HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a Warrior

Hunter Thompson's son and daughter-in-law are interviewed in today's Rocky Mountain News. It's long, so here's a recap:

Hunter S. Thompson died Sunday as he planned: surrounded by his family, at a high point in his life, and with a single, courageous and fatal gunshot wound to the head, his son says. His son and daughter-in-law could not be sadder. And they could not be prouder. ...The couple chose to speak out for the first time since Thompson's suicide because they believe the act has been misunderstood. "Some people said, 'How could he do this?'

"I don't know why he chose this moment," Juan Thompson said. "But he was quite clear about what he was doing and he was going to go out on his own terms on his own time."...The fact that the relatives see Thompson's suicide in a different light has not lessened their pain — as evidenced by the roll of toilet paper on the couch filling in for the tissues they have used up.

Juan says Hunter was not coming off a drug or alchohol binge:

Did Hunter Thompson have his favorite liquid sidekick, a glass of Chivas Regal on the counter? "Of course he did," Juan Thompson said.

But he emphasized that his father was not in a state. "He was rested," he said. "He got a night's sleep. He was calm. A lot of people figure it was the end of a five-night binge. It was a deliberate choice. It wasn't something made in a drug or alcohol fog. "The guy was a warrior, and he went out like a warrior."

Juan, who found Hunter in the kitchen, says the death wasn't peaceful, but it wasn't violent:

When Thompson fired his .45-caliber handgun at 5:42 p.m., Winkel Thompson was with Will in the adjacent living room. Juan Thompson was in a nearby office. Both thought the explosion was a book falling. Winkel Thompson continued playing 20 questions with Will. Juan Thompson continued taking a photo. Until a few minutes later.

"When I found him, he was in his chair, his head was slumped forward," Juan Thompson recounted. "It looked like he had fallen asleep. I saw him. I thought, 'Oh, did he fall asleep in his chair?'

"You never describe a gun as peaceful, but it wasn't violent."

Juan approves of the plan to shoot Hunter's ashes out of a cannon. He envisions low-flying airplanes overhead.

Juan Thompson says the idea is "totally fitting. I was thinking the other day of Hunter lying in a coffin with ministers over him. Good God, that's wrong."

As to Owl Farm, Hunter's Woody Creek compound, it will stay in the family:

While Hunter Thompson's ashes would be scattered to the winds, his family said Tuesday that his house and property will stay. If his wife, Anita Thompson, does not stay on the place alternately called Owl Farm and a "fortified compound," they will preserve the house, land and cannon. "It will be a permanent installation," Winkel Thompson said. "You don't dismantle it, then put it in the garage."

On the public memorial planned for this summer:

Details on the public celebration of Hunter Thompson's life are still open, but Winkel Thompson referenced his proclivity for a bit of cross-dressing. The event could include music, readings and, she said, "lots of lipstick."

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    This takes the Left's newfound culture of death one step further towards its own demise.

    Maybe a Rainbow Warrior..... -C

    Whassamatta Dagma, too chickensh*t to post your name today next to your totally BS "well-meaning advice" to the Left?

    Re: HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 24, 2005 at 12:34:37 PM EST
    "culture of death"....too funny. It was his life, he had enough of it, so he ended it. I have no problems with that.

    Re: HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a (none / 0) (#6)
    by ras on Thu Feb 24, 2005 at 12:38:09 PM EST
    PJB, If you're referring to the first post, that was me, not Dagma. This site has never really remembered its commenters' profiles very well. As a result I think all of us have left unsigned comments at times. You will, too. As for the substance of my comment, I stand by it. Note that HST himself is not the "step" to which I refer (taking metaphors literally is a sign of an impending schizophrenic breakdown, or so they used to say; do they still?) The step I refer to is the step of embracing suicide as a healthy and courageous act. Philosophically, that's a huge step. There is only one other movement in the world that does so, at present. I would recommend strongly against this belief. The idea that healthy people are courageous when they kill themselves will lead to a lot of unnecessary and tragic deaths. There is nothing at all courageous in such an act. And yes, the Left has indeed been pushing a growing trend towards the glorification of death. This latest is merely one of the clearer examples. Moving along, I do wonder, tho, how broadly based this movement really is, or is it instead a top-down phenomenon that a few higher-ranking Lefties are trying to advocate. Let's try a sample: presuming HST's family is telling the truth - i.e. that HST was a healthy man: 1. was his suicide a courageous act? y/n 2. should it be promoted as a courageous act? y/n What think? Oh, and for purposes of clarity, if you don't consider yourself a Leftie, please say so, cuz I'm really more interested in a sampling of grassroots Leftie thought. Thx.

