Stephen Knill-Jones, of England, fires an AR-15 rifle at the National Armory gun store and gun range, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in Pompano Beach, Fla. President Barack Obama unveiled his plan Tuesday to tighten control and enforcement of firearms in the U.S. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Meet St Louis residents Mark and Patricia McCloskey. They were enjoying a quiet outside dinner at home when a mob of protesters, having recently attacked praying Catholics, illegally trespassed into the McCloskeys’ gated community and on their property. This mob of “peaceful protesters” were shouting threats, insults and various harassment. According to the McCloskeys, members of the mob were carrying weapons. Video shows these “peaceful protesters” entering through one side of a six-foot wrought-iron gate marked “private,” while leaving the other side affixed in place. A photo. taken after the incident ended show that the other side of the gate was destroyed in the incident.

The McCloskeys, personal injury attorneys by trade took the sensible step of retrieving what appear to be an AR-15 and a Walther PPK from their home, and brandishing these weapons on their property to encourage the violent mob of “peaceful protesters” to move along. At no point was a round ever fired.  In fact, there is no evidence that a round was ever chambered.

This is a happy ending to a tense, and potentially tragic, mob encounter. The McCloskeys get high marks for quick thinking. under pressure, and for ensuring that the encounter ends peacefully. As in, actually peacefully, not the MSDNC #peacefully of “peaceful protesters.” The McCloskeys get high marks, but not perfect marks.

A number of armchair Twitter-backs have opined that the McCloskeys were quite weak in both trigger and muzzle discipline. Mark sweeps Patricia pretty bad on at least one occasion, and seems to sweep the crowd indiscriminately throughout the incident. Patricia could certainly use a tighter grip on her Walther. I’m not here to criticize them.  Their response, though imperfect, was quite admirable. I’m actually here to praise them. Here we have two 60-plus personal injury attorneys rousted at a moment’s notice by an angry mob on their doorstep and threatening their family. The McCloskey response was utterly superb, all things considered. It likely meets or exceeds whatever training and practice they’ve had. Well done.

I praise them, and I urge them to get more training. I urge all of us to get more training. In fact, I urge training to be mandatory for all adult US citizens and permanent residents. We need a new Militia Act. We need to give local National Guard, State Police/Highway Patrol, Sheriffs, and municipal law enforcement a common curriculum and mandate that every US citizen and permanent resident report one day a quarter to Militia training.

  • This day of training should cover firearms safety, so that the Marks and Patricias (i.e. all of us) are less likely to sweep one another in a crisis.
  • It should cover basic gunshot (and other) first aid, so that if (God forbid) shots are fired, basic aid can be rendered while authorities dispatch an ambulance.
  • It should cover basic de-escalation techniques, so that shots are less likely to be fired.
  • And it should cover natural disaster response relevant to the specific county. Perhaps desert search and rescue in the Southwest; Flood/hurricane rescue on the coasts; emergency evacuation in the Five Boroughs. You get the idea.

Quit complaining that a couple of sexagenarian lawyers exhibiting imperfect posture when protecting their homes from a 300-person violent mob. Fix the problem. Fix it by educating all of us regularly. Let’s pass a Modern Militia Act.