Personal-injury attorneys Mark and Patricia McCloskey entered the national spotlight like the ultimate expression of white privilege, waving their weapons toward peaceful protesters whose crime was walking down a sidewalk. Republicans immediately tried to make the pair heroes of the Second Amendment, valiantly defending their home by pointing the weapons in the face of Americans who had the audacity to not be rich and white.
So it will probably come as a relief to everyone that they turn out to be jackasses of the first water. Mark McCloskey isn’t just the kind of raging a-hole who is hated by all of his neighbors, he’s not just a guy who has sued his own sister and his own father, he’s also a guy who did this: He destroyed bee hives on a neighbor’s property and left behind a note not only admitting that he did it, but threatening to sue if they didn’t clean up the mess promptly. That neighbor was a Jewish synagogue which had planned to use the honey for Rosh Hashanah. “The children were crying in school,” said Rabbi Susan Talve. “It was part of our curriculum.”
As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch outlines, the McCloskeys have a “long history of not backing down.” Which in this case means they are unbelievably—unbelievably—awful. If their moment in the national spotlight made them seem like a postcard advertising the very worst America has to offer, prepare to be amazed. They’re worse than you think.
That sidewalk that protesters were walking up? It belongs to their “private place” subdivision. Only the McCloskeys have claimed it as their own. The McCloskeys have also claimed the green space on the other side. And the wall around the subdivision. They’re suing the subdivision to assert their ownership over all these things. They’ve been at it or years.
Their deed for the property doesn’t give them any right to these things, but then that hasn’t stopped the McCloskeys in the past. In what may be the most perfect tidbit about a couple that the right wing has been elevating as sterling defenders of property rights, the McCloskeys have sued to take over two properties they didn’t own through “hostile occupation” and “asserting squatter’s rights.”
In the main, the McCloskeys seem to operate by just suing the hell out of everyone. They sued their dog breeder over paperwork. They sued a guy who sold them a car. They filed a lawsuit over a birthday card Mark McCloskey got when he was a teenager. They’ve filed multiple lawsuits on the same trip “to save gas.”
They’ve even sued their all-white neighborhood association, insisting that they have to maintain the original 1871 agreement over “exclusivity” in selling properties. Yes, that means exactly what you think. In this case, the breach of that exclusivity was allowing a gay couple to move in. The McCloskey’s took that case all the way to the state Supreme Court where, thankfully, they lost.
The McCloskeys even got their ludicrous castle with a lawsuit. They came in after the house had already been sold, made a claim that they had made an offer on the house, then sued everyone involved in the deal. That lawsuit caused the legal firm where Mark McCloskey worked to fire him. So he also sued them. McCloskey lost the job, but got the house. He considers all of this “a fun story.” But then, we are talking about a guy who sued his own father while his father was in the “memory care unit” at a nursing home. He also sued his father’s caregiver. So his idea of fun might not be the widely accepted definition.
In any case, KSDK reports that St. Louis police served a warrant on the McCloskey’s Friday evening and seized the AR-15 rifle that Mark McCloskey pointed at protesters. The pistol that Patricia McCloskey waved directly at people’s faces was apparently not home. They claimed the gun was at the office of their attorney—but the attorney denied it. Of course, the McCloskeys have already hired one attorney to represent them, then fired him, and hired another. So maybe the gun is at the office of their last attorney. Or their next one.
It’s unclear if the city will file any charges against the McCloskeys. But it’s certain that they’ll end up being involved in many, many lawsuits. It may be too much to hope for that their faux-Italian palazzo ends up being the new headquarters for Black Lives Matter … but we can dream.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.