are extremist and dangerous and they are heavily armed.

    No kidding. Anyone care to bet on what would happen if, say, some teens-fooling-around decided to drop some firecrackers right smack dab into that suspicious, angry, worked-up “gun-totin’ crowd?”

    Would not be pretty.

  19. 19
    Trebuchet

    @Ed:

    That unhinged police chief…

    Somewhat off topic, but how does “unhinged” fit into the new “no crazy” policy? I’m personally quite ok with it, but then I’m also ok with a lot of the other words you aren’t going to use any more.

    “Wingnut”, on the other hand, impugns the integrity of a worthy mechanical component by comparing it to human doofusses.

  20. 20
    Modusoperandi

    Sastra “No kidding. Anyone care to bet on what would happen if, say, some teens-fooling-around decided to drop some firecrackers right smack dab into that suspicious, angry, worked-up ‘gun-totin’ crowd?’”
    NBC News: Gilberton, Pennsylvania. Aug 05
    “Protest Goes Off Half-Cocked, Thirty-Five Shot in Foot”

  21. 21
    Raging Bee

    The armed civilian outsiders blocked access to the local government building? How is that not an armed incursion? How is that legal at all?

    If a heavily armed gang of blacks or Hispanics did anything like that, would the local “security” forces have been so lazy in their (non) response?

  22. 22
    Raging Bee

    Sastra: it would depend on the skin-color of the teens. And whether they were wearing hoodies at the time.

  23. 23
    Abby Normal

    This is not going to end well. These people really are extremist and dangerous and they are heavily armed.

    Ed, that’s a scary pronouncement, but pretty vague. What do you predict is going to happen?

    While I see that it could go badly, the most likely outcome I foresee is the situation blowing over without anyone getting shot. Right-wingers seem most dangerous in small numbers or when acting alone. When the group gets this large they tend to become more moderate.

    I’ll even back up my prediction with a promise, if I’m wrong I’ll publicly admit to having been naively optimistic and make $500 donation to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. But, if I’m right, I hope that it restores a little faith in humanity, even toward right-wing gun nuts.

  24. 24
    Raging Bee

    Right-wingers seem most dangerous in small numbers or when acting alone. When the group gets this large they tend to become more moderate.

    Yeah, large groups of bullies tend to be more “moderate” when they can intimidate their enemies by sheer numbers.

  25. 25
    erichoug

    Yeah, grabbing your gun and trying to shoot it out with the government is a great idea. Why, you can see all the times that wackadoodles with AR-15s have triumphed over the government. Like Ruby Ridge, Waco, the lesser known Rainbow Farm and pretty much any other time some moron has barricaded themselves into their hovel and thought it was going to end well.

  26. 26
    Raging Bee

    From the article cited:

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

    “It’s time to get rid of this rouge police chief,” Morrill said. “This is outrageous. This is not the kind of thing that should take place in the United States.”

    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.

    Yep, armed mob rule. And the local “authorities” chose to do nothing to stop it.

  27. 27
    Modusoperandi

    Raging Bee “Sastra: it would depend on the skin-color of the teens. And whether they were wearing hoodies at the time.”
    Look out! They’ve got Skittles!

  28. 28
    Raging Bee

    I’ll even back up my prediction with a promise, if I’m wrong I’ll publicly admit to having been naively optimistic and make $500 donation to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. But, if I’m right, I hope that it restores a little faith in humanity, even toward right-wing gun nuts.

    Better make that donation, Abby, because the article cited proves you wrong. The mob effectively took over a government building and shouted down at least one vocal dissenter. Indeed, the article all-but-explicitly admitted that RESIDENTS OF THE TOWN had to muster up a good bit of courage to SPEAK THEIR MINDS TO THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ON PUBLIC PROPERTY. I don’t know about you, but I’d call that “not ending well.”

  29. 29
    abb3w

    @3, Chiroptera:

    Has anyone else noticed how gun people never protest police stopping and frisking people because of their race?
    Or detaining people indefinitely without charging them?
    Or starting illegal wars and promoting them to the public with lies?
    Why, it’s almost as if it’s not liberty or freedom that has them so concerned, but something else entirely.

