Update: Police seize AR-15 from St. Louis couple who confronted BLM marchers

By now you’ve probably heard about the St. Louis couple who brandished guns at protesters walking by their home. Some claimed on social media they’re Democrats and BLM supporters. They’re not.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey are personal injury lawyers who specialize in brain and spinal cord injury cases. These are big-money cases. They live in a former Busch family (of Budweiser money) mansion they’ve owned since 1988, in a private gated community. And,

“While some on social media have claimed the McCloskeys are registered Democrats, it was not immediately possible to determine whether the couple are actually registered as Democrats or if they are registered Republicans. But Federal Election Commission records show Mark McCloskey has contributed thousands of dollars to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, the Republican National Committee and Donald J. Trump for President Inc. He also made contributions to a Republican congressional candidate, Bill Phelps, in 1996, and to the Bush-Quayle campaign in 1992. Patricia McCloskey also made a contribution to the RNC in 2018 and to a Republican Senate dinner in 1988.”

Read story here and here.

Here’s the backstory: The protesters wanted to confront St. Louis’ mayor at her private residence about reading off protesters’ names and addresses at a public meeting. This is called “doxing,” and in these highly politicized times, this can make people a target. The mayor later apologized and said it was inadvertent, but that didn’t satisfy this group of protesters.

(Of course, being a public official can make someone a target, too; and I’m against demonstrating at the private homes of public officials. I also oppose confronting public figures on commercial airplanes (this happened to Ivanka Trump), in restaurants, or other private settings. No matter how contentious politics gets, we need to keep it civilized, and even public figures have a right to be left alone in their private lives and especially at home.

The McCloskeys live in a private gated community. The protesters weren’t targeting them; they were walking through it to the mayor’s home. They tore down and damaged a wrought iron gate at the entrance to the gated community, and trespassed on private property (but not the McCloskey’s yard), although some apparently believed (wrongly) they were in a public street. A few of the protesters had guns, but didn’t threaten anybody. When the McCloskeys confronted them, some used vulgar language and/or made vulgar gestures (see photo above).

The McCloskeys came out of their house to tell the protesters to leave, went back inside, then came out again with guns; in some photos, Mrs. McCloskey is seen pointing a handgun at protesters with her finger on the trigger (demonstrating she knows nothing about handling firearms).

Now, I think the protesters were in the wrong. But should the McCloskeys have pulled guns on them? Different people will answer that question in different ways. In general, the law allows you to defend yourself with deadly force only if a reasonable person in the same circumstances would believe he was in imminent danger of death or grave bodily harm. In short, you can defend yourself, but you can’t shoot people for trespassing, unless they break into your house.

The McCloskeys claim they were afraid. But these were merely peaceful protesters walking past their house going somewhere else. None of their neighbors felt similarly threatened, or came outside with guns drawn. If they were afraid, wouldn’t they be safer inside? In the photos, do they look afraid or angry? So I wonder, were the McCloskeys motivated by fear, or something else — say, animosity toward the protests? All we really know is they’re Trump supporters. And Trump doesn’t like the anti-police brutality protests; he has threatened and attacked protesters. Did they take a cue from Trump?

If it were me, I would have handled this in some other way; like, for instance, calling the cops — that’s what 911 is for. In any case, Mark and Patricia McCloskey are now famous, whether they want to be or not.

Update: Police seized the AR-15 from the McCloskeys’ home under a search warrant on Friday, July 10, 2020, but didn’t find the handgun.

Huffington Post says the McCloskeys “have a reputation as obnoxious neighbors who have … sued neighbors … and asserted ‘squatters’ rights’ on common neighborhood property” that apparently was “part of the land they claimed to be guarding with their firearms” when they confronted the BLM marchers, and Mark McCloskey claimed to have previously pulled a gun on a for neighbor cutting through that property. Read story here.

The St. Louis Dispatch dug into their background and found that “public records and interviews … show the McCloskeys are almost always in conflict with others …. They filed a lawsuit in 1988 to obtain their house …, sued neighbors … [,] a former employer[,] … and his sister, father and his father’s caretaker …. They sued a man who sold them a Maserati … a dog breeder …. In 2013, he destroyed bee hives placed just outside of the mansion’s northern wall by the neighboring Jewish Central Reform Congregation and left a note saying he did it, and if the mess wasn’t cleaned up quickly he would seek a restraining order and attorneys fees. The congregation had planned to harvest the honey and pick apples from trees on its property for Rosh Hashanah. ‘The children were crying in school,’ Rabbi Susan Talve said. ‘It was part of our curriculum.'” In short, they seem to be the proverbial neighbors from hell. Read story here.

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  1. Mark Adams #

    The couple are homeowners in a private community. They are the privileged. They are not being at all silly or unreasonable in confronting the mob like they did. Maybe it was not a mob yet, but it did not become one on their yard and they were prepared to defend themselves. It is impossible to know if the mob could have turned their ire upon this white couple of privilege. They are what the movement despises. If the mob continues on the course it is on like the revolution in France it will be to turn up at homes and drag owners out to be executed. It will be like the 1920s in Germany with the Communists and NAZIs in the streets and eventually the NAZIs actually won. Maybe a few German jews or citizens in their yard with guns might have caused a different future in Germany. NO one will ever know. Still the current marches are either going to run out of steam or become more violent…we are already close to 1968 levels of violence. It does not look like there can be simultaneously a summer of love in San Francisco as the east is filled with rage and fire. IN this case guns worked in getting the protestors to take their protest to easier locations. The Mayor of Saint Louis might well have been wanting to do a little gun waving. Though most likely she had a few of Missouri’s finest state police about, and these days you just don’t know when the police will show up.

  2. Roger Rabbit #

    Defend themselves from what? A group of people walking past their house? Is that what you consider a “mob” calling for gun violence? It would be hard to find more perfect examples of blindness to the racism in our society, you and the McCloskeys. Across America, white police are murdering black people; how should the black community react to this? Keep quiet and let it continue? I’m not defending the trespass or property damage, or this protest — they should have accepted the mayor’s apology and moved on — but for crying out loud keep it in perspective. The McCloskeys overreacted. Why are you unable to see that? If you’re going to insist protesters be perfect, then you should also insist these homeowners and the police behave perfectly, too. Comparing the BLM protests to Nazis and Communists is over the top and repulsive. Something is wrong with your thought process there.

  3. Roger Rabbit #

    This couple has quite a history. See update at the bottom of the article.

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