Lawyers, Guns, and Indictments: Mark and Patricia McCloskey

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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86 Responses

  1. Avatar Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    If they actually tampered with the gun to change the outcome they at least need to be disbarred.Report

  2. Avatar Aaron
    Ignored
    says:

    Putting the pieces together, the accusation appears to be that in order to try to dodge a charge of exhibiting a firearm, the McCloskeys tampered with the gun to make it appear inoperable.

    > 571.030. Unlawful use of weapons
    >
    > A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons, except as otherwise provided by sections 571.101 to 571.121, if he or she knowingly:…
    >
    > (4) Exhibits, in the presence of one or more persons, any weapon readily capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner….Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      That assumes the gun was tampered with after the fact, rather than incorrectly re-assembled before the incident.

      I think that is the hurdle the DA has to cross, given there is no evidence (AFAIK) that the weapon was actually fired during the incident, or in the time between the incident and the authorities taking possession of the weapon.

      I watched that video and their weapon handling was… atrocious doesn’t quite cut it. Wouldn’t surprise me if they incorrectly reassembled a firearm and never realized it was done wrong. The DA is going to have to show that these people know what they are doing and that it is more likely they reassembled the firearm that way intentionally, rather than ignorantly.Report

      • Avatar George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        The reason the gun was non-operable is that it was evidence in another case, and people aren’t allowed to bring functioning guns into a court room. So the guns used as evidence are rendered inoperable. Her gun had the firing pin flipped around backwards, to turn it into a courtroom prop, and that’s how it was when she grabbed it on the day in question.

        When the police lab discovered this, they told the DA that her gun wasn’t operable, and the DA ordered the lab to “fix it” so the charges against Mrs McClosky would stick. Someone at the lab tattled, and that got the prosecutors in deep, deep trouble, because rigging evidence to frame someone is frowned upon very severely by the courts.

        So apparently they told the grand jury that the lab was just “restoring” the gun to the condition it must’ve been in before Mrs. McCloskey tampered with it. That argument will get destroyed in about 5 minutes in court.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        Oscar,

        Can you clarify what is meant by reassemble? Like, are you thinking they bought a gun in pieces and put it together wrong? This is an area of ignorance for me so I’m hoping you can shed some light.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon
          Ignored
          says:

          You want to do a deep cleaning on a firearm, you take it apart. Most firearms can be disassembled without much in the way of tools (might need a screwdriver or small needle nose pliers for a full takedown). However, if you aren’t careful with how things came apart, it’s easy to put it back together wrong. A person experienced with taking firearms apart wouldn’t make such a mistake, but someone else…

          Now if George is correct up above, and the firearm was intentionally assembled in a non-functioning state previous to the incident, then the DA will have to prove that they saw the crowd coming, took the sidearm out, pulled it apart, put it back together in a functioning state, threatened a bunch of people with it, then made in non-functioning again.

          Within the realm of possibility? Sure. But the DA has to prove it, not just claim it’s possible.Report

          • Avatar George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            Here’s the story on that from 5 On Your Side.Report

          • Avatar veronica d
            Ignored
            says:

            If that is true, then every single armed robber can just take his gun apart after the crime and now face a lesser charge. That seems pretty far fetched.Report

            • Avatar George Turner
              Ignored
              says:

              It wouldn’t help them much in court, other than convincing a jury that they were an armed robber, and not a very bright one at that.

              Better strategies they pursue are “not getting caught” and “ditching the weapon”.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon
              Ignored
              says:

              Well, no, because committing a crime with an unloaded/broken/fake firearm is still a crime committed with a gun, because the victim doesn’t know it’s not loaded/broken/fake.

              In this case, the issue is not was she waving a gun around (functional or otherwise), it’s did she alter the firearm AFTER waving it around (tampering with evidence). The DA has to show that the weapon was rendered non-functional after the incident in question, and if the McCloskeys can show that the weapon was rendered non-functional before the incident (like it was presented as evidence in court the week prior, or something), then the DA has to have some rock solid evidence to counter that (like video that it was fired sometime after it was rendered non-functional and before the DA took custody of it).Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                According to wiki, George is correct.

