A video of a gun-toting couple warning protesters off their property in St. Louis on Sunday has gone viral.
The clip, one version of which has been viewed 14 million times on Twitter, shows Mark McCloskey touting an AR-style rifle as a crowd of anti-racism protesters march past his mansion.
- His wife, Patricia McCloskey, is seen waving a semiautomatic handgun.
The protesters had stormed through a gate of the community in St. Louis’ Central West End en route to the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson, a Democrat.
The McCloskeys cannot be heard over the chanting and drumming of the protesters, who held signs advocating Black Lives Matter and other racial justice causes, but the couple appear to be telling protesters to stay away from their home.
- One protester shouts, “Keep moving.”
- Nobody in the crowd appears to step foot on the couple’s property.
Mark McCloskey told local CBS affiliate KMOV4 his family was “in fear for our lives”after the crowd broke down the gate.
“This is all private property. There are no 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,” he said.
Several hundred protesters went on to congregate in front of the mayor’s house, painting the word “Resign” on the street outside.
- Krewson triggered outrage on Friday publicizing the names and addresses of residents who urged her to defund the police department.
Reactions to the McCloskeys’ stand reflected national polarization over the past month’s mass protests against racism and police.
After President Donald Trump retweeted the video on Monday, CNN commentator Keith Boykin was among those who accused him of stoking “white resentment.”
Other conservatives, though, celebrated the McCloskeys for standing up to a protest movement that has in numerous cases turned violent.
Many gun rights advocates — who have widely seen the demonstrations as a bulletproof case for the Second Amendment — hailed the couple as icons of armed self-defense.
Some female commentators, including Ashley St. Clair, said they wanted to be just like Patricia McCloskey.
Social media guru Caleb Hull highlighted the McCloskeys’ care for their historic mansion, their restoration of which was featured in St. Louis Magazine in 2018.
According to a statement issued by the couple’s lawyer on Sunday night, they support the Black Lives Matter movement and their personal injury law practice represented a black man in a high-profile police brutality lawsuit.
- “[G]un permits have increased the most during the COVID-19 pandemic in states that tend to be more liberal, both in terms of citizen ideology and political party of state governor,” the study said.