Right around the time I wrote my post about Gilberton, PA Police Chief Mark Kessler, there was also a meme going around Facebook asking not to make stupid people famous. So I wondered if I–with many others–was guilty of giving this guy the spotlight, or if I was doing the right thing in drawing attention–again, along with many others–to a disconcerting phenomenon.
Yesterday, I came across an article in the Huffington Post about a woman shopping at Wal-Mart with her two-year-old son, who happened to be wearing a pink headband or hat or something. (I would create a link to it, but it has since been removed because the incident is under investigation.) This guy walks up and asks loudly if her child is a boy or a girl. She answers that he’s a boy, and the guy pulls the headband from the child’s head and cuffs his ear. And says, as he walks off, “You’ll thank me one day”.
What does this have to do with Mark Kessler? Bear with me; I’ll get there eventually.
Tonight I googled Mark Kessler just to see what happened with his suspension/termination, and I came across this article, which mentions that the mainstream media haven’t really given it much attention. Honestly, I wouldn’t know. I’ve been on vacation and we’ve had guests, so my news-watching has been spotty lately. But if it’s true, then that is kind of odd.
According to the above-linked article, Mark Kessler showed up outside a city council meeting in the local sewer plant (you just couldn’t make stuff like this up) with a large group of heavily armed guys, intimidating anyone who disagreed with his views. It mentions that he has a militia called the Constitutional Security Force and the question is put whether or not his militia could take over the Gilberton police department.
So here’s where the mainstream media could help, if it did any investigative reporting anymore. As far as I can tell, Gilberton has 700 to 800 residents. Mark Kessler is the only police officer in town. (Can you call yourself the police chief if you’re the only cop around? If so, then dang, I could’ve been calling myself the director of the school library all those years!) So, no, I don’t think a militia could take over Gilberton’s police department. They only have one vacancy.
What I would like to know is how big this militia is. If he calls himself the police chief of Gilberton, then it wouldn’t surprise me if his militia is made up of no more than a bunch of cousins.Then again, it could be big.
Either way, their name is deceptive. Mark Kessler doesn’t defend the constitution, only the one arcane part about civilians having the right be bear arms and form militias. Because he wants to form a white supremacist militia. He attracts white supremacists, like Steve Harmon, who wrote a comment on my post and who refers to him as ‘The Chief’ and ‘my hero’.
So, maybe this guy hasn’t done much that deserves the attention from mainsteam media (yet)? He’s just one of millions of cooks who put a few deranged videos on Youtube. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t hurt anyone but himself when he shot his own hand in a full barroom a year or so back. Not national news.
Nevertheless, it does seem to me that there are more of these kind of guys coming out of the woodwork–guys like Mark Kessler, Steve Harmon and that guy who hit a stranger’s toddler in Wal-Mart for wearing pink. They apparently feel enboldened by the fact that there’s not a lot of attention paid to their actions.
The Newtown school shooting was all over the news, and we’ll never know why the killer did what he did, but he could do it because he had the right to possess mass killing machines. And guys like Mark Kessler consider themselves grassroots defenders of that right. They are unstable themselves and they get other unstable individuals riled up, amassing guns and bullying “libtards” every chance they get, even if those libtards are only two years old.
I think that the media should at least keep an eye on them. Putting a dunce’s cap on them is not the same as giving them the spotlight. At least, I don’t think so. What do you think? Should the media be more of a preventive watchdog? Can the media–and that includes social media–prevent negative movements from getting too big by calling them out? Or does it make them bigger because it gives them free publicity?