M813 wrote: ↑
Tue Jun 30, 2020 6:51 am
I am aware that the mayor "doxxed" several people. I fail to see how that is relevant to homeowners protecting themselves from 500 protestors, some armed, who were trespassing on private property. The issue is between the protesters and the city government. Private citizens are not an acceptable "collateral damage" while on the way to City Hall.
The information I have, is that the roads were private and not maintained by the city, county or state. It seems doubtful that the city or county would allow this enclave to put up wrought-iron gates, blocking off a public road...but I suppose it's possible.
In St Louis city there are tons of publicly maintained streets that have gates up. There are also even more public streets that have one end blocked off with big ass concrete balls, called "Schoemehl Balls" after the mayor in power when they were installed. There are videos of city plows running on those streets, as well as city trash service (which is paid for by taxes), city water (paid for by taxes, not directly billed). Whether those city services are applied to that neighborhood because people are connected (like the current mayor) or because those streets are actually city streets and not purchased and installed by the homeowners is a matter for debate.
But in St Louis city and county there are lots of "Private Drive" signs put up on public roads. It may not be legal, but there isn't a government official running around putting them down. As I understand the history a lot of the gates went up during the 70's to stop crime, making it so rather than a typical city grid, certain fancy streets had only one way in and out. All that had to be done was start a neighborhood association and apply for a permit and the city would allow them to be put up. These gates exist in a number of neighborhoods adjacent to restaurant districts as well as a way to discourage people from parking on a street with mansions on it when they visit the local eatery. There's a lot of history in St Louis regarding blocking off streets and sidewalks on streets with expensive homes from undesirables.
It also seems the sidewalk gate was damaged as people were leaving, not coming in. The armed couple stated otherwise, which hurts their credibility. As well, they say they and their dog was threatened, of which their doesn't seem to be video evidence. Was it reasonable for them to be concerned? Certainly! Did the show of force create more issues for them than staying in their home and waiting to respond with force to a possible attack? Also yes.
Protesters have taken that same path a half dozen times I'm aware of in the last few years, and there have never been any tickets or summons issued for trespass. Does that make it legal? Of course not. But the city set the standard that if that action is legally trespassing, they aren't enforcing it, like the parks with the signs to stay off the grass where no one is ever given a ticket. I'm not saying that walking on the grass in a park is the same as walking in the grass in someone's yard, only that the city has set the precedent of not treating either action as illegal.
What the city has done in this instance is charge the homeowners. If the homeowners had chosen a more tactically advantageous position, such as staying inside by a window or taking a position on a balcony, they would have avoided by the press attention and the demonstrator attention. The last 6 times a protest happened in front of the mayors house they walked right by this home and all evidence shows that was happening again until the homeowners chose to escalate.
And I think that is the lesson here. Does the couple have the right to protect their property with firearms? Hell yes! Do we all have that same right? Hell yes! How we choose to do so should be pondered and strategically chosen to best minimize risk and keep our lives and property safe. I think we can learn from their actions in this instance to help us all guide our actions should we be caught in something similar. I strongly recommend the book Trail Safe by Michael Bane, it speaks really well to making choices to keep safe in threatening situations and big part of that is setting ego aside. That said, if you are attacked be prepared to respond with as much force as you can muster.
I think these home owners felt attacked, but weren't attacked in any legal sense. When they chose to display arms, point them at people and follow those people off their property they became the aggressor in that moment. It was no longer a defensive use of firearms, according to my understanding of Missouri law as a ccw instructor.
Other perspectives may differ of course! My thoughts on the subject come from my knowledge and experience of St Louis police and politics and my legal understanding as a certified firearms instructor. In other states a strikingly similar event could have very different optics and legal questions surrounding it. Part of being prepared is knowing your laws. If you get arrested for something like this then you lose the ability to protect your loved ones if the situation gets even worse in following days.