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About

Ken and Karen St. Louis, Missouri Gun Couple is the online nickname for personal injury trial lawyers Mark and Patricia McCloskey. The couple appeared in a viral video standing outside of their home brandishing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters marching in their St. Louis gated community. Numerous memes about the couple circulated online, typically mocking them as Karens and Boomers. Additionally, many criticized the couple for failing to adhere to basic firearm safety rules, including maintaining trigger discipline and muzzle direction awareness, while others praised the couple for exercising their Second Amendment rights.



Origin

On June 28th, 2020, Twitter user @xhularx tweeted the video. They wrote, "A couple has come out of their house and is pointing guns at protesters in their neighborhood." The tweet received more than 10 million views, 64,000 likes and 37,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).

That day, Twitter user @averyrisch tweeted, "here’s what happens when you march on Portland Place in St. Louis, MO. they’re scared of their own community." The tweet received more than 1.7 million views, 19,000 likes and 10,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).

Spread

Throughout the day, people began referring to the couple as "Ken and Karen," referring to the pejorative meme nickname Karen used to for overly entitled middle-aged white women. Shortly after @xshularx posted the video, Twitter[3] user @fusillyjerry tweeted, "Ken and Karen are seconds from the death penalty being their KARMA." This tweet is the earliest available reference to the nickname in regards to the video (shown below).

People posted memes about the couple, using clips and screenshots from the videos. Twitter[4] user @Chris__Richards posted an image of the couple next to the painting "American Gothic." The post received more than 300 likes in less than 24 hours (shown below, left). Twitter[5] user @mat_johnson posted an image of the couple next to a screenshot from the film Mr. & Mrs. Smith with the caption, "How You Think You Look vs. How You Look." The post received more than 4,900 likes and 850 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below, center). Throughout the next 24 hours, "Ken and Karen" was trending in the United States on Twitter.

That day, people shared the video on various platforms. Redditor[1] tefunka shared the video on the /r/PublicFreakout subreddit. The post received more than 69,000 upvotes (90% upvoted) and 10,000 comments in less than 24 hours. Redditor[2] sublemon shared a photo of the couple with the caption "When subway forgets the mayonnaise." The post received more than 29,000 upvoted (91% upvoted) and 1,300 comments in less than 24 hours (shown below, right).

That day, journalist Dan Murphy tweeted an article from St. Louis magazine about the restoration of the couple's "Midwestern palazzo" home. They wrote,[6] "The white couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matters protestors marching past their palazzo in St. Louis brag that one of their antiques is a "'standing man' armoire, so named because, during the Reign of Terror, a gentleman could hide inside one"" (shown below).

The following day, the couple told a local CBS[7] affiliate:

A mob of at least 100 smashed through the historic wrought iron gates of Portland Place, destroying them, rushed towards my home where my family was having dinner outside and put us in fear of our lives. This is all private property. There are no public sidewalks or public streets. We were told that we would be killed, our home burned and our dog killed. We were all alone facing an angry mob.

Saint Louis University Lawyer John Amman told a local NBC[8] affiliate that the couple's actions might be illegal. They wrote:

According to Saint Louis University Lawyer John Amman, their actions could possibly be classified as assault by putting protesters in fear of their safety.

People have a right to threaten force if they are threatened, Amman said. However, if a group of protesters is walking by a home and not doing anything to the homeowners specifically, then they don’t have the right to threaten lethal force without an imminent threat.

On June 29th, President Donald Trump retweeted the video (shown below).

Several media outlets covered the video, including New York Post,[9] Mashable, [10] Mediaite,[11] New York,[12] Heavy,[13] Global News Canada,[15] Snopes,[16] Fast Company,[17] Junkee[18], Yahoo,[19] Complex,[20] The Mary Sue,[21] and many more.


On June 29th, the couple released a statement. Editor Rob Edwards tweeted the statement and wrote,[14] "JUST IN: St. Louis attorneys Mark and Patricia McCloskey release a statement, through an attorney, saying they support Black Lives Matter and they acted lawfully on their property. The couple, through their attorney, says 'the agitators responsible for the trepidation were white.'" The tweet received more than 600 retweets and 400 likes in less than 24 hours (shown below).


Various Examples






Search Interest




External References

[1] Reddit – /r/publicfreakout

[2] Reddit – /r/MemeEconomy

[3] Twitter – @fusillyjerry's Tweet

[4] Twitter – @Chris__Richards' Tweet

[5] Twitter – @mat_johnson's Tweet

[6] Twitter – @bungdan's Tweet

[7] KMOV – 'We were in fear of our lives'; Central West End couple seen pointing guns at protesters speaks

[8] NBC – Couple points guns at protesters marching in Central West End to call for Mayor Krewson to resign

[9] New York Post – St. Louis couple draws firearms on protesters outside their home

[10] Mashable – Gun-toting Karen and Ken spawn a thousand memes after pointing weapons at peaceful protesters

[11] Mediaite – WATCH: St. Louis Couple Emerge From Mansion Brandishing Weapons to BLM Protestors

[12] New York Magazine – Trump Retweets Video of White Couple Pointing Guns at Protesters

[13] Heavy – Mark McCloskey & Patricia McCloskey: St. Louis Couple Pull Guns on Protesters

[14] Twitter – @RobertDEdwards' Tweet

[15] Global News Canada – ‘Ken and Karen’ Couple aims guns at protesters passing mansion in St Louis

[16] Snopes – Did a Couple Dubbed ‘Ken and Karen’ Point Guns at Protesters?

[17] Fast Company – ‘Ken and Karen,’ the wealthy couple who pulled guns on protesters, inspired some genius memes

[18] Junkee – Meet Ken And Karen, The Couple Who Pointed Guns At Protesters From Their Mansion’s Lawn

[19] Yahoo! Life – Meet Ken & Karen, The Couple That Pointed An AR-15 At Protestors In St. Louis

[20] Complex – White St. Louis 'Ken and Karen' Couple Go Viral After Pointing Guns at Peaceful Protesters

[21] The Mary Sue – Meet “Karen & Ken,” the St. Louis Lawyers Who Pointed Guns at Peaceful Protesters


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