                Now let’s add to that:
                On July 29, 2020, the McCloskeys’ attorney, Joel Schwartz, filed a motion to disqualify Kimberly Gardner, Circuit Attorney, and her office from pursuing the case.

                The motion stated that Gardner should not be allowed to prosecute their case because Gardner had sent out campaign literature which referenced the charges against the McCloskeys, before any charges were actually brought against the McCloskeys.

                Gardner’s campaign literature was for the Democratic primaries; the winner is the presumptive circuit attorney for the next four years. In one email, Gardner’s campaign literature read: “You might be familiar with the story of the couple who brandished guns during a peaceful protest outside of their mansion” and “…President Trump and the Governor are fighting for the two who pointed guns at peaceful citizens…”

                The literature contained links to donate to her re-election campaign.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg
      Ignored
      says:

      There appears to be a trespassing exception here. To my naive reading, a communally owned private road seems to be a bit of a gray area.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      > 571.030. Unlawful use of weapons
      >
      > A person commits the offense of unlawful use of weapons, except as otherwise provided by sections 571.101 to 571.121, if he or she knowingly:…
      >
      > (4) Exhibits, in the presence of one or more persons, any weapon readily capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner….”

      I would say that those are BS charges, as the weapon use stemmed from being threatened by one of the deadlines weapons known to man – The Mob. And we have seen the violence and destruction that weapon has caused in the last few months.

      Atrocious handling aside, I feel they were absolutely justified in the specific use of them.Report

  3. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    All this because they were incapable of resolving a situation without their gunz.

    But they should consider themselves lucky I guess, since no one in the crowd stood their ground and defended themselves with another gun.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine
      Ignored
      says:

      Yes, mobs are so notorious for being able to be reasoned with.

      I mean, why didn’t they invite them to rochambeau to see if they would burn down their house or not?Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        Or, they could do what I did when a mob was outside of my house, and talk to them.
        I didn’t need a gun and no one ended up hurt.Report

        • Avatar Aaron David
          Ignored
          says:

          You got lucky. This guy didn’t:

          BLM mob beats white man unconscious after making him crash truck: video
          https://nypost.com/2020/08/17/blm-mob-beat-white-man-unconscious-after-making-him-crash-truck/Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            Ah.
            “I saw a video of a bunch of Trumpists beating a guy, so now if I see a Trumpist like the McCloskys I will point my gun at them.”

            There might be a flaw in this logic somewhere.Report

            • Avatar Aaron David
              Ignored
              says:

              If the Trumpists are running around, setting buildings on fire and beating people, and then it comes out that over 20 people have died due to this, and then they start to threaten you? You might have a case then, but it will have to get past a jury. I mean, there would be video all over the place to help prove your case that we could all see, no?

              But we really haven’t seen that, have we?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Wait, you’re saying the McCloskeys weren’t allowed to point their guns unless they were being threatened?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                (a vision from the future)

                “Trespassing isn’t *NECESSARILY* threatening!”

                (another vision from the future)

                “We’ve already established that trespassing isn’t threatening!”

                (yet another vision from the future)

                “I don’t know why you keep bringing up the people engaging in free speech and peaceful assembly when we’re talking about people brandishing weapons.”Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                “Trespassing isn’t *NECESSARILY* threatening!”

                The McCloskeys claim some of the trespassers were armed and made threats after they came out.

                I think there’s fairly strong support for the armed part in wiki and the “threats” part is he-said-she-said… but come on. I think we can assume “threats” as well.

                Edited to add from wiki: On July 30, 2020, 5 On Your Side news published an article stating that the lead St. Louis police detective investigating the McCloskey case had refused to sign at least two versions of court documents which were drafted by the prosecutors. The news agency claimed they had obtained and reviewed these draft court documents. The court documents show that police had reviewed videos taken June 28 during the incident, and police had contended that at least one person in the protester crowd was armed and another was wearing a bullet-resistant vest.[24]Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                The intensifying protests are 93% good faith!

