Posted from the U.S.
Hunter S. Thompson, the anger-driven, drug-fueled writer for Rolling Stone magazine whose obscenity-laced prose broke down the wall between reader and writer, writer and subject, shot and killed himself on Sunday (2/20/2005) at his home in Woody Creek, Colo. He was 67.
His death was reported by the Pitkin County sheriff's office.
It will be a Religious War, a sort of Christian Jihad, fueled by religious hatred and led by merciless fanatics on both sides. It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy. Osama bin Laden may be a primitive "figurehead" -- or even dead, for all we know -- but whoever put those All-American jet planes loaded with All-American fuel into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon did it with chilling precision and accuracy. The second one was a dead-on bullseye. Straight into the middle of the skyscraper.
Nothing -- even George Bush's $350 billion "Star Wars" missile defense system -- could have prevented Tuesday's attack, and it cost next to nothing to pull off. Fewer than 20 unarmed Suicide soldiers from some apparently primitive country somewhere on the other side of the world took out the World Trade Center and half the Pentagon with three quick and costless strikes on one day. The efficiency of it was terrifying.
We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once. Who knows? Not even the Generals in what remains of the Pentagon or the New York papers calling for WAR seem to know who did it or where to look for them.
This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed -- for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now. He will declare a National Security Emergency and clamp down Hard on Everybody, no matter where they live or why. If the guilty won't hold up their hands and confess, he and the Generals will ferret them out by force.
Good luck. He is in for a profoundly difficult job -- armed as he is with no credible Military Intelligence, no witnesses and only the ghost of Bin Laden to blame for the tragedy.
OK. It is 24 hours later now, and we are not getting much information about the Five Ws of this thing.
The numbers out of the Pentagon are baffling, as if Military Censorship has already been imposed on the media. It is ominous. The only news on TV comes from weeping victims and ignorant speculators.
The lid is on. Loose Lips Sink Ships. Don't say anything that might give aid to The Enemy.
Hunter knew, he just knew. The Enemy we fight, Terror, can we ever defeat? Can one ever defeat Terror by killing it? If you have seen into the true nature of things like Hunter, what does that do to you? It seems better to stay safe and hide from such things. Who can approach the fire and live?
I have a small Hunter S. Thompson story: when I was an undergrad in college, Hunter visited our campus, and of course he crashed the campus newspaper (I was a staff writer and cartoonist at the time). He spent a lost weekend with a senior writer on the staff, a Hunter disciple named Jonathan X (I can not remember his last name - if anyone does, please let me know!). I do remember that the two of them had quite a Fear & Loathing in the Keys weekend, complete with the consumption of much alcohol, illegal substance abuse, and much debauchery. Jonathan returned a staff hero, and he wrote up a great column about his hazy days with Hunter. I am sure that Jonathan remembers those days today, savoring the brief time he had with one of America's greatest, craziest, most f--ked up writers. It was a time we all wish we had with him.
I've never been a fan of drinking or drugs (I need my brain to work ok!), but I am a big fan of Hunter's. He was in your face, angry, raw, and pissed off. He was digging hard to find out what was true about this world, and he was not afraid to dig hard into the pit. He went far into the forest and saw that black thing which many of us know is there but are afraid to confront. He did not avert his eyes. He looked into it, and drank deeply from it. The man knew something about us, about humanity, about the world - something evil and foul and corrupt.
Old Hunter is Dead and Gone. I hope that he has found something beyond the truth, loathing, and despair. He pushed past religion, politics, and the world of what we know to be true. He wanted to know what was really true. He was not satisfied with the sweet lies and comforting fantasy of being normal, of just accepting what is. Hunter wanted to know. By letting go of the standard model of the world, he drifted away into treacherous open waters. I am not sure that he ever found the New World, but let's hope that he has now.