In an appearance on CNN on Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul spoke about his attack and leveled some blunt criticism at the media. Paul addressed the November assault that left him with several broken ribs and bruised lungs, and he said the media has wrongfully focused on what the assailant's motives were, rather than the victim — Paul himself. Then, Paul compared his ordeal to an instance of rape.
Paul spoke to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, criticizing what he sees as the media's excessive focus on investigating the reasons behind the attack.
If someone is raped, pillaged, mugged it should be about punishment and the person who did this needs to be punished. ... And I guess to my mind, I guess there's been a little too much emphasis from the media and too much concern over motive and lack of concern over me, to tell you the truth.
Paul said his injuries were life-threatening, and there could be "no justification" for attacking another person like that. He said he feels pain "all day, every day," though not with the intensity of before, which he described as "the pain of a thousand knives."
The attack on Paul immediately captivated to the American public, given his status as an American senator. Further piquing the curiosity of many was the identity of his assailant — his neighbor, Rene Boucher.
According to several other neighborhood residents, Paul and Boucher have had a longstanding dispute of a personal — not political — nature. Boucher has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge, and his lawyer said it was just "a very regrettable dispute between two neighbors over a matter that most people would regard as trivial."
The "trivial" disagreement is over landscape management, according to some sources. Paul and Boucher share a property line in a wealthy, gated community in Kentucky. An acquaintance of Boucher's said the two men had yelled at one another over Paul's grass clippings several years ago. According to some reports, Paul's libertarian leanings extend to his yard maintenance — with a pumpkin patch, composting station, and leaves that apparently at times remained unraked, Paul's approach to yardwork was reportedly at odds with Boucher's.
Like Paul, Boucher is also a retired doctor. But reports indicate he was fastidious about his own yard's appearance, which could explain why his next-door neighbor's more lax maintenance apparently troubled him. He's also been trying to sell his home for several years.
Kelley Paul, Sen. Paul's wife, had an entirely different take on what inspired the attack on her husband. In a November op-ed for CNN, Kelley Paul wrote:
It is incredibly hurtful that some news outlets have victimized Rand a second time as he struggles to recover, delighting in hateful headlines like "Not A Perfect Neighbor," and concocting theories about an "ongoing dispute," based on nothing more than speculation from an attention-seeking person with no knowledge of anything to do with us.
According to Kelley Paul, the sole motivation for Boucher's assault stemmed from his "troubled mind."
She noted that her family hasn't spoken to Boucher in 10 years, and spent most of the article emphasizing Paul's struggle to recover from severe injuries.
Paul's criticism of the media during his Wednesday CNN appearance is echoed in Kelley Paul's similar censure:
This has been a terrible experience; made worse by the media's gleeful attempts to blame Rand for it, ridiculing him for everything from mowing his own lawn to composting.
Followers of the case will likely get more insight into Boucher's motives at his court appearances. A December hearing was delayed, now rescheduled for early February. It is unclear yet if Boucher will be charged with a federal crime, on top of his misdemeanor assault charge.