Most gardeners would agree that well-landscaped and maintained lawns can add value to a property and can even reduce allergens. But sometimes, mowing your grass can be downright dangerous. That’s the unfortunate lesson Senator Rand Paul learned last month, when he was unexpectedly attacked by a neighbor while running his riding lawnmower. Since it occurred, the incident’s motives have been shrouded in mystery, leading many news outlets to categorize the case as being outright “weird” — and it’s getting weirder by the day.
Back in early November, the Republican senator from Kentucky was mowing his lawn when he was tackled from behind by his neighbor, Rene Boucher. The attack was, according to the Rand camp, unprovoked and because Senator Paul was wearing noise-cancelling headphones at the time, he had no warning of what was about to occur. The attack resulted in six broken ribs and bruised lungs for the politician, who was subsequently diagnosed with pneumonia due to injury-related fluid buildup.
Boucher’s motivation remains quite murky. He and Paul have lived next door to each other for the last 17 years, but Senator Paul’s wife, the two have not spoken in over a decade. According to Boucher’s lawyer, Matthew J. Baker, the attack stemmed from a “long-running disagreement” related to property maintenance. Several neighbors told CNN that the two had squabbled over yard waste for years. Reportedly, the senator has ignored neighborhood regulations, choosing to grow pumpkins and keep compost piles on his property.
But although Boucher and his legal representatives maintain that the motive was all about yard work, the senator, along with his family and staff, have a different take. They’ve inferred the attack was political in nature. Rand Paul has tweeted links that suggest he feels Boucher’s liberal Democratic leanings are related to the attack. Senator Paul’s wife and other neighbors have also stated that there was no dispute at all preceding the event, and that Boucher’s motivations had no basis in reality.
In her op-ed for CNN, the senator’s wife, Kelley Paul, wrote: “The only ‘dispute’ existed solely in the attacker’s troubled mind, until, on a beautiful autumn day, he ran down the hill on our property and slammed his body into Rand’s lower back as he stood facing away, wearing noise canceling headphones to protect his ears from the lawn mower.”
So far, the story is very much a he said/he said in terms of rationale. Rene Boucher has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault, but the story is still developing. If authorities find evidence to support the theory of a politically motivated attack and Boucher is found guilty, he could face up to eight years of prison time, rather than the one year he’d face for a misdemeanor assault charge.