    ♬ “What never?” ♬

    That’s a bit of an oversimplification. The local atheist group includes a couple pro-gun folk, who also will go off on rants about unlawful detentions, the impropriety of every “war” the US has been in since WWII, sketchy (and especially racially motivated) police search and seizure policies, and so forth.

    Harping on my usual theme, I’d reference the RWA/SDO framework Altemeyer talks about, and suggest that gun nuttery is associated to high-SDO attitudes, which tend slightly to be high-RWA types due to the slight RWA/SDO correlation. Those are (mostly) the classic “God and Guns” borderline fascist type of nut. In contrast, high-SDO/low-RWA types (though I lack hard data prove it) seem to tend “libertarian” — still gun nuts, but tending to be more subtle than overt to their racism, and worried that THEY are among the people who might be locked up in a general sweep of perceived threats to fellow citizens.

  30. 30
    Michael Heath

    dogmeat wrote:

    To paraphrase, Pennsylvania is Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west, and Alabama in between.

    A close relative from VA who visited me here in northern MI recently told me there was a notable number of billboards through the middle part of PA decrying, “Obama’s war on coal”. My response was, “I wish”. (At least until we can feasibly sequester emissions from coal, and where mining such would still harm the environment.)

  31. 31
    dcovill

    Why do we keep referring to this loon as a ‘chief’? Yes, he’s a cop, but he’s the only cop in town. He’s not the ‘chief’ of anything.

  32. 32
    DaveL

    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.

    Could this be a reference to State Department Publication 7277, “Freedom From War“? It was a 1961 roadmap for global disarmament that was, to put it gently, never quite implemented.

  33. 33
    democommie

    “Anyway, I think the picture of the guy with the long red goatee, a big important looking complicated weapon in hand, with a pistol on his hip, watching out for those evil right-takers that are coming down the road at any second says it all.”

    Nah, it’s the one a few down that shows the blonde lady with the hot pink detailed 5″ Mahno Blamblam DFWMFM heels* and the glock. Oh, and the couple in the background.

    “Right-wingers seem most dangerous in small numbers or when acting alone. When the group gets this large they tend to become more moderate.”

    Not demonstrably accurate, imo. What the difference is is that they were in a public place and likely being videotaped by numerous cams. The majority of the gunzloonz that I have conversations with (almost all of them extremely short) are filled with fear and hatred. End of story.

    * Don’t Fuck With Me Fuck Me heels

  34. 34
    Raging Bee

    In contrast, high-SDO/low-RWA types (though I lack hard data prove it) seem to tend “libertarian” — still gun nuts, but tending to be more subtle than overt to their racism, and worried that THEY are among the people who might be locked up in a general sweep of perceived threats to fellow citizens.

    A distinction with VERY little real-world difference worth mentioning.

  35. 35
    Dr X

    No big deal. Looks like a gathering of the Narcissistic Personality Association, Paranoid Division.

  36. 36
    rr

    Idiots. Killing people is obviously the solution to whatever the problem is, yet not a single person was fatally shot.

  37. 37
    Moggie

    Raging Bee:

    “It’s time to get rid of this rouge police chief,” Morrill said.

    Let’s not bring colour into this, ok?

  38. 38
    kyoseki

    In my experience, these kinds of people (the ones who show up to rallies openly carrying weapons) are all mouth and no trousers.

    They’re attention whores, just like Ted “I’ll be dead or in jail this time next year” Nugent.

    The kinds of people who actually are dangerous* don’t tend to show up to rallies where they know they’ll get photographed.

    *at least intentionally, I can certainly see one of these guys negligently discharging a weapon.

  39. 39
    sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    That unhinged police chief — he’s actually the town’s only police officer

    Is someone with no subordinates to give orders to a chief? On the other hand, what do you call someone with no-one in command of them?

  40. 40
    Raging Bee

    kyoseki: read the article. An armed mob shouted down at least one dissenting voice, and may have induced other residents of the town they invaded to stay silent. The reporter at least hinted that it took “courage” for residents of the town to stand up and speak in their own town’s government building. This mob action was more than just talk, and the sooner we admit the reality fo this situation, the better off we’ll all be.

  41. 41
    kyoseki

    Well, yes, shouting, as in hot air, they’re very good at that.

    I can’t see it escalating to actual violence, however.

  42. 42
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    the city council voted to suspend him for 30 days without pay for “use of borough property for non-borough purposes without prior borough permission.”

