"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
With phalanx of heavily-armed supporters touting assault rifles outside, the borough council of Gilberton, Pennsylvania decided to suspend its militia-founding, “libtard”-hating, conspiracy-theorizing police chief, Mark Kessler, for using town-owned guns in a profanity-laced YouTube video that went viral.
In a closed meeting, the council voted 5-1 to suspended Kessler for 30 days, “for use of borough property for non-borough purposes without prior borough permission.” In one of the videos, the tiny town’s sole police officer used automatic weapons, which he was only legally authorized to do in his official capacity.
After the vote, there was what PennLive’s John Luciew described as an “impromptu gun rights rally,” with supporters with “all manner of firearms strapped to their belts and hanging from their shoulders.” “America’s scariest police chief,” who also hosts a radio show and frequently appears on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ airtime, has developed a small national following in far-right Second Amendment circles. “I have no regrets,” the chief told the crowd of about 100, which also included many opponents, adding that he’d be back as the town’s lawman “30 days from tonight.”
Photos of the event from the Allentown Morning Call and PennLive show a surreal scene that looks as if a media firestorm got lost on its way to cover Anthony Wiener and accidentally crashed the local militia meeting — or vice versa — with rough-looking black- and camo-clad men armed to the teeth mixed in with besuited local TV anchors. There were some women, including this one sporing high heels and a Glock, and some older men, but mostly it was young men, who looked very serious. A state police helicopter was spotted overhead, but there was no police presence on the ground — aside from Kessler.
Others rallied to say Kessler should have been fired. On man said his wife is “afraid” of the chief.
Whether he returns to being police chief or not, Kessler has likely found a following on the outer fringes of the gun rights movement and this probably isn’t the last we’ve heard of him. ”He was able to stand up above the crowd and blaze a separate path,” John Zangaro, director of Operation Constitution said.
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.More Alex Seitz-Wald.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)