Mayor Mary Lou Hannon of Gilberton Borough in Schuylkill County has a problem. The chief of her town's one-man police force has become an Internet sensation -- but not in a cute way like a piano-playing cat.
Unlike the subjects of other scandals of recent vintage, Mark Kessler, 41, didn't text to followers a picture of himself emerging from the shower.
He didn't tweet pictures of his genitalia like a former New York congressman who has a penchant for cheesy pseudonyms such as "Carlos Danger."
As a series of videos on YouTube make abundantly clear, Mr. Kessler would never resort to calling himself Carlos Danger. Why hide behind a nickname when you have the tacit approval of the mayor and the legal authority afforded by a badge to be as dangerous as you want to be?
The first video to earn Gilberton unwanted media attention featured the police chief in the borough's black uniform demonstrating how to shoot a clown target he named after the current U.S. House Democratic leader.
"We're gonna give two to Nancy [Pelosi], then we're gonna put two in her face," Mr. Kessler says, squeezing off shots as if it were perfectly normal for a public servant to speak openly about shooting an elected official, even in effigy.
Of course, Mr. Kessler's profanity-laced video went viral.
It may have represented a new low in what was expected of a police officer, but it made the conspiracy theorist and North Schuylkill school board member famous without ever removing his pants.
Complaints from outraged Pennsylvanians and other concerned citizens rolled into Ms. Hannon's office, but Mr. Kessler took it all in stride.
He responded to the controversy by making another video, this time ditching his police uniform and opening with an "apology" about the language used in his previous video.
When it seemed as if his head might explode from the accumulated weight of insincerity, Mr. Kessler launched an epic stream of profanity and anatomically impossible advice punctuated by M-16 gunfire.
The police chief's contempt for a large swath of the public was loud and clear.
Asked about Mr. Kessler's gun fetish and his rage at what he calls "libtards," the town's mayor responded with an official statement: "As you may already know, the Borough of Gilberton supports the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Pennsylvania Constitution, and therefore has made no law which would impede its employees' First Amendment rights.
"Anyone asking the borough to take action against the chief, when he has committed no illegal act, no violation of policy and no misuse of borough time, is asking that we establish an official political view of the borough and impose it upon one or more of our employees, which would obviously be unconstitutional.
"Each member of council, each employee and each citizen is not only entitled to their own political opinions, but also the right to express them. We will not take action to quash free speech, whether or not each member of council or any member of council agrees with it."
Taken in isolation, the mayor's interpretation of Mr. Kessler's right to be a rage-filled, gun-toting public servant is correct.
He shouldn't be punished simply because of the way he expresses himself or his gun. Besides being an officer, he has a Second Amendment right to fire off as many bullets as he can afford.
Where the mayor is derelict in her duty is in not asking tough questions about whether the police chief has the temperament to administer justice fairly in that town of nearly 900 citizens.
How can a man with such passionate hatreds carry out his duties with anything resembling objectivity?
The mayor responded to the criticism by stating that many of the town's residents feel safe knowing that Mr. Kessler is around to protect them. He answers calls at all hours and is considered very effective.
No one is challenging him for his job, which he has held for nine years, although the previous police chief called the videos he posted "appalling."
I refuse to believe that Mr. Kessler, who also said he would be willing to take up arms against the federal government at a moment's notice, is anything but an outlier.
Most police are probably mortified by his videos, too, but they won't say so openly.
It is up to the good people of Gilberton to decide whether a police chief with anger issues is really in the long-term interest of their community.
Tony Norman: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1631 or on Twitter @TonyNormanPG.