GILBERTON, Pa. (AP) — Police Chief Mark Kessler expects to be fired for posting incendiary videos in which he ranted obscenely about the Second Amendment and liberals while spraying machine-gun fire with borough-owned weapons.
But Kessler, whose pro-gun videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of views online, has no intention of going away quietly.
With an Internet radio show, speaking invitations to gun rallies around the country and a newly formed "Constitution Security Force" that he claims already has chapters in 45 states, the 41-year-old coal miner-turned-cop said his message - that the federal government is too big, too powerful and wants to grab guns - is resonating with a segment of the public that believes as he does.
"The support has been overwhelming, both national and international," he said. "I find it truly amazing how many people finally said, 'You know what? This guy's right.'"
Friday is the last day of Kessler's 30-day suspension over what the Gilberton council has said was unauthorized use of the weapons. The council could decide his fate Friday night.
But if Kessler's worried about losing job, he's not showing it.
"If that's the price I got to pay for standing up for what I believe in, apparently for what a lot of Americans believe in, I'm willing to pay that price," said Kessler, speaking to The Associated Press at a gun range near Gilberton in northeast Pennsylvania.
If anything, his rhetoric has grown even more menacing.
This week, Kessler posted another potty-mouthed video in which he displayed paper targets with scary-looking clowns on them, dubbed "Eric" and "Danny." Those happen to be the first names of Council President Daniel Malloy and Vice President Eric Boxer, whom he has attacked on his website.
Patting an assault rifle, Kessler said, "This is the friend that Eric's going to meet today." After firing a volley at the target, he said, "Eric got a couple rounds to the head."
In an earlier video, Kessler savaged Secretary of State John Kerry as a "traitor" over a U.S.-backed international arms treaty. "COME AND TAKE IT!" he screamed, firing a machine gun.