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McClellan: A week of ups and downs for St. Louis

McClellan: A week of ups and downs for St. Louis

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Oh, what a wonderful week for Kim Gardner. After taking such a nasty spill in the Eric Greitens case, she has gotten back on the bicycle. She has charged Mark and Patricia McCloskey with brandishing weapons at the protesters who marched past their home on a private street. The New York Times will be overwhelmed by her courage. George Soros will feel his money was well spent.

A wonderful week, too, for the McCloskeys. Celebrity status. You guys are bigger than big. First-name basis with Tucker Carlson. Guess who wants to move into your guest house? Kato Kaelin!

Best week ever for Joel Schwartz. He represents the McCloskeys. Charge them whatever you want, Joel. The money will come pouring in from all corners of the old Confederacy.

For the rest of us, this has been a very bad week.

It was less than a month ago that Michael Neidorff of Centene announced the company was building a new regional headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. Neidorff did not go easy on us. He said it was hard to attract a young, educated work force to St. Louis. It’s about to get harder. Our national reputation is going to take another hit.

First, there are the McCloskeys. They will be the new face of St. Louis. Him with his trusty AR-15. Her with a chrome-plated handgun that looks like it was lifted from the set of “The Maltese Falcon.” Was it capable of being fired, or was it not? The case could hinge on that.

In the beginning of this saga, it seemed like the McCloskeys were just a couple of Baby Boomers busted by a smartphone. Everything is on videotape these days. That fact pretty much undid the McCloskeys’ claim that they were Mr. and Mrs. Minuteman, minding their own business, until the sound of a mob bursting through a private gate stirred them to action.

There it was on videotape: The “mob” filing though the open gate and immediately being confronted by the people at the first house on the private street — the McCloskeys.

But truth is slippery these days. In a fact-free society, you are free to believe whatever you want to believe.

Even if you believe your lying eyes, the McCloskeys are not guilty simply because their story does not match up with the videotape. In Missouri, you can do just about anything with a gun. Also, in their favor is this: They didn’t shoot anybody. That should count for something in a city where people are murdered nightly.

Fox News might try to play this as a drama about people defending their home, but most of the country will see it as a sit-com. The McCloskeys are a 2020 version of the Beverly Hillbillies. They don’t fit in with their wealthy, liberal neighbors, many of whom have signed a letter disapproving of the McCloskeys’ gun-brandishing ways. The McCloskeys would be more at home, one suspects, in a modest compound in the hollows of the Bootheel. “Trespassers will be shot,” would be the sign on their lawn.

Expect the national media to make much of Post-Dispatch reporter Kim Bell’s recent interview with the McCloskeys. She met them at their law office. She mentioned a leopard skin rug on the floor and a fox head mounted above Mark’s desk. She said Mark made a point of saying he wasn’t a hunter.

“I don’t kill animals, but whenever trophy mounts come up for sale, somebody having killed those poor bastards and put them up for auction … I buy and preserve them.”

Daddy issues? Mark’s father was a physician, best known for leading the good fight against fluoridation in the late 1950s, but he was also a noted fox hunter. In fact, his obituary had an unusual headline — “Physician and Fox Hunter.” The conclusion of the obit suggested that memorial contributions could be made to the Masters of Foxhounds Association.

The supporting case will be entertaining, too. Mayor Lyda Krewson got the whole thing started when she “doxxed” protesters who wanted to defund the police. The protesters were headed to her house when they were confronted by the McCloskeys. But wait. The mayor does not live in the private subdivision. She lives on Lake Avenue, not Lake Street. The protesters had to march in one gate and out another. Can’t anybody in St. Louis read a GPS?

Let’s not forget Sen. Josh Hawley’s demand for a civil rights investigation. He says the McCloskeys’ rights are being violated. This story is about guns and race. Naturally, the senator is going to jump in to defend the right to arm oneself against would-be usurpers. That stance will not do much to attract the young, well-educated work force we supposedly want.

Then, too, you have to wonder how this story ends. Maybe it ends in farce, like the Greitens case did. Remember that one? Gardner was forced to drop charges against Greitens, and her hand-picked lead investigator — a bigamist from Michigan she hired just for the case — was charged with six counts of perjury and one count of tampering with evidence. Maybe he’ll be brought back for this case. Let’s hope.

Truth is, no verdict works for us. An acquittal will almost certainly lead to more protests. Which will escalate. They always do.

A conviction would be even worse, as far as our image is concerned, because a conviction would bring Gov. Mike Parson to the stage.

He’s already made his position clear. He won’t wear his dang mask, and the kids in this state should just buck it up and get the dang virus, and if a jury does convict the McCloskeys, he’s going to give them a dang pardon.

Let’s have a trial. Send in the clowns.

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