Speed Reads

Shock and Awe

Rand Paul was apparently violently assaulted over a landscaping dispute

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will likely miss work for a while due to what his aides say are five broken ribs and bruised lungs sustained when a longtime neighbor, Rene Boucher, tackled him from behind while Paul was mowing his lawn with sound-muting headphones on in their gated Bowling Green housing development. On Monday, Boucher's lawyer, Matthew Baker, said the altercation had "absolutely nothing" to do with politics — Paul is a libertarian-leaning Republican, Boucher a registered Democrat — but was instead "a very regrettable dispute between two neighbors over a matter that most people would regard as trivial."

That isn't particularly clarifying, either, and Paul is unlikely to say much because he's embarrassed about the incident, The New York Times reports, citing three Kentucky Republicans. The three Republicans and a neighbor also said the trouble began over landscaping, though "the precise provenance of the dispute was still a matter of disagreement," the Times notes. Two of the Kentuckians said the issue was "some sort of planting or flora issue around the properties," said Times reporter Jonathan Martin, while a third one said it revolved around "a small strip of land" that "leads to a manmade lake."

Other explanations include unkempt yard clippings or leaves and newly planted saplings, mixed with Paul's apparent disregard for neighborhood rules. Paul "certainly believes in stronger property rights than exist in America," Jim Skaggs, a neighbor and local GOP official who developed the community, told the Times. "I think it was a neighbor-to-neighbor thing. They just both had strong opinions, and a little different ones about what property rights mean." A friend of Paul's, Robert Porter, said Paul "is still unsure why he was attacked." Boucher, a retired anesthesiologist who has lived next door to Paul for 17 years, faces assault charges, but police said Monday they may elevate the charge to felony from misdemeanor due to the severity of Paul's injuries.