    Well, hey, they nailed Al Capone on tax evasion…

  43. 43
    dan4

    “He was able to stand up above the crowd and blaze a separate path.”

    (*chants over and over to self*) “Must resist temptation to violate Godwin’s law, must resist temptation to violate Godwin’s law, must resist temptation to violate Godwin’s law…”

  44. 44
    Raging Bee

    I can’t see it escalating to actual violence, however.

    Well, no, as long as no one actually tries to stand up to them, everything will stay peaceful.

  45. 45
    kyoseki

    Raging Bee

    Well, no, as long as no one actually tries to stand up to them, everything will stay peaceful.

    Actually I fully expect that it will go the same way it did here;
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/15/james-yeager-gun-license_n_3077295.html
    Lots of shouting, but when the feds show up, suddenly they start walking it back.

    Seriously, the shouty oiks at these rallies are just looking for attention, it’s the quiet guys turtled up in the middle of nowhere who are the ones who are really likely to start shooting if the authorities show up.

  46. 46
    Area Man

    This is not going to end well. These people really are extremist and dangerous and they are heavily armed.

    I’m going to have to disagree. I mean, it already hasn’t “ended well”. Ending well would mean that Kessler would be fired and the town would get on with it’s business; the fact that armed goons showed up at all is a big fat negative. But authoritarian douche-nozzles like this tend to be cowards with self-esteem issues, not genuine revolutionaries. They will most likely recede into obscurity the minute they lose their Mcguffin.

  47. 47
    Area Man

    — some as many as three firearms each.

    Got some serious lulz out of this. Apparently, the primary weapon just isn’t reliable enough, so you need a backup. And that’s none too reliable either, so you need a third, or else who knows what might happen? I guess these gun nuts have very little respect for the weapons they’ve purchased.

    Or just maybe they’re carrying them for purely symbolic purposes, as if to intimidate others. Naw, couldn’t be.

  48. 48
    richardt

    I suppose there’s no beerhall in Gilberton?

  49. 49
    Raging Bee

    Lots of shouting, but when the feds show up, suddenly they start walking it back.

    That’s great — IF the Feds or any other legitimate security force shows up. If they don’t — as they didn’t in Gilberton — then things aren’t so rosy. That’s how fascists win — when no one has the guts to stand up to them, or when no one thinks they’re a problem until it’s too late.

  50. 50
    democommie

    @49:

    That’s the problem with you bedwettin’pantspoopin’ libtards! You see a conspiracy behind every single civil rights leader’s assassination, every Kristallanacht, every Pol Pot, “Takin’ back the middle ages!” popular initiative, every instance of the U.S., Russia, France and England’s just lending a hand to some beleaguered “man of the people” in any idyllic third world oil-filled shithole! You’re all paranoid!!

    Oberdouchenozzle Kessler is just doin’ his fuckin’ job and his vigilante posse are just there to make sure he gits ‘er done!

  51. 51
    caseloweraz

    @Moggie (#37): I think that was a reference to his abrasive personality.

  52. 52
    democommie

    Because the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gu….

    Ummm, mebbenot:

    “”(West End Open Space Commission executive director) Bernie Kozen bear-hugged the gunman and took him down,” Reber said. “He shot the shooter with his own gun.” (Source: http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/national/coroner-pa-gunman-tried-firing-more-shots/article_7a7a5e9d-edd2-5519-aa94-a593651185fe.html).

    I say that it’s just a cryin’ shame that either Oberdouchenozzle Kessler or one of his Pussgut Posse warn’t there to trade fire with that criminal with a gun. But, wait, maybe the guy wuzn’t a crimnul; maybe he was just achievin’ a second amendment solution to a long standing problem with the MAN’S tyranny!

    Sic Semper Fi Tyrannus!!

  53. 53
    abb3w

    @34, Raging Bee

    A distinction with VERY little real-world difference worth mentioning.

    …between low-RWA and high-RWA? On the contrary, there’s quite a lot of real world correlated differences; among others, suggesting the high-RWA are more likely to become violent if their norms are challenged. There’s also some differences in prejudice rooted in high-SDO rather than high-RWA, making the former fundamentally more tractable.

    Or did you have another distinction in mind? It wasn’t clear which you were dismissing.

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