    Re: HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 24, 2005 at 12:45:44 PM EST
    First, I wouldn't consider HST a part of the "left", he was a one-of-a-kind. Second, anyone else's opinion on whether his suicide was courageous or not is irrelevant. It was his life, he did with it what he wished. Case closed. It shouldn't be politicized.

    Re: HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a (none / 0) (#8)
    by ras on Thu Feb 24, 2005 at 01:02:42 PM EST
    kdog, The name of this site is TalkLeft.com, and the praise and attention being heaped on HST is open and honest. I see no hidden motive, other than to express genuine admiration. If you are embarrassed to come out and say that you find HST's suicide wither courageous, or not, that's fine. Is this something the Left embraces, but doesn't wanna say they do? It looks that way based on Leftie leaders, but those leaders might not be in tune with their grassroots. That's why I want to hear peoples' own opinions. It tells all of us a lot about the sorts of philosophies & policies future Left candidates might implement, if elected, since those candidates will first be supported by their own base.

    Re: HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 24, 2005 at 01:17:52 PM EST
    I'm of no opinion on whether his suicide was courageous or not. It's what he wanted, and that's fine with me. Nothing left or right about it in my opinion, just one man's choice.

    ras troll of the 2d Order, frames nonsense in intellectual sounding jargon. the choice of suicide, like most other choice's the left believe in are personal choice's, it matters not weather its courageous or idiotic to anyone else, it was his right as a free willed human being, in addition his family is straight with it, were present and aware of his intentions. i suppose you would have rushed to prevent his suicide, then locked him in jail for the rest of his life for attempted murder. misguided your brain is. nothing you do or say will lessen the coming wrath of the american people against the rep party, your assault on a deadmans character not withstanding.

    Re: HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a (none / 0) (#11)
    by alapip on Thu Feb 24, 2005 at 01:42:57 PM EST
    Must be it was a false rumor he was experiencing intense, increasing and incurable back pain in recent months? Maybe he decided to 'go out' before he became dependent, which would not be at all surprising from a man such as he. another question - Where are some persons getting the idea the Left is somehow promoting a "culture of death"? Seems more like the neocon hawks on the right and the fundie Rapturists fit that definition more closely.

    Left is somehow promoting a "culture of death"?
    deflection; alapip an old rep strategy. keep their mind off the pertinent issue, talk about bj's, smoking pot, or illegal precedents (clinton did it)

    Re: HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a (none / 0) (#13)
    by ras on Thu Feb 24, 2005 at 02:00:18 PM EST
    alapip, Yes, that's why I said "presuming ... that HST was a healthy man" This issue here is not one of hastening a painful demise; rather, it's the Left's general attitude towards suicide that interests me. So far, it appears that my q has struck a nerve; lotsa insults & more-than-lotsa dodging, but little willingness to answer a simple query: i.e. do you think it was courageous? y/n. The corollary that has since arisen - i.e. why do you think this is such a tough q for so many people - can wait for another day.

    ras, it's not necessarily a matter of the question being "tough" as much as it is a matter of us rejecting your attempt to frame the issue in this particular way. You, apparently, find the question you asked interesting and worthwhile; many of us don't. And if anyone is promoting a culture of death, it is the war-mongering Right.

    Re: HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a (none / 0) (#15)
    by Che's Lounge on Thu Feb 24, 2005 at 02:12:10 PM EST
    I echo Kdog. We neither condone it nor deride it. Hope to see many of you at the memorial this summer. Should be a hoot!

    Re: HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a (none / 0) (#16)
    by Johnny on Thu Feb 24, 2005 at 02:37:00 PM EST
    It was his choice, and I don't see how it is any of our business how his family views it. As far as the culture of death crack, is it better to cultivate a culture of death via suicide or via war? Simplistic yes...But a valid sticking point I believe. But whatever, what I notice about suicide is that no-one EVER questions the sanity of those that do it. They always "have to have a problem". Why isn't it enough that he was done living?

    ras, HST's suicide was neither courageous nor cowardly, and his decision says no more about the left than does his decision to take a whole sheet of acid or buy 20 guns - he never intended to be a role model for mainstream progressives. Sure, he has been posthumously celebrated on this site but also in the Wall Street Journal, etc. I don't think suicide is ever particularly courageous, and more often than not, it's cowardly, as where a person is trying to escape from their responsibilities. HST was 67, those he left behind will be well taken care of and, as the interview explains, his family was prepared for his suicide 10 years in advance. And you're wrong that there's only one culture that endorses suicide. The Japanese samurai culture harikiri thing does not seem an apt comparison to me, but if that's what gets his son to sleep at night, whatever. Unlike, say, Bill Bennett, HST put his vices on the table and held himself out as a bad example. This doesn't have anything to do with the demise of the Left. Ha. Hope you right wingers are enjoying your own high water mark period, because it's not going to last, and the tide will roll back on yaal soon enough.

