Bush Neighbor Blasts Shotgun, Scares Protesters

Larry Mattlage, one of President Bush’s Crawford, Texas neighbors, apparently had enough of protestors so he fired his shotgun in the air in a little protest of his own.

Shotgun Blast Jars Bush Protesters (LAT)

President Bush might have made his peace with the antiwar encampment outside his Texas ranch, but his next-door neighbor has taken up arms. The incident occurred Sunday morning as activists gathered for a prayer service in the tent village set up by Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq and who is demanding a meeting with Bush to discuss the war.

On the other side of Prairie Chapel Road, Larry Mattlage hopped into his pickup, barreled across his pasture and pulled up to a fence within a few hundred feet of the protesters. He climbed out of the cab, retrieved a shotgun from the back and fired at least one blast into the air. Mattlage insisted he was shooting at birds. But he said the activists had worn out their welcome, and he wanted them to go away. “I done made my case. It’s over,” he said as he shooed away a reporter from the gated entrance to his ranch.

The McLennan County Sheriff’s Department said Mattlage had broken no laws. A man has a right to fire a gun on his own property, the authorities said, as long as he didn’t point it at anyone or issue any threats.

At least now the protestors can’t be accused of never having heard a shot fired in anger.

This is a rather amusing incident, although only because no one was hurt. People of course have a right to peacably assemble to protest the actions of their government, although one can understand why residents of the neighborhood would find it extremely annoying. I suppose a shot fired into the air is, after a fashion, free speech, too. “Done made my case,” indeed.

The Left is going to have a difficult time with this one, too. On the one hand, Mattlage used a gun and frightened anti-Bush protestors, both clearly bad things. On the other hand, he did disrupt a prayer service.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Scott in CA says:

    I’m sure the protestors will complain about the “chilling” effect of gunshots on their rights. I’m sure they are already “troubled” and “concerned”.

  2. RA says:

    They were worshiping the goddess mother earth. The shots merely brought them down to their goddess.

  3. NEOCON RENECK says:

    Why bother firing a shotgun?. I would much rather prefer a 7mag with a high powered scope !