                …I bet you’re a real mannerist fan.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      How did they know they mob didn’t have guns somewhere? How did they know they wouldn’t be killed by “mob justice?” Did the woman know she wouldn’t be raped?Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        That’s what I was alluding to.

        Suppose someone in the crowd did have a gun, and saw the McCloskys pointing a gun at him, and decided to defend himself?Report

        • Avatar Aaron David
          Ignored
          says:

          You don’t get to “defend” when you are the one breaking the law.

          Trespassing is breaking the law. A mob is a deadly weapon.Report

          • Avatar Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            And once again we are at “mob” with all its emotional and psychological connotations being intentionally substituted for “Protestors.”

            Remind me – were you ok when Kaepernick took his knee?Report

          • Avatar Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            “A mob is a deadly weapon.”

            It’s amazing to me that this type of incoherence is accepted as “reasonable” anymore.Report

            • Avatar Aaron David
              Ignored
              says:

              How many instances of mobs violence and killing would make you see that the fear is reasonable?

              https://thewire.in/caste/maharashtra-two-dalit-men-killed-in-mob-violence-in-jalna-family-demands-cbi-probe

              https://themuslimvibe.com/muslim-current-affairs-news/islamophobia-news-stories/anti-muslim-mob-violence-kills-35-in-new-delhi

              We have had violence against sitting senators like Rand Paul, a mob member shot and killed a man in Portland recent, women have been raped by mobs, set on fire, we have had lynchings… The list goes on forever.

              But you don’t like my discourse.

              Fucking unrealReport

              • Avatar Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Really, mobs in India is your intellectual defense? Really?

                The rest of us aren’t talking about mobs in general in world history – we are talking about a group of protestors in St. Louis and whether they were threatening to two rich, armed white people.

                Great attempt at intellectually shallow deflection though.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                Quoting myself:

                We have had violence against sitting senators like Rand Paul, a mob member shot and killed a man in Portland recent, women have been raped by mobs, set on fire, we have had lynchings… The list goes on forever.

                Did you just skip over that? Have you not paid attention to the United States over the last few months?

                Mobs killing and maiming and raping is a worldwide problem. So, yes, I am mentioning India, just as I mentioned violence in the US, just like I mentioned violence in Portland. Mob violence is universal, and trying to whitewash is it pathetic.Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Maybe they’ll kind of get it if you prefix “mob” with “lynch”?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Your logic seems to be “I see a group of people in front of my house protesting. Groups of people elsewhere have caused harm.
                So I pointed a gun at them.”

                This seems incredibly arbitrary- Would it matter if they were Trump protesters or Biden protesters?

                Would it matter if they looked like BLM protesters but turned out to be anti-mask protesters?Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Juries cut right through that kind of nonsense when they examine whether the fears would seem reasonable to an ordinary person.

                To convict in a case like this, you have to get 12 jurors to unanimously agree that the fears were unfounded. Good luck with that.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                No, and I have been very clear on this. They perceived the mob as a credible threat. Notice how I have cited multiple cases of mob violence, both in general and the BLM riots in particular. Notice that this mob has trespassed and was directly threatening the couple.

                No matter how you try to slice and dice this situation, it is clear that they perceived a well-documented and credible threat. Nothing arbitrary here. The McCloskeys didn’t go back after the mob and to those peoples homes and trespass and threaten. They responded to a mob at their home.

                Have anti-mask protesters burned anything? Looted anything? Murdered anyone?

                Had the BLM riots stayed as peaceful protests then you would have a point. But they did not. These BLM mobs have burned buildings. They have looted. They have murdered.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                How was anyone “directly threatening” the McCloskeys?

                When I see a truckload of Trump fans point guns at me, does that qualify as “directly threatening” me?Report

              • Avatar Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t know the specifics of the story, but what would make you comfortable with the scenario? What’s the amount of threat that would justify pulling a gun?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                What’s interesting is that I can’t tell if you are asking about the McCloskeys, or the truckloads of gun-toting Trump supporters.

                Which is a good thing, right? We should have some consistent standards of when deadly force can be used.

