What do you do when a “mob of angry protesters” breaks through the security gate to your private community and starts marching and chanting by your house while you’re sitting down to dinner with the family?
- Continue eating?
- Call the police?
- Grab a rifle?
If you are Mark and Patricia McCloskey of St. Louis, Missouri, then it’s hands down option C.
The June 28 event was captured on video and blasted across social media. The couple, both personal injury lawyers, said they were terrified by the demonstration. The family had been preparing to eat dinner on the outside patio, which faced the street where the protesters were marching. When the crowd came through the gate – there’s debate on whether they tore it down to get through or if that happened later – Mr. McCloskey told them they were on private property and to leave, then retrieved his rifle. He explained:
“This is all private property. There are not public sidewalks or public streets. We were told that we would be killed, our home burned, and our dog killed. We were all alone facing an angry mob.
“As soon as I said they were on private property, that enraged the crowd. There was then a hoard of people coming through the broken gate and the gate was broken in pieces.”
Twitter was aflutter with comments, most of them poking fun at the couple. Husband and wife could be seen holding firearms – him a rifle and her a handgun – as they defended their property. “Guess which two gun nuts were not properly trained on how to hold their guns?” one person commented. Another responded, “And he’s also pointing the rifle at his wife. Today in well-regulated white supremacist militias.”
A couple in St. Louis defend their home with a firearm after protesters enter their neighborhood
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 29, 2020
Mr. McCloskey, however, insisted that he and his wife feared for the property and their lives. Their mansion is one of the seventy-plus historic homes in the gated community. When the protesters broke through, he said it was as if they were in his living room. “It was about as bad as it could get,” he claimed. “I really thought it was storming the Bastille, that we would be dead, and the house would be burned. There was nothing we could do about it, it was a huge and frightening crowd.”
When it comes to protecting person and property, when is it okay to arm oneself? The McCloskeys obviously thought it was appropriate when faced with hundreds of protesters outside their house. Others, however, say that what they did is against the law and the pair could find themselves being charged with a crime. Don Calloway, a lawyer, asked the Missouri Bar to revoke the couple’s licenses. “A fellow lawyer from Missouri, a guy I know named Mark McCloskey committed an assault tonight in STL by pointing his AR 15 at peaceful protesters,” he tweeted. “He should be arrested and charged with assault immediately. The MO Bar should revoke their licenses.”
Kim Gardner, St. Louis circuit attorney, said her office is investigating the protest and tweeted:
“I am alarmed at the events that occurred over the weekend, where peaceful protesters were met by guns and a violent assault. We must protect the right to peacefully protest, and any attempt to chill it through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated.”
The protesters were reportedly marching to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home, demanding she resign after she released names of people who had sent in letters regarding defunding the police.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.