Rabbi who works next door to couple who pointed guns at protestors says they've been notorious 'bullies' for years
via Mondoweiss / Twitter

Patricia and Mark McCloskey caught the public's attention back in June when they were photographed waving guns at Black Lives Matters protesters who peacefully walked past their St. Louis mansion.

After the incident, photos of the couple waving their guns while dressed like they just got back from the country club quickly became a cultural Rorschach test.

Liberals mocked them for exemplifying the irrational fear that some affluent white conservatives have of people of color. Their overreaction to the peaceful protesters appeared to mirror the type of unnecessary violence against people of color that caused the demonstrations in the first place.


To many conservatives, the couple were an example of proudly-armed Americans standing their ground against a frightening mob.

The couple is currently facing weapons charges for brandishing guns at protesters.

Twitter twitter.com

The couple were used as political pawns on night one of the Republican National Convention on Monday. The couple made a speech from their home that was a blatant attempt to instill fear in the the suburban electorate.

"What you saw happen to us could just as easily happen to any of you who are watching from quiet neighborhoods around our country," the couple said in a speech.

"Make no mistake: No matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats' America," Patricia warned.

The message was very simple: White people should be afraid that their quiet neighborhoods will be overrun by angry mobs of protesters, unless they vote for Donald Trump who will stop the protests. It's like they haven't noticed that protests have been going on since March and Trump has yet to stop them.

After it was announced that the couple was to speak at the convention, a rabbi that works at St. Louis' Jewish Central Reform Congregation, the synagogue next door to the McCloskeys' house, had to speak up.

"It's so upsetting that they have a national audience," Rabbi Susan Talve told Forward, a nonprofit Jewish publication. "It's upsetting we make heroes out of people who hate."

The rabbi's rocky relationship with the couple started back in 2013, when the congregation placed bee hives along a fence that sat six inches inside the McCloskey's property line.

The hives were there to produce honey for Rosh Hashanah, a Jewish new year celebration. On the holiday, Jewish people eat apples and honey to usher in a sweet new year.

via David Malouf / Flickr

Without even consulting the rabbi or the synagogue, the McCloskeys bashed all of the bee hives and left them to sit smashed on the fence. "He could have picked up the phone and said, 'Hey, those beehives are on my property,' and we would have happily moved them," said Talve.

The children of the synagogue wept after hearing about the destruction of the hives.

The temple has raised bed gardens where it grows thousands of pounds of fresh produce to help local food pantries. "We were going to have our own apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah!" she said.

But the McClosekys didn't stop there, they sent a note to the synagogue saying they'd face legal action if they didn't clean up the smashed hives.

"Civility," Talve said. "I'm willing to speak out now because there's such a lack of civility that's happening, and I don't feel like I can be a part of that, and silence is complicity."

"They are bullies," Talve said. "The fact that they're speaking at the convention is a win for bullies."

The fact that the McCloskeys were happy to speak at the Republican National Convention in support of Donald Trump isn't a surprise. Of course a couple known for being bullies would be big fans of the bully the currently lives in the White House.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less