                In both cases, I think pointing guns at unarmed people who haven’t made a specific threat is unjustified.
                And if you do escalate things like that, the other side is justified in defending themselves.

                Which once again argues for more restriction on gun use, for de-escalation over confrontation.Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Back prior to the 70’s, when a black person saw a mob of white-robed and hooded figures on their lawn, do you think they could make a case that they felt directly threatened?

                If a group of violent vandals is trespassing and tearing up your property, you are allowed to run them off at gunpoint. In some situations you would be allowed to shoot them.

                What this defense behavior does is keep people from vandalizing each others property, or from robbing each other all day long. It keeps arson and looting from taking hold. Evolution spent hundreds of thousands of years wiring us to go nuts on transgressors, as a way of keeping transgressions to a minimum.

                When we started writing down laws, we made sure to include that behavior because it’s so darn natural and useful, and in any event can’t really be avoided because everybody is wired to do it anyway.

                It’s why white drunk frat boys don’t rule over us by just showing up, getting loud, and breaking all our stuff. If they get out of hand some old lady will just shoot a few of them and restore calm and tranquility.

                But unfortunately, the instinct to defend our property competes with another primitive human behavior, one we try to eliminate, which is that of young stupid people who think raping, pillaging, and looting is a way to demonstrate their dominance (and thus their genetic fitness). They get drunk on the power of the mob, and go out to raid an enemy tribe, drive them off, claim all their property, and rape their women in an orgy of anger and violence.

                If you allow that behavior to take hold, even a little bit, you quickly get a whole lot of it. Everybody regresses back to tribal warfare, and soon everybody becomes corpses or homeless refugees until order is restored by a brutal warlord.

                We’ve seen this happen so often that we passed laws that let us shoot looters on sight. The failure to do that (aside from Kyle) is why we’ve seen so much arson, destruction, and murder these past few months, proving that our earlier analysis of the problem, and the simplest, surest solution of shooting looters, was probably correct.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                Chip, I have shown, time and again, how mob violence has damaged, burned, and killed. But you keep trying the same line of thought, that this mob is… something, something that it hasn’t been since time immemorial.

                At this point, it is just sad.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                So you’re also speaking about the mob of Trump supporters in trucks, right?Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                People in trucks aren’t a mob, by definition of “mob”. A large number of people in vehicles could be called a convoy, perhaps, or the 105 on days that end in ‘y’, but the law doesn’t address “convoy violence”.

                mob: a large crowd of people, especially one that is disorderly and intent on causing trouble or violence. “a mob of protesters”

                crowd: a large number of people gathered together in a disorganized or unruly way.
                “a huge crowd gathered in the street outside”.

                The word comes from Latin “mobile vulgus”, mobile crowd.Report

              • Avatar Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                There’s also a mob of kangaroos. I think trucks are a pack or a gaggle.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                So, did the Trumps in trucks set anything on fire?

                Did they loot any stores?

                Did they kill anyone?

                In other words, how much of a threat have they shown to be?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Did the protesters in front of the McCloskey house set anything on fire?

                Did they loot any stores?

                Did they kill anyone?

                In other words, how much of a threat have they shown to be?Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                They tore through a large iron gate, indicating a willingness and determination to carry out not-good-things. Combine that with the same chants that have fueled extreme violence in so many cities, and yeah, a reasonable person would regard them as very threatening.

                It’s kind of like Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend. When people break down the front door, you don’t necessarily have to rule out that they’re there to deliver free pizza before you take action.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                And, once again, I have to relate all of the fires, looting, and murders that BLM rioters have done. They have a proven record of those things. This is known. This is a cold, hard fact.

                And around and around we keep going…Report

              • Avatar Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                And, once again, I have to relate all of the fires, looting, and murders that BLM rioters have done.

                And once again, we have to remind you that just because two things occur together in time and space does not mean they are related. The vast, vast majority of people protesting systemic racism and police brutality are and have been peaceful. In spite of a great deal of purposeful escalation by the police.

