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First Do No Harm?

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This story just keeps getting weirder.  Friday, Sen. Rand Paul, a medical doctor, was attacked by a neighbor, who is also a doctor.  The extent of his injuries and the reason for the altercation is a story that keeps dribbling out.
Nicholas Fandos, Noah Weiland, and Jonathan Martin have this story in the NYT:

The violent altercation last week that left Senator Rand Paul nursing bruised lungs and broken ribs began over a landscaping dispute between the senator and his longtime next-door neighbor, according to neighbors and three Kentucky Republicans familiar with what transpired.

Mr. Paul had just stepped off a riding lawn mower on Friday when Rene Boucher, a retired anesthesiologist who lived next door, charged and tackled him. Because Mr. Paul was wearing sound-muting earmuffs, he did not realize Mr. Boucher was coming, according to one of the Kentucky Republicans and a friend familiar with the altercation.
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Police have charged Mr. Boucher, 59, with a misdemeanor count of assault. Authorities on Monday were considering raising the charge to a felony, given the severity of Mr. Paul's injuries.

Mr. Paul, 54, has long stood out in the well-to-do gated neighborhood south of Bowling Green, Ky., that he calls home. The senator grows pumpkins on his property, composts and has shown little interest for neighborhood regulations.

But the spectacle of the incident -- one former doctor attacking another in broad daylight -- was altogether different. Competing explanations of the origins of the drama cited stray yard clippings, newly planted saplings and unraked leaves.
Little interest in neighborhood regulations?  Given Sen. Paul's libertarian ideology, that does not surprise me, but government mandates and neighborhood covenants are entirely different.  When you buy property in such a neighborhood, you voluntarily agree to abide by the rules.  (I once made my living writing "CC&Rs," but I have never lived in a neighborhood governed by them and don't plan to.  I do, though, own a rental property in one.)

Even so, tackling people, especially from behind, is not a valid mode of enforcement.  If this is felony assault, it should be prosecuted as such.

Update:  James Freeman has more, taken from several other papers, at the WSJ.

Update 2:  James Freeman has another update, with some of the papers pulling back on their earlier reporting.  It might not have been landscaping or community rules after all.

1 Comment

I swore my entire life I would never live in a "gated community," right up until I bought my winter home in Hawaii in one. The panoramic ocean view, sunset, and big lots were more than I could resist. Sure enough, it has a bunch of these CC&R's, which are basically the way your neighbors run your entire life. So, as is often the case (less so on a few criminal law issues), I find myself siding with Sen. Paul. I never tackled anyone, though, and so far no one has tackled me, although I have spent a small fortune on that self-same landscaping, mostly to keep the neighbors happy.

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