Some residents of the corn and cattle town of Crawford, Texas, are expressing resentment as hundreds of anti-war protesters descend upon President George W. Bush's adopted hometown.
After nine days of watching as one woman's protest has grown into a national event, dozens of the farmers and ranchers neighboring Bush's 1,600-acre Prairie Chapel Ranch plan to petition a county court in nearby Waco, according to one, Pete Martinka. They want to prevent anyone from parking or stopping within two miles of the makeshift campsite erected by Cindy Sheehan, the Vacaville, Calif., woman whose son, Casey, was killed in the war in Iraq.
"She's pitching tents on private property," said Martinka, who lives on a 104-acre ranch near the Bush property.
Sheehan, 48, has become an icon for a revived anti-war movement and her so-called Camp Casey outside the Bush ranch has become a small village. Her demonstration now includes a procession of TV satellite trucks, political operatives and public relations professionals. There are rallies and folk songs.
"People are very fed up," said another neighbor, Sgt. Vernon Harrison, 42, a National Guard nurse who returned from Iraq in February.
Sheehan's son Casey, 24, died in an ambush in Baghdad's Sadr City in April 2004. She said she will stick with her vigil as long as Bush is at the ranch. She said she still wants a face-to-face meeting with the president to seek answers about the war and to demand that U.S. troops in Iraq be brought home. Bush met with Sheehan last year during a visit with relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq.
Low-key, anti-war events continued at Camp Casey, about a mile from the gates of the Bush ranch. Early Sunday, about the time a prayer service was to begin, a neighbor, sheep farmer Larry Mattlage, fired at least one shotgun blast into the air. Sheriff's deputies and the Secret Service rushed to the scene. Mattlage told authorities he was firing at doves, preparing for hunting season that begins Sept. 1 in Texas. He wasn't charged because he fired a gun on his private property, according to the McLennan County Sheriff's Department.