                That you refuse to acknowledge the difference – just as these two over priviledged white people did – says more about your moral compass than anything else.Report

              • Avatar Pinky
                Ignored
                says:

                What about the people tearing down a fence on your personal property? Should we assume that they’re peaceful, or does the fact that they’re actually committing acts of violence enter into it? Even discounting the claims that the crowd was shouting threats – and we have no reason to discount that claim – the people in this particular mob weren’t peaceful.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                And once again, we have to remind you that just because two things occur together in time and space does not mean they are related.

                True, but they are associated, and it is reasonable, in a moment, to be afraid that a mob that breaks down a gate and trespasses on private property is not here to convince you their cause is just.

                It would be great if they weren’t associated, but they are, fairly or not (we can probably thank the media for that).

                I mean, I support the protests, but if I was driving down the street and saw the march coming, I would find a very wide detour to take, I have no faith that such a protest does not have violent provocateurs in it’s ranks, and we’ve had some rather lengthy discussions on this site about the psychology of a mob and how easy it is to devolve rapidly.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Should I relate all the examples of rightwing violence of running people down in cars?

                Not the Trumpists in trucks, of course.

                But guys who looked just like them, and belonged to the same team!

                And that’s good enough, right?Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                There hasn’t been very much of that. The girl killed in Seattle was run over by an African immigrant who probably didn’t even know the road was closed. Most of the other incidents occurred when panicked people were fleeing violent crowds.

                In an incident in Texas, a Trump supporter shot a protester, but the protester happened to be approaching the vehicle with a raised AK-47.

                On the other side of the equation, a BLM’er was charged with multiple counts of attempted vehicular homicide for speeding into a crowd of Trump supporters.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                And again, have the Trumps gone to anyone’s house, breaking through an iron gate to threaten homeowners?

                Have the Trumps burned, looted, and murdered? And have they done this repeatedly, across the united states?

                You can be afraid of anyone you want, Chip. But if you do point a weapon you will have to go in front of a jury and explain yourself. And, frankly, I haven’t been shown one single thing by you warranting the behavior that you keep trying to insinuate. But we have seen the video of BLM and Antifa blocking traffic, stopping cars, pulling out the drivers and beating them. We have seen a video of rioters burning and looting.

                Maybe some video would do it, Chip.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “But if you do point a weapon you will have to go in front of a jury and explain yourself.”

                Uh, I think its the McCloskeys who need to do this.

                And maybe some video of those protesters in front of their house burning and looting and beating would help their case.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                Chip, they are going in front of a jury, no one is saying that they shouldn’t.

                What we are saying is that they have a reasonable case, and we are telling you why. That you choose to disbelieve facts that will be presented by a defense lawyer is on you.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Flag on the play, you are conflating things. Answer the damn question as stated:

                How many protests associated with BLM/Antifa/protests of police violence have resulted in violence and significant property damage?

                How many of the pro-Trump/pro-police protestors have been associated with violence and significant property damage?

                You don’t get to move from a general claim to a specific claim and back.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                (are you asking me a question, Oscar?)Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                That was to Chip, sorryReport

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                No worries. It can get a little confusing when down in the weeds.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Oscar-
                If a man is pointing a gun at me from a truck, am I supposed to think that because not all that many* people flying his flag have committed violence, this is not a credible threat to my life?

                Vice versa, if you see people marching in the street, does that just automatically become a “credible threat” to your life?
                Shouldn’t a threat have a slightly higher bar than just that?
                Shouldn’t the McCloskeys have to show some actual threat, instead of “Ermagerd, black folks!”

                This is what I mean by how the rules for gunplay are absurdly arbitrary, and dependent upon everyone’s bias and prejudice, expanding and contracting like an accordion depending on which team we are talking about.

                *But hey, as long as we are talking about well-earned reputations for violence;
                https://www.csis.org/analysis/escalating-terrorism-problem-united-states

                The biggest credible threat of violence is not BLM, but rightwing groups.Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                If a person points a gun at you from a truck, and you didn’t somehow provoke him in such a way as to give him a justification for doing so, get the license plate number and send him to jail, because what he did was illegal.

                Secondly, the CSIS analysis is garbage from deep inside a bubble.

