Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

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July 24, 2013

Pa. police chief's profanity-laced gun rights videos draw controversy

GILBERTON, Pa. — A police chief in a small Pennsylvania town has stirred up a controversy after he posted a series of profanity-laced videos to YouTube in which he berates those who would restrict gun rights and fires off automatic weapons of his own.

In one of the videos, Gilberton Police Chief Mark Kessler targets liberals, saying, "I don’t give a f--- what you say. You can all go f--- yourselves." Another video appears to be a tongue-in-cheek "apology" for a previous video, which Salon.com reports was critical of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations, that Kessler has since deleted.

In the faux apology, Kessler tells the camera, "For all you people out there who cried and cried about (how) I used profanity, f--- you." He then fires several rounds from an automatic weapon at no particular target, and then returns and fires two more automatic weapons.

The mayor of Gilberton Borough, a tiny coal country town about 100 miles northwest of Philadelphia, said she had no plans to discipline Kessler after the videos surfaced.

"It would be terribly inappropriate to comment upon or restrict what our employees do in their free time," Mayor Mary Lou Hannon wrote in a statement, according to the Standard Speaker newspaper in Hazelton, Pa.

Kessler is the head of an armed group called the Constitutional Security Force, whose mission statement says it will "defend our Constitution (and) our country from tyranny only if needed."

He told the Standard Speaker that he didn't understand why his videos were controversial.

"Did I use some vulgar language? Absolutely. Is it my right to do that? Absolutely. It's the First Amendment. Did I fire off a gun? Absolutely. Was I shooting at anyone? I was not. That's my right under the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms," he told the paper. "Some people are just trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, as far as I'm concerned."

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

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