    Re: HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a (none / 0) (#18)
    by jondee on Thu Feb 24, 2005 at 03:12:06 PM EST
    Tell me ras,is it tough getting through chicken wire with an egg in your mouth? HST was/is a promoter of "the culture of death"? Oh,you just meant that metaphorically - so he and his work are a metaphor for the culture of death - but,of course youre not celebrating his death or disparaging the thoughts of his family - afterall,youre a good-doer not an evil-doer - promoting the culture of life.

    Btw - On your pretending-you-dont- understand typical weasel responce to Leslie - the "frame" she was refering to was your original post,as she made abundantly clear.

    Re: HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a (none / 0) (#20)
    by jondee on Thu Feb 24, 2005 at 03:39:58 PM EST
    Of course blowing Iraqi kids to smithereens and railroading and lethely-injecting underrepresented prisoners for political gain are most assuredly life giving acts - in the looking-glass world.

    Re: HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a (none / 0) (#21)
    by Adept Havelock on Thu Feb 24, 2005 at 08:45:48 PM EST
    This was one man following through on a choice. He had discharged his duties as best he could beforehand, and took care of business. Do I praise him for it? No. Do I condemn him for it? No. I simply figure liberty is based upon an individuals control over their own life. This, to me anyway, leads directly to the notion that this should include the right to end it. I have my own prejudice in this manner. I've watched some very slow ugly deaths. When my time comes, time and circumstances permitting, I will thank the Conceierge and Manager for a lovely stay, turn in my keys, and check out. If time and circumstance do not, that's what a living will is for. HST, RIP.

    Re: HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a (none / 0) (#22)
    by jondee on Fri Feb 25, 2005 at 02:11:28 PM EST
    ras - No,actually,first you made an anonymous proclamation which you tried to wriggle away from, then you "asked". Hundreds,if not thousands,of people commit suicide in the U.S every year - catch a clue; theyre not all left wing liberals. None of us are in a position to judge the couragousness or lack thereof of the circumstances of Thompsons death without knowing the intimate particulars of his life in a way that his son is in a much better position than you or I. But,dont let that stop you from making cheap political fodder out of it or using it in yet another underhanded smear manuver - we're all well aware of what wholesome "values" your side has.

    Re: HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a (none / 0) (#23)
    by glanton on Fri Feb 25, 2005 at 02:34:44 PM EST
    ras, We all understand your question, but its the wrong question. How can we know what was in his head when he did this? Whether it was an act of "courage" or of "despair" or "something else" is just semantics, us applying words to establish some Grand Narrative. The uselesness of the word "courage" has been proven by the fact that you and others have on this very website applied it to politicans who sent others into harm's way at no risk whatever to themselves or theirs. Yeah, Bush is a "brave President" all right. Your definition of courage is ersatz. If you have never hit rock bottom and seriously thought about doing this, you don't know what the hell you're talking about. Puff your chest, call him a coward all you want. You have no idea, ras, none, and while I don't either, I at least have the good sense and the decency to recognize that. All these people coming on here attacking HST are only doing so because some of us love him. What kind of motivation is that anyway? Yes, some of us admire artists and thinkers, people who add a little grace and beauty to the world, rather than lionizing some politician or military General.

    Re: HST: Son is Sad But Proud, He Went Out Like a (none / 0) (#24)
    by ras on Fri Feb 25, 2005 at 03:00:38 PM EST
    Glanton, I asked the question: do you think HST's suicide was an act of courage? I asked it because HST's own family described it that way, the theme then being emphasized by TL's title of her post, that HST "went out like a warrior." [Dunno if that was TL's own opinion of the suicide or her quoting the son, san quote marks; couldn't tell] Is it the right q? Well, both HST's son and TL seemed to think so, as they answered it without it even being asked. And I did note that I was asking it on the presumption that HST was in good health at the time. Jondee, Man, you are more fun than you know. I learn so much from you. Luv ya, bro!

    I hope Phil Bronstein comes in a dress -- and full make up