Larry Mattlage of Crawford, Texas, fired shots on his property near anti-war activists hoping to meet President Bush (courtesy: Lone Star Iconoclast)
Shots were fired today near the vigil of Cindy Sheehan and anti-war protesters who are demanding a face-to-face meeting with President Bush.
No one was injured, as the shots were fired by Larry Mattlage, a neighbor of the president who is apparently upset with the length of time the anti-war activists are staying in the area.
“I got a right to fire up in the air,” Mattlage said. “I am getting ready for dove season and you all are messing up my dove huntin’, so if you all could please leave and go somewhere else, this whole community would be behind you.”
The incident occurred after 10 a.m., as anti-Bush activists were planning their schedule for the remainder of the day.
“As I walked to my car to call the office with an update, I heard a popping sound,” said Deborah Mathews, a reporter for the Lone Star Iconoclast. “When I turned around, I saw a man with a shotgun aimed upward. He looked over his shoulder and then back and fired more shots. Even though I was only about 20 feet from him, it took seeing him with the gun to realize what I was hearing. He put the gun into the cab of the pickup and walked back to his house without saying anything.
“He fired the gun from inside his fenceline – well within his property … which is across to the east of Camp Casey. He did not fire anywhere but into the sky, away from the camp.”
Roberts reports Mattlage met with Secret Service agents and the local sheriff, and no charges were filed in connection with the incident.
News media await Larry Mattlage of Crawford, Texas, who discusses his firing of shots on his property near President Bush’s ranch (courtesy: Lone Star Iconoclast)
After Mattlage was interviewed by authorities, she recorded a conversation she had with Mattlage to find out more about the reasons for shooting:
Reporter: Larry, why did you shoot the gun?
Mattlage: Well, I’m getting ready for dove season and you all are still gonna’ be here, I’m practicin’.
Reporter: Was there another message involved in the gunshot?
Mattlage: You figure it out for yourself.
Reporter: Are there any laws …
Mattlage: No, in Texas, you can shoot … I ain’t threating nobody. I ain’t pointing a gun at nobody. This is Texas.
Reporter: What do you want them to do Larry?
Mattlage: Well these people don’t know what to do (pointing at the sheriff and the Secret Service)
Reporter: What do you want them to do?
Mattlage: When they first came out here, I was sympathetic to their cause, right. They as American citizens have a right to march to protest. It is like this – it’s like having company, if you have your brother-in-law at your house for five days, wouldn’t it start stinking after a while. You are ready for him to go home, aren’t you? Five weeks of this is too much. We live here. It’s our community. Apparently we have no respect over here and we have no respect over here. Somebody has got to get together and clear it out. It’s a damn shame. The news media has got to solve this dilemma. But we got a dilemma here. We got a battle of the porta-potties. You all got started out going to the bathroom in a five-gallon bucket. Then they moved one porta-potty in here. No we got two porta-potties. And now we have three and if this keeps up, it will be all the way down the road. And they’ve got more porta-potties over there (pointing at the Bush ranch). The only one winning here is the one cleaning the porta-potties.
Several hundred anti-war activists have descended on Crawford to Texas to join Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who is demanding a second personal meeting with the president to demand answers regarding the ongoing war in Iraq, a conflict which killed her son, Casey Sheehan, five days after his arrival last year in Baghdad.
The activists have posted some 500 white wooden crosses on the road to Bush’s ranch, each with the name of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq.
“I loved them for a week,” Mattlage said of the protesters. “I mean, would you want somebody invading your house for a long time and blocking your view and blocking the road? I wake up every morning to this stuff. … I just want ’em to pack their damn tents and go back to where they came from. Their plea is over with.”
When McLennan County Sheriff Larry Lynch was asked about the shooting, he told reporters Mattlege was not breaking any law.
“He’s on his own property,” Lynch said. “He’s getting ready for dove season.”