The Internet is really awesome, isn’t it? If ever there was a technological breakthrough that was meant for a society built on freedom of expression, it’s the Internet. All you need is a camera, a USB cable and a YouTube account and you too can be up on the World Wide Web in no time, expressing whatever views and opinions you see fit.
You would think though that if you’re the police chief of a town in Pennsylvania you may want to exercise a little discretion in just how much blood lust, zealous fervor and wanton firing of semi-automatic gunfire you put out onto the web. Not so for Gilberton, PA police Chief Mark Kessler, whose boss is standing behind him even though a series of angry, profanity-laced tirades featuring Kessler and his guns (which he fires disturbingly into various targets mocked-up to look like famous liberals and Democrats) have cropped up on YouTube and people are understandably a little perturbed about them.
Watch. WARNING: Language NSFW or around kids
First, let me just say that I support Kessler’s right to say and do whatever the hell he wants on his own, private time. If he wants to expose to the world what a gun-loving, single-minded zealot looks like, let him have at. In fact, Kessler is doing those of us who want common sense gun law reform a favor by showing everyone what it looks like when you let your obsession with deadly weapons turn you into a vengeful and spiteful person. Secondly, I can’t speak to whether Kessler was observing all safety regulations of his local municipality. As the police chief you would hope so, but I can’t speak to that, so I’ll just assume he did and not even have a knee-jerk lefty freak out to a guy shooting guns on the Internet.
To me, this is a classic case of letting the court of public opinion handle it. Kessler clearly has pent-up rage and hostility towards liberals and Democrats. I’m not going to play armchair psychologist here, but he seems to fit the profile of the white, middle-aged, conservative American male who sees liberals and their “sinister agenda” as actual mortal enemies that must be vanquished. Of course it’s disturbing seeing him rattle off pejorative after pejorative and then fire off rounds into a clown doll made up with a sign that says “Nancy Pelosi” on it. Of course it’s over the top and over the line for someone in a position of authority, but this is also a great opportunity to exposure and education of the masses — showing them that people like this are a danger to everyone, regardless of what side of the gun control issue you find yourself on.
Those who are appalled by these videos, and I am most definitely among that group, need to simply share this video on their social media sites. The 2012 election taught us that there is actual political power in places like Facebook and Twitter. Without a doubt someone who is so clearly unable to stifle their personal political biases like Kessler has no place in a seat of power such as the chief of police of any city or town. How do we know Kessler doesn’t treat suspects or citizens he suspects of being liberals or Democrats worse than those he doesn’t?
Public pressure by way of social media might force Chief Kessler to respond to the outrage with something other than, “F*ck all you libtards out there,” or “You take it in the ass and I don’t give a f*ck what you say so you can all just go f*ck yourselves.” Clearly liberals and homosexuals in Gilberton, PA have real reason to suspect they would not get equitable treatment under the law by their police chief, and that has to be addressed.
Law enforcement has an obligation to be politically neutral in a country that is ostensibly built on mutual respect of political ideology. I’m a fan of lobbing insults with the best of them, but anyone who puts themselves in a position of authority on that level has to check their political leanings at the door. But even if you excuse away the atrocious and disturbing display and brandishing of his firearms, and even if you dismiss the incessant demagoguery of liberals and Democrats, you can’t ignore his open calls for insurrection. “I’m calling on all true Americans, all militia members, all true oath keepers to assemble, be ready to march on a tyrannical county government right here in Schuylkill county Pennsylvania,” Kessler said on his Facebook page this week. Continuing, “Democrats are the true enemy of our country, our freedoms, our constitution, along with liberal news agency’s [sic] , liberal news reporters, much like hitlers [sic] nazis [sic], time we clean these antiamerican [sic] thugs from office.”
If those aren’t open threats to sitting Democrats in office, I don’t know what are. As a writer, no one is a bigger fan of linguistic hyperbole than I am. I love taking a turn of phrase over the backside of sanity for a little good ol’ fashioned insult. What Kessler demonstrates in these YouTube and Facebook tirades is something wholly different. It’s a menacing, sneering, taunting of people who disagrees with politically, and much more disturbingly — it’s an openly threatening and hostile. Clearly Kessler needs to be relieved of his position. If you live in the area, now might be a good time to get your “civic duty” on and make some concerned citizen phone calls.
Watch the video of Kessler’s latest tirade here: