It’s been a crazy last few days, hasn’t it? Before we get into the meat of today’s entry, I want to express both my sorrow for those who died in the Texas shooting, and my deep respect for the men who fought back against the shooter and ran him down. You may kill people in Texas, if you are evil enough and determined enough, but know that Texas will kill you back. The two men who fought back did so quickly and decisively, before more lives could be lost. As for those who died in the shooting, I can only say that a just and true God awaits them. He knows His own. Others have said more, and said it better than I can, so I will leave it at that, for now.

Something else has been on my mind for a while as well. Rand Paul was recently attacked by a neighbor while out mowing his lawn. The neighbor broke 5 of his ribs, such was the fury of the assault. But that isn’t what bothers me per se. While I generally like Rand Paul (and that’s significant praise from me – I loathe most politicians), this hardly ascends to the level of the Scalise shooting, right? Well… kind of, in a different way. Check out this article:

Rand Paul is not a perfect neighbor, says community developer

First off, HOAs are generally as loathsome as any other political entity (which is what they are, don’t let them claim otherwise). But this is a fascinating bit of spin. Rand is not a “perfect” neighbor. Note the choice of words. My friends, none of us are perfect neighbors. I’m sure I do things that irritate some of my neighbors, and they have done things that irritate me from time-to-time, though I am generally blessed with neighbors who are very good people. Mostly, we all get along anyway. Hell, some of them are even good friends (and yes, it is still possible to irritate your good friends sometimes, too).

Point is nobody is perfect. Lack of perfection by no means excuses the actions of Rand’s neighbor. It counts for nothing at all. Zero. Zilch. So why mention it?

Dear readers, the spin doctor is in the house. It’s time to make the attack on Rand look, if not excusable, then at least less bad. This is media and its allies in politics conducting damage control. They can imply that, oh maybe the neighbor shouldn’t have attacked Rand BUT and then insert a long stream of excuses that diminishes the impact of the crime. Let us fisk a few of these, shall we?

The history between U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and his neighbor, who is accused of attacking him, is filled with years of angst and petty arguments over misplaced lawn trimmings and branches, the neighborhood’s developer said.

Ah yes. Misplaced lawn trimmings and branches excuse violence. What? Note that it doesn’t even mention who was misplacing the trimmings. The piece insinuates that it’s Rand’s fault, because of the not perfect headline, but it stops short of claiming that. This is common media rhetorical technique, such that if it came out that the trimmings were the neighbor’s, and not Rand’s, the journalist can escape by saying he didn’t really claim that.

The two men have been neighbors for more than 17 years, said Boucher’s lawyer, Matt Baker, in a statement Monday.

While there’s no official word on what caused the fight, Skaggs suggested it might have stemmed from Paul allegedly blowing lawn trimmings into his neighbor’s yard.

Again with the weasel wording. Skaggs suggested that it might have allegedly stemmed from this. Yet the inattentive reader is given the picture that Rand was being an asshole. Pure rhetoric. No facts.

There have been disagreements in the past, Skaggs said, over lawn clippings or who should cut down a tree branch when it stretched over a property line. The two men live on different streets but their lots join and their homes are 269 feet apart, according to Google Maps.

Skaggs described Boucher as a “near-perfect” neighbor, but he said the libertarian politician is a different story.

By near perfect, I wonder if Skaggs means ‘shares my political orientation?’ But that is rhetorical supposition, and at least I’ll admit it is.

Paul “was probably the hardest person to encourage to follow the (homeowner’s association regulations) of anyone out here because he has a strong belief in property rights,” said Skaggs, who is the former chairman of the Warren County Republican Party.

Ah. A libertarian-leaning Republican has a strong belief in property rights. Why, what a crime that is! It almost drives a man to break 5 of his ribs! Look carefully at the last bit, however, where the journalist drops “former chairman of the Warren County Republican Party.” This is another rhetorical technique. The author can insinuate that Skaggs’ criticism of Rand is justified because they share a political party, thus deflecting the notion that the criticism is rooted in politics, not substance. But we are not informed if Skaggs is still a Republican, or if he is a liberal Republican, or anything of the sort.

Skaggs noted the 13 pages of regulations are extensive. But even from the start of Paul’s residence in Rivergreen, Skaggs said Paul has been difficult to work with.

“The major problem was getting the house plans approved,” Skaggs said. “He wanted to actually own the property rights and build any kind of house he wanted. He didn’t end up doing that, but it was a struggle.”

So Rand wanted something the HOA was not prepared to approve, but ultimately decided to follow the HOA guidelines. Why, that’s just terrible isn’t it? Why is this even news?

But Rob Porter, a 20-year friend of the senator, said he had never even heard of Boucher before.

“When I saw Rand after the incident, he even acknowledged that he hadn’t talked to Boucher in years,” Porter said. “If there was some kind of ongoing rift, i wasn’t aware of it and Rand didn’t act like he was aware of it.”

At least the author acknowledges this. If there was an ongoing feud, as Skaggs and the author imply, why would no one else be aware of it? But even if there was a feud, how does that justify even slightly attacking Rand that way?

Voter records from March 2017 show Boucher registered as a Democrat, but his lawyer said Monday that politics had nothing to do with the dispute between neighbors.

Boucher’s lawyer, Baker, said he would not comment on what the argument was over until he conducted more interviews with other neighbors.

Somehow, I very much doubt this is true. It sounds like standard lawyer boilerplate.

“We would really like to see this all over and you back in your house and him back in his house and try to be friends with each other, even though you’ll never like each other,” Skaggs said he told Boucher.

This Skaggs guy, if the author is accurately quoting him, is an idiot. How can you “be friends with each other even though you’ll never like each other”? It makes no sense. That is word salad, devoid of any meaning. What I think Skaggs is trying to communicate here is that the neighbors should pretend to be friends, even though they hate each other’s guts. So Skaggs criticizes Rand for being imperfect, but tells the attacker that he’d really like to see everyone just be friends.

And people wonder why I hate HOAs. Too bad they are almost inescapable, short of moving to the country, these days.

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