Overwrought, Bellicose White Privilege Chap. 4,7346

Exquisitely illustrating why peaceful, unarmed people of color are in the streets decrying the brutal fact that peaceful, unarmed people of color are regularly, senselessly shot, a pair of white St. Louis lawyers just pulled guns on protesters simply walking past their uber-gaudy, $1.5 million, Renaissance-era palazzo to demonstrate at Mayor Lyda Krewson's nearby house in a gated community. A few hundred patriots were en route to demand the mayor resign after she publicly released the names and addresses of BLM advocates for defunding the police - an act for which she later apologized - when Mark and Patty McCloskey emerged from their splendor, shouting about private property. Mark, in pink polo shirt and chinos, brandished a semi-automatic rifle with the safety off; Patty held a handgun, finger on the trigger; both were so frantic to get out there and protect their presumably massive flat-screen TV they were barefoot. They were also so terrified of/furious about what Mark repeatedly called the "mob" seeking equality they badly mishandled their weaponry; in video taken by Theo Welling for the Riverfront Times, Mark often points his rifle at his wife, who at one point stumbles on the grass, trigger finger flailing as she aims right at protesters whose leaders calmly call out "Let's go!" and "Keep moving!"

Members of the St. Louis Lamborghini club and personal injury attorneys, the McCloskeys have spent 30 years and likely more money than any of us will ever see restoring their mansion, originally built by a Busch heiress and modeled on a Medici palace in Florence. In a frothy 2018 article, they boast of filling it with 14th to 17th century art and furniture while taking on projects like restoring a set of iron gates replicating those at Rome’s Cathedral of San Pietro. Still, there are hardships: Patty describes struggling to find a way to get a large, original stove out of the basement, lamenting, "Some things are just...difficult.” Like the country changing. In 1992, when the neighborhood association sought to upgrade its rules to match city anti-discrimination laws by allowing co-habitation, Patty opposed the move; she disputed claims by her opponents she was trying to keep out gay couples, arguing she just wanted to "enforce restrictions" on "inappropriate" people renting houses there. These days, she and Mark still do their part to keep America straight, great, rich and white: FEC records show they have contributed thousands of dollars to the GOP and Trump, who co-incidentally also re-tweeted accounts of their noble armed stand.

Still, they are "victims" in police reports of their gun-toting adventure: "The victims stated they were on their property when they heard a loud commotion," and they suited up when a supposedly armed crowd busted open their "historic wrought iron gates" and yelled "threats of harm to both victims." Protesters and others called bullshit, insisting there were no guns and no threats, showing video of chanting marchers placidly walking through the gate - Mark posted photos of it broken - and telling Mark to "calm down; they also rightly noted a black couple pulling the same bellicose stunt would see a SWAT team descend on them faster than you can say systemic racism. Despite the state's so-called Castle Doctrine allowing deadly force to protect private property, many lawyers agreed, arguing peaceful protesters "should not be met with violence" and urging the McCloskeys be disbarred for an action "beyond the pale." Social media chimed in, with horrified Twitter users dubbing the latest, preppy, paunchy Ken-and-Karen "Bunny and Clod," "Scarface, The Later Years," "Straight Outta Applebees," "the remake of Mr.and Mrs. Smith nobody wanted," and, the best to those of us of a certain age, "The NIMBYonese Liberation Army."

The McCloskeys' attorney Albert Watkins praised his clients, "as melanin-deficient human beings," for careers "addressing the needs of the downtrodden." He said they are "respectful of the message Black Lives Matter," they "acted lawfully on their property, and "their actions were borne solely of fear and apprehension (which) was not race- related," second cousin to having a black friend. Mark McCloskey was equally eloquent in his own defense. In a whiny, hysterical press tour in which he insisted he and his wife were "urban pioneers," he repeatedly evoked the storming of the Bastille and told multiple outlets they were "in fear for our lives" from a "huge and frightening crowd...coming at us" (though they were on the sidewalk across a vast lawn) and "all alone facing an angry mob" and “one fellow standing right in front of me pulled out two pistol magazines (and) said you’re next." “I was terrified we’d be murdered within seconds,"  he proclaimed. "Our house would be burned down, our pets would be killed...It was about as bad as it can get." No, you oblivious racist shitstain, it wasn't. Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Elijah McClain, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, recently Justin Howell, Sean Monterrosa, Jamel Floyd, and all the rest - they could tell you as bad as it can get.

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The McCloskeys' lawyer said the pair were "fearful not disgusted" before the protesters.

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