*Bang!* *Splat!* Hunter S. Thompson, the Gonzo Godfather, is dead, slain by his own hand … Maybe.
The “official” story is that on Feb. 20, 2005, Hunter S. Thompson put a Smith & Wesson 645 Semi-automatic handgun to his head and fired one round, dying instantly. The first reports of his passing said Thompson was in his home’s kitchen on the phone with his wife, Anita, talking about finishing his latest ESPN column. Anita claims he set the phone down and she heard a “loud, muffled noise” and she was “waiting for him to get back on the phone.”
Rocky Mountain News reporter Jeff Kass got the story from another angle. Anita reportedly told Kass, “I did not hear a bang.” In another report, Anita is reported to have said, “I heard the clicking of the gun.” Hunter’s son and daughter-in-law, Juan and Jennifer Winkle Thompson, were also at the home that day. Anita told Kass that Juan heard a noise, but characterized it as the sound of a book falling from a shelf, not a gunshot.
Then, a second account of Hunter’s death surfaced. This new telling claims that Hunter was sitting in front of his typewriter near the kitchen table. This recounting has replaced the first story of Thompson being in the kitchen at the time of his death. He was, supposedly, sitting at a table pecking away at keys and talking to Anita on the phone when he died. He set the phone down mid-sentence and pulled the trigger. In his typewriter was stationary from the Fourth Amendment Foundation, a group established to defend citizens from illegal search and seizure. His final written word: “councilor.” That’s it. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less. Citizen Kane, anyone?
The shell casing was found behind his body, resting in the stove’s hood in the kitchen. At Thompson’s feet rested a felt-lined gun case, where he kept his Smith & Wesson 99.45 ACP (automatic pistol cartridge). The S&W .45 caliber is a powerful weapon; a super-handgun, so to speak. I have fired a 45 handgun, though not that particular model, and it really packs a wallop! However, there is reason to suspect this gun may not have been used in the suicide.
The firearm, Smith & Wesson model 99.45 APC, had six bullets remaining in its clip. There was no bullet in the chamber, however. The reason this is significant is because the ACP version of this semi-automatic would have immediately slapped another slug into the chamber once it fired. Police Investigator Joseph DiSalvo said he did not check the gun, but had it been set on manual cycle the clip would not have automatically reloaded it. Problem is, the S&W 99.45 APC does not have a manual cycle. The gun would have had to malfunction in order for this to happen. Given Hunter’s renown as an Outlaw Journalist and Weapons Expert, the possibility that a gun he kept in a velvet-lined case malfunctioned just after he used it to kill himself is certainly poetic, but highly dubious.
Also questionable is why there was no forensic investigation to establish gunpowder residue. If Hunter shot himself in the head using that gun, then there would be residue all over the gun, the table, and his typewriter, not to mention his hands and face. Matching the gunpowder residue on two surfaces at the scene of a possible crime is standard operating procedure for forensic teams. Why was this study not conducted in this case? So far, there is no answer to that question.
On Feb. 19, 2005, Hunter S. Thompson calls Paul William Roberts, writer for the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. According to a report written by Roberts, later published in the Toronto Globe, Thompson had phoned him that night, frantic over something. The article reads, “It wasn't always easy to understand what he said, particularly over the phone, he mumbled, yet when there was something he really wanted you to understand, you did. He'd been working on a story about the World Trade Center attacks and had stumbled across what he felt was hard evidence showing the towers had been brought down not by the airplanes that flew into them but by explosive charges set off in their foundations. Now he thought someone was out to stop him publishing it: ‘They're gonna make it look like suicide,’ he said. ‘I know how these bastards think.’”
So, we know that Hunter was working on a story about the World Trade Center. Many people believe that two 747 jetliners could not have been enough to topple the towers. Hunter’s assertion that demolition charges were planted in the basements of either tower has an enormous following, and a very persuasive argument. Had Thompson discovered new information about this?
In 2003, Hunter gave an interview to KDNK radio in Colorado where he suggested he may be silenced. “Bush is really the evil one here and it is more than just him,” he explained to talk show host Alex Jones. “We are the Nazis in this game and I don't like it. I am embarrassed and I am pissed off. I mean to say something. I think a lot of people in this country agree with me...we'll see what happens to me if I get my head cut off next week -- it is always unknown or bushy-haired strangers who commit suicide right afterwards with no witnesses."
After his death, The Alex Jones show hosted Paul William Roberts, Hunter’s friend from The Globe and Mail. During the show a caller phoned in asking about Thompson’s connection to a decade’s old child prostitution story, “going all the way back to Kissinger.” Roberts confirmed that Thompson was working on the case. You can listen to the full audio of the program here.
A paraphrased transcription …
ALEX JONES: We're talking to a renowned journalist and writer, Paul William Roberts. Wrote a story for The Globe & Mail up in Canada where he talked about Hunter S. Thompson before he died mysteriously a few weeks ago, saying he believed the government may have been involved in 9/11, and he was concerned. He lived basically in a little armored compound... now they're saying he committed suicide.
But Paul has also interviewed people like Saddam Hussein; has written on the subject -- just this whole global empire...
CALLER "Scott from Texas": I was just wondering if you guys might be able to clear up something I heard through the journalist Sherman Skolnick. He is reporting that another story or book, I don't remember exactly which, that Hunter S. Thompson was working on was about this gay prostitution ring in the White House and supposedly that was another touchy topic that he brought out, and the whole...
JONES: Had you heard that from Hunter?
PAUL WILLAM ROBERTS: Yeah, I had heard that quite a lot from Hunter. It goes back to Kissinger, I believe.
ROBERTS: Yeah, in fact Lyndon LaRouche published some stuff about that. And although, you know, a lot of his material was not that trustworthy, in this particular case there were a lot of sources cited and there was no lawsuit. And where there's no lawsuit you can be almost guaranteed that it's true.
CALLER: And I'm wondering if that might not be a hotter issue otherwise, because you get into the Jeff Gannon case and the whole gay prostitution and that's a national security issue.
JONES: Well, Skolnick is saying that now, we're talking about some of the fake reporters, and we know that ... again I haven't confirmed that part of the story but I'd like to get some confirmation on that.
CALLER: And also it's interesting too because it dovetails with Jeff Gannon possibly being the leak that leaked the story about Valerie Plame ...
JONES: Well let me just add this. I mean, we have the New York Post: 'Top gay porn star services moguls at Bohemian Grove... I mean I have Parade magazine articles, Spy magazine articles from the 80s where, as I said they bus in the gay prostitutes like Beluga