                On June 3, 2020, federal authorities arrested three individuals allegedly associated with the “boogaloo” movement, a loosely-organized group of extremists preparing for a civil war, for conspiring to cause violence in Las Vegas and possessing an improvised incendiary device.

                That happens about every 20 minutes on an average night in Portland.

                Around the same time, members of a Brooklyn anarchist group urged its supporters to conduct “rebellion” against the government

                Anarchists are left-wing, in with anarcho-syndicalists, and to the left of the communists.

                First, right-wing terrorism refers to the use or threat of violence by sub-national or non-state entities whose goals may include racial or ethnic supremacy; opposition to government authority; anger at women, including from the incel (“involuntary celibate”) movement; and outrage against certain policies, such as abortion.

                “Opposition to government authority.” Hrm… That would be CHAZ/CHOP, BLM, and Antifa. Lumping them in as right wing would certainly skew the results. Just to net the Bundys in their definition, they’ve had to let in all the left wing groups.

                “Anger at women” and “incels”. Hrm… How does being pissed off at your girlfriend or striking out in college make somebody right wing?

                By their definition, the Weathermen and Charles Manson were right wing terrorists.

                For examples of right wing terrorists they list “Brenton Tarrant, the Christchurch shooter in New Zealand.” He was a crazy environmentalist who supported the Chinese Communist Party. Pretty hard to place him on the right, but CSIS managed to do it.

                They also lump national socialists on the right, despite the glaring word “socialist” in the name. As an example, they cite the Atomwaffen Division, which calls itself an “ideological band of comrades”. “Comrades” is a socialist/communist term. In their videos, they burn copies of the US Constitution and the American Flag, just like Antifa. Among their heroes are Charles Manson, Osama Bin Laden, and the ISIS member who shot up the Orlando nightclub. They advocate for lawlessness, anarchy, and the overthrow of the US government. Those are not remotely right-wing views.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Again, you are conflating.

                How many news reports are you hearing about Trumpists pointing guns at people?

                How many news reports are there about protests turning into riots and property being set afire and people being seriously hurt or killed?

                Let’s take your go to example here, the guy in the truck. If they are truly driving down a public street where you have every right to be, and they point a gun at you, and there is no other compelling reason for them to do so (like you waving a gun at them, or you being part of a crowd that surrounds the truck), then yes, you are within your right to shoot him. Brandishing a firearm and pointing it at a specific person is legally assault with a deadly weapon and you can reply in kind (if there is no duty to retreat).

                As for you other hypothetical, no, people marching down a public street are not a threat, regardless of skin color. However, if those people break down a private gate and cross into a private neighborhood, and trespass upon private land, that question gets a bit stickier.

                Like others here, I’m not saying the McCloskeys were being smart, but they were within their rights to brandish firearms on their private property. I can walk around my house and yard all day long carrying a firearm, as long as I don’t point it at anyone.

                Pointing those weapons at people… that needs more context. Were those people actually on their property? Were they representative of a reasonable threat? I’d have to go watch the videos again and see if I could suss that out. There is a line between brandishing and pointing a weapon, and one needs to be very clear about things when one does that.

                All that said, I think the DA is trying a stinker of a case. Nobody was right here. The protesters were wrong to go through that gate, the McCloskeys were wrong to point firearms at people, just all kinds of wrong all around. I doubt a jury will convict.

                But to your overall point, the rules actually are very clear. The enforcement of said rules is often not.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                The conflation is meant as a comparison, to set consistent rules.

                And I agree with you, that context and details matter, a lot.

                Which is why any assertion of a credible threat to life demands a strong set of facts, not just “Well, I felt afraid”.

                Which is also why I am vehement about people not just open carrying guns everywhere because the difference between “pointing at the ground” and “brandishing”, is the difference between “Not a threat to life” and “A clear threat to life” which turns every encounter into a life-threatening situation where a human life hangs in the balance of the nuance of body posture and expression.

                As I said way back at the beginning, all of this because they couldn’t think of any other alternative than to play gunslinger, and they were lucky no one in the crowd wanted to play along.

