rand paul
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

I am confused about why the man who attacked Senator Rand Paul is being charged with fourth-degree assault, which is a misdemeanor. According to Doug Stafford, a senior aide to the Kentucky senator, Paul suffered five broken ribs, three of which were displaced. In addition, he has bruises to his lungs: “This type of injury is caused by high velocity severe force. It is not clear exactly how soon he will return to work, as the pain is considerable as is the difficulty in getting around, including flying.”

I’m not a doctor, but those kind of injuries aren’t typically sustained in an ordinary fistfight. They seem more consistent with a fall or some kind of vehicular accident. Short of that, maybe a rifle butt or repeated kicking with steel-tipped boots might break and displace ribs. At a minimum this attack seems like a felonious crime, perhaps even attempted murder.

Yet, we’re not getting a whole lot of detail.

Rene Boucher, 59, a Bowling Green doctor, was arrested Friday and charged with fourth-degree assault after an incident at Paul’s home in the gated Rivergreen community just east of Bowling Green.

Boucher, 582 Rivergreen Lane, was released Saturday night from the Warren County Regional Jail on a $7,500 bond, according to online jail records.

The arrest warrant in the case indicates that Paul told police that his neighbor came onto his property and tackled him from behind, forcing him to the ground and causing pain. According to the warrant for Boucher’s arrest, Paul had injuries to his face and had trouble breathing due to a rib injury.

Something is not right with this story. I don’t doubt that being forcibly tackled from behind could cause some rib and lung injuries, but it sounds more like he was run over by a golf cart.

And then the assailant is a bit odd:

Boucher is a Bowling Green anesthesiologist and pain specialist who developed a product called Therm-a-Vest, a cloth vest partially filled with rice and secured by Velcro straps that is designed to relieve back pain by delivering heat directly to the areas of the back where most pain is felt.

Boucher applied for a patent for the vest in 2003 and has marketed it through the QVC shopping channel.

It almost sounds like Boucher was trying to create a natural client for his QVC product. What would compel an anesthesiologist to attack a U.S. senator? Is he crazy or was he provoked?

If he was unprovoked, why are the charges so light? And why did Paul’s complaint sound so mild when it appears he was beaten to within an inch of his life? Displaced ribs can easily lead to quick death from a torn aorta, for example.

The New York Times has a little more detail.

Mac Douglas, who lives about 100 yards away from Mr. Paul, said on Sunday that he was shocked to hear about the altercation, and that Mr. Paul and Mr. Boucher had been courteous neighbors. Mr. Douglas described the neighborhood as calm and secluded, and a place where residents did not regularly interact.

“It’s unusual when you see a senator and a doctor having problems,” Mr. Douglas said.

Still, one of Mr. Paul’s neighbors told a local news outlet that Mr. Paul and Mr. Boucher had “ongoing problems.” Mr. Paul was mowing his lawn at the time of the altercation, the neighbor said.

The local news determined that Boucher has been retired since 2015 and was once registered as a Democrat in Rhode Island. Apparently his Facebook page has an appropriate level of outrage about President Trump, but nothing related to his neighbor Rand Paul. None of that really helps me understand why Boucher allegedly ran into Rand Paul’s yard and tackled him while the senator was trying to mow his lawn. Nor does it explain how Paul was so badly injured or why he reacted so mildly, calling it only an “unfortunate incident,” instead of a nearly lethal and apparently unprovoked attack that will leave him in severe pain for many months to come.

Let me put it this way. If your neighbor attacked you like this while you were mowing your lawn and you didn’t think you had it coming, would you call it an “unfortunate incident,” file a police report that minimized your injuries, and be satisfied with a misdemeanor charge?

It would be irresponsible not to speculate that there’s more to this story. Perhaps the real Bowling Green Massacre was caused by a little hanky panky going on in the cul-de-sac?

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com