Mark and Patricia McCloskey didn’t ask to become famous. At least, they didn’t ask to become famous in the manner they eventually achieved their fame. Instead, they reacted to a situation that was downright insane. While their weapon-handling left much to be desired, their motivations were simple and understandable. They were trying to protect their home.
That simple and understandable act, however, has landed them smack dab in the middle of a national conversation about oh so many things.
It’s also landed them with felony charges, as of Monday.
Now, the state attorney general is stepping in to defend the St. Louis couple.
“The right to keep and bear arms is given the highest level of protection in our constitution and our laws, including the Castle Doctrine. This provides broad rights to Missourians who are protecting their property and lives from those who wish to do them harm,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Despite this, Circuit Attorney Gardner filed charges against the McCloskeys, who, according to published reports, were defending their property and safety. As Missouri’s Chief law enforcement officer, I won’t stand by while Missouri law is being ignored – that’s why I entered this case to seek its dismissal, to protect the rights of Missourians to defend their property under Missouri’s Castle Doctrine.”
The brief supporting dismissal reads, “The right to use firearms to defend one’s person, family, home, and property has deep roots in Missouri law. Self-defense is the central component of the right to keep and bear arms, which receives the highest level of protection from the Missouri Constitution. Missouri’s statutes specifically authorize Missouri citizens to use firearms to deter assailants and protect themselves, their families, and homes from threatening or violent intruders. A highly publicized criminal prosecution of Missouri citizens for exercising these fundamental freedoms threatens to intimidate and deter law-abiding Missouri citizens from exercising their constitutional right of self-defense.”
I agree with Schmitt.
Let’s be honest, these charges aren’t because the McCloskeys broke the law. They didn’t. They had ample reason to fear for their lives, so they presented firearms in hopes that it wouldn’t escalate any further. They did what any of us would have done.
The charges are politics, pure and simple. They’re the result of a district attorney trying to pander to the mob–a mob that won’t be appeased, by the way–in hopes that they’ll come for her last. The reason I say that is because, well, it’s obvious.
While the McCloskeys became something of a meme regarding their weapon-handling, the truth was that everyone who understands use of force understood why they were out there with their firearms. A mob–the kind of mob that had rampaged throughout the city, destroying property and threatening people’s lives–busted through a gate on a private street. The McCloskeys claim the first few people issued threats to them personally. All of that together creates a case where it’s clear they had reason to fear for their lives.
Schmitt’s brief to the court is a good move. So is Governor Parson’s statement that he would pardon the McCloskeys.
In other words, thankfully, these charges aren’t going anywhere. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the DA from filing them in the first place, which is how you know it was political theater and nothing else.