                Because honestly if it ended in a shootout, a jury would be hard pressed to sort out who was in the wrong.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Your comparison is Cougars to Bobcats. Yes, both are wild cats, both are dangerous, but not too many people are dead from a Bobcat attack. Cougars, on the other hand…

                So it is reasonable to see a crowd of BLM/etc. protestors break into your neighborhood and be greatly concerned enough to load up the firearms. Just like it’s reasonable to get the gun if a Cougar is pacing around your yard, while a Bobcat can be safely ignored.

                Seriously, at this point, given the media reporting, that is reasonable. Heading outside to confront them, rather than parking your ass at an upstairs window and keeping an eye on things, is where we start to leave reasonable. If it was illegal, well…

                Luckily we have trials and juries for that.

                PS I agree with you regarding openly carrying long guns in your hands. If you must, it should be attached to a sling, on your back. No mistakes in intent possible.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                In this analogy, BLM is the bobcat, and rightwing groups are the cougar.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The cops are the cougar. The bobcats merely did property damage.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Which protests are associated with violence and property damage. The BLM protests had fires, and violence. The BLM protestors don’t need to be the ones doing the arson and violence in order for it to be associated with their protests.

                If you want the right-wing protests and counter protests to fall into a similar category, you have to show that they are having the same association issue. FBI reports on what amounts to lone wolf operators are not equivalent to right wing protests burning down neighborhoods and dragging people out of their vehicles for a beating.Report

              • Avatar Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                They repeatedly and in an unprovoked fashion shot counter protestors with pepper balls. They carried firearms. they have run into crowds of people in other places. But I’m sure they are all fine people just defending their property.Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m surprised the police union hasn’t filed a grievance against them for trying to steal jobs from law enforcement. ^_^Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Pepper Balls? Really. I’ve seen reports of the police doing that, and I’ve seen one report of a clash in Portland where pepper spray and paint balls were exchanged.

                One.

                Perhaps the media is not reporting on this?Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            Sure you do. We’ve discussed this at length here in fact.

            Besides, the McCloskys were the ones breaking the law, remember?Report

            • Avatar Aaron David
              Ignored
              says:

              Using that logic, the McCloskeys are in the right then!

              But no, the reality of SYG is that it changes, back and forth as someone changes from aggressor to defender. And how that plays out is what we determine in a court of law. The DA can charge all sorts of things, doesn’t mean the charges are applicable or legal, and the jury can laugh at it even then.Report

    • Avatar greginak
      Ignored
      says:

      What has always amazed me about the defenses of the McC’s is if you want them to be safe from THE MOB, which is completely fair, their own actions put themselves at the most risk. If they feared the people on the street outside the safest course of action was to
      Put on shoes
      Lock all doors/windows
      Turn off all lights
      Go upstairs to your designated safe room. Lock doors.
      Get the guns out
      Monitor the crowd from the security cams
      Have the wife call the police with the “we’re rich white people and are in danger!!!!!” tact
      Put some shoes on
      Stay away from the windows. Don’t draw attention or even be noticed.

      That would be safe. Going outside only raised their risk. So they were either very stupid about protecting their safety which people are sometimes or were more focused on aggressively threatening people who were not threatening them. Even if they were trespassing, that is not threatening.Report

      • Avatar George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        Some Korean shop owners would like to explain some things about property rights. We have so many laws protecting property rights because defending property is deeply embedded human nature. This very strongly-driven behavior seems to start at least by age three, and it makes civilization possible.Report

        • Avatar Philip H
          Ignored
          says:

          Defending life is also deeply engrained in human behavior. Its the reason that so many Americans took to the street after the state murdered Mr. Floyd and why they still march. We also have a ton of laws protecting life, but they seem to be applied in subservience to protecting property in many places.Report

          • Avatar George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            Yeah, the Germans were all into that, protesting the heinous political murder of Horst Wessel. They wrote a song about him that they played at all their protest marches. In truth he was probably killed in a rent dispute gone bad.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        This.

