Kessler: New group is based on '3 percent' from Revolution
FRACKVILLE - The new militia-style group former Gilberton Police Chief Mark Kessler may feature in his developing reality TV show already has a "few thousand" members, he said.
3 Percent Boots on the Ground already has a "big chapter" in Georgia, and others are coming together in Texas, Kentucky and Louisiana, Kessler said during a press conference Monday at the office of his attorney, Joseph Nahas.
The foul-mouthed former police chief whose incendiary videos on guns and liberals led to his suspension and, last week, departure from the Gilberton force after more than 13 years, said 3 Percent Boots on the Ground will train monthly. The group, which he identifies with the acronym III% B.O.G., will require members, who will be vetted by Kessler, to supply their own fatigues, combat boots, body armor, sidearms and military-style rifles. Members will attain ranks like private, lieutenant and colonel.
"Basically, it's just a group of people who believe in the country, the Constitution and what our Founding Fathers enacted," said Kessler, 42.
Not about insurrection
Though Kessler gained a measure of Internet fame for his rants against government, he said the group, created in January, does not advocate insurrection.
"It has nothing to do with overthrowing the government, as some people would like to believe," he said. "The '3 percent' stands for the 3 percent of people who stood up and fought for their independence against the British crown back in the Revolutionary War.
"I'm about freedom, independence and the belief of what our Founding Fathers started, and the principles that our country are based on," he added.
Nahas said Kessler signed a development deal with Relativity Media, the production company behind such reality TV fare as "The Great Food Truck Race" on Food Network and Showtime's "Gigolos."
Kessler said his as-yet-untitled show would focus on his life, the 3 Percent group and another group affiliated with the former lawman, the Constitution Security Force.
Kessler and his compatriots believe the federal government is curtailing individual freedoms, but they don't advocate taking up arms against it, said Nahas, who unspooled a hypothetical scenario in which the militia could prove itself useful.
"Say there is some sort of a civil riot. Mr. Kessler's group would not be part of the individuals who are promulgating the overthrow of government," he said. "He would be on the side of trying to assist government that there isn't any kind of unruly behavior, the breaking of laws, and to be protecting his local populace from that."
Not just coal region
Members of the group from throughout the country might be incorporated into the TV show.
"You'll be able to get different looks at different aspects of different individuals, not just from the coal region, but from throughout the United States," Nahas said.
Kessler said some of the show will be filmed in the coal region. No dates have been set for filming or the airing of the show. It is in development, he said. He said he has not received any money from the company, and there is a chance the show will not go beyond the development process.
Gilberton officials suspended Kessler last year and tried to fire him after he posted videos of himself shooting borough-owned automatic weapons and cursing liberals and others. The videos garnered hundreds of thousands of views online. Kessler has acknowledged they're inflammatory but said he posted them to draw attention to the erosion of Second Amendment and other constitutional rights.
Kessler reached a settlement with Gilberton announced last week that pays him $30,000 and allowed him to retire from the force.
Kessler said he thinks daily about what he could have done differently over the past year.
"I went through a lot in the public eye and at home," he said. "I really don't know if I would have did things different."
He said one thing he learned was "to pick my friends and pick them wisely."
Kessler continues to serve as a member of the North Schuylkill School Board. Asked about those who believe he should resign because of the videos, he said, "They're entitled to their opinion."
But he has no plans to resign from the board.
"I've been serving now for two years and I've been doing a good job," he said.