Last month, as Black Lives Matter protestors marched into the neighborhood of St. Louis’ mayor, we met “Ken and Karen.” This gun-toting couple charged outside their mansion waving semi-automatic weapons–and making headline news.
Now, they’re facing felony charges.
In case you’ve somehow missed it, “Karens” are white women who display bigoted or entitled behavior that has the power to legitimately harm people around them–especially minorities and other vulnerable groups. “Ken” is the name coined for men who do the same thing.
In images that quickly went viral, the St. Louis couple emerged from their home to threaten the protestors with guns. She was dressed in a black-and-white striped top and capri leggings, barefoot and visibly terrified and furious. The Karen in this situation brandished a tiny pistol. Her husband, dressed in chinos and a pale pink polo shirt, grasped an AK-47 as though he’d never before picked one up.
These particular folks are Mark and Patricia McCloskey. They were quickly identified thanks to social media. The pair are both personal injury lawyers–pejoratively called “ambulance chasers–and they live in what appears to be a very small museum or a very large bank. It’s clear that they felt threatened by the mass of protestors, who chanted and banged drums as they marched through the exclusive neighborhood.
Multiple protestors filmed the couple, while a handful of others shouted at them from the sidewalk. They were marching toward the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson, who had recently revealed the names and addresses of several protestors on TV–essentially “doxxing” them and potentially exposing those people to retaliation.
As with so many things these days, the country was split on whether the McCloskeys were bravely defending their home (and exercising their 2nd Amendment rights), or whether they were threatening the kind of racially charged violence that led to these protests in the first place.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner falls into the latter camp. The McCloskeys, who are both in their 60s, now face felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon.
However, the couple has not been ordered to surrender themselves. Gardner merely issued a summons and intends to press for community service and counseling rather than jail time. In other words, the McCloskeys are likely to face a slap on the wrist.
The couple doesn’t agree. Mark McCloskey spoke to Fox News about the situation, saying, “It’s a totally upside-down world. The prosecutor apparently thinks her job isn’t to keep us safe from criminals, but to keep the criminals safe from us. … We’re not going to apologize for doing what’s right.”
Part of the problem is that in order to get that slap on the wrist I mentioned, the McCloskeys have to plead guilty. That’s the foundation of the diversion program designed to keep low-level offenders out of jail. If Ken and Karen refuse to admit that they did anything wrong, then this will end up going to court.