        Maybe this is my own privilege leaking through, but I’m kind of indifferent to these folks. They shouldn’t have done what they did for a host of reasons, better explained hear by Greg and alluded to above by Oscar (e.g., their atrocious gun handling). But I don’t think they should be prosecuted for any crimes. Well, maybe the tampering one if they really did that but that only stems from the initial charges themselves.

        It isn’t totally unreasonable for someone to brandish a weapon in the situation they found themselves in. But it is pretty stupid for them to have done so given they had many, better options available to them.Report

        • Avatar InMD
          Ignored
          says:

          This is also my view. Firearms are the last line of defense not props. They made asses of themselves, tagging each other, holding a pistol like a blow dryer, coming outside with weapons in the first place. So many rules violated. But I don’t think they should be prosecuted and don’t see the point of doing so.

          If any of the rioters had tried to enter their home I wouldn’t care a lick if they’d been shot. That hadn’t happened yet and it isn’t responsible to jump the gun like they did, no pun intended.Report

          • Avatar greginak
            Ignored
            says:

            I think some prosecution is warranted because we dont’ want people escalating interactions especially with guns. Pointing guns at people is bad unless you are directly defending yourself and didn’t escalate the conflict to the point you needed to point your gun. They were safe but made violence more likely with their actions.Report

  4. Avatar InMD
    Ignored
    says:

    So many of these comments are deranged. There is no such thing as group responsibility or collective guilt or whatever you want to call it.

    The McCloskeys own their conduct, not the conduct of anyone else. So too do the people tearing down their property. They own what they did, but no one else does. Anyone claiming otherwise, whether they intend it or not, is engaging in an unprincipled justification of violence based on nothing more than personal feelings about those involved. This kind of thinking is the enemy. Would that we could reject it across the board.Report

    • Avatar George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      Well, just go by what the St Louis protester had done in that month. One murdered a former police St Louis police captain, who was black, and left him dead on the street in front of the store he was trying to protect from looters. That same night protesters shot four policemen during violent riots (link).

      The mob of 500 angry protesters who broke down the gate and went past the McCloskey’s home were there to intimidate the mayor of St Louis. Mass violence had been going on all month, and continues today. Just a couple weeks ago police were making arrests of protesters who’d once again tried to burn down a police building.

      **** in case the blockquote function is still on the Fritz ****

      Around 7:30 p.m. over 100 pedestrians and numerous vehicles began blocking traffic and closing intersections in downtown St. Louis. Police said the group moved to City Hall and breached the protective barriers around 9 p.m. before marching to police headquarters.

      Once the group got to police headquarters, police said they breached multiple layers of protective barricades that were in place to protect the building’s front doors. According to police, some members of the crowd piled debris near the doors and used an unknown accelerant to start multiple fires against the building’s exterior.

      ****

      The hundreds of people at the McCloskey’s house could be reasonably believed to have a large overlap with the people doing almost all of the extremely violent protesting in St Louis. That’s where the jury listens to the testimony and decides whether the McCloskey’s fears were “reasonable”, largely based on how any normal person might feel when faced with the same circumstances.Report

      • Avatar InMD
        Ignored
        says:

        Do you get paid by the non sequitur or something?Report

        • Avatar George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          The McCloskey’s weren’t reacting to some obscure tribal conflict going on in Afghanistan, or not, they were reacting to the environment going on in St Louis over the prior month, and specifically on that day the one in their neighborhood where a mob of 500 people were trying to intimidate the mayor via threats, explicit or not, of chaos and destruction.Report

          • Avatar InMD
            Ignored
            says:

            None of that gives them a right to escalate. They aren’t the mayor’s body guards. The right thing to do is lock the deadbolt and hunker down. If someone breaks in it’s a different story but that isn’t what happened. You’re doing the same thing as apologists for the rioters. Rationalizing why bad behavior for one person is ok and for another isn’t based on some chaos theory of causation and collective guilt.Report

            • Avatar George Turner
              Ignored
              says:

              They don’t have to wait until Molotov cocktails start flying through their windows. You have a right to grab your shotgun and run off trespassers. It’s done ever day. I myself have been blasted at with a 12-gage, twice, for trespassing on farmland. It means “leave now.”Report

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