Missouri Governor Mike Parson (R) announced that he had pardoned 12 people, including Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who pled guilty to firearms charges following an incident in front of their home during last summer’s violent protests after the death of George Floyd.
The McCloskeys outraged black activists and Democratic radicals when they appeared on the front lawn of their house on June 28, 2020, in a viral video, brandishing their weapons at protestors. The protesters were characterized in the media as “peaceful” despite the fact that several Americans had already died in the rioting. Retired policeman David Dorn, 77, was shot to death in his pawnshop by St. Louis rioters on the morning of June 2, 2020.
Three weeks later on July 20, radical George Soros-backed St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner trumped up weapons charges against the McCloskeys. They were indicted by a grand jury in October. In a statement, Gardner said, “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.”
Mark McCloskey had a different take on the confrontation. “A mob of at least 100 smashed through the historic wrought iron gates of Portland Place, destroying them, rushed towards my home where my family was having dinner outside and put us in fear of our lives,” McCloskey, 63, told KMOV.
Threats and intimidation are perfectly alright when “peaceful protesters” are involved. But people defending their lives and property? Not so much.
The images garnered national attention, prompting President Donald Trump to speak out in defense of the couple. Trump and other Republicans considered the McCloskeys law-abiding homeowners defending their property. Others saw the couple as overly aggressive toward demonstrators.
The couple, both personal injury attorneys in their 60s, faced felony firearm charges after the display in front of their marble-faced palazzo home but ultimately pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
“As many of you know, Patty and I faced political prosecution for having the audacity to defend our lives and property from an angry mob,” McCloskey wrote in a statement. “Today we are incredibly thankful that Governor Mike Parson righted this wrong and granted us pardons.”
Attitudes toward the McCloskeys can be said to define the arguments of the opposing sides in America’s racial divide. There are those who look at the photos and video and see white oppression. It doesn’t matter that the couple was defending their property, their home, and their lives. The protesters weren’t shooting at them, so they were perfectly within their rights to scream threats.
On the other hand, the McCloskeys saw the lawlessness coming at them and believed the threat of mob violence was real, given what had happened elsewhere in St. Louis earlier in June and what was happening in cities across the country.
But shouldn’t the McCloskeys have waited for the police to arrive? Shouldn’t they have let the police handle it? In a perfect world where everyone respected the law, that might have been a viable option. But both the McCloskeys and the “peaceful” protesters weren’t living in a perfect world. And the world they were living in was narrowly defined by a media that was running with the narrative that this was a racial “reckoning” and any pushback from whites for any reason demonstrated how racist they were.
Kimberly Gardner harassed and intimidated the McCloskeys, threatening them with jail unless they agreed to plead guilty to something. Now, Governor Parsons has rightly pardoned them. But you can be sure both protesters and property owners will file this incident away so that the next time — and there will certainly be a next time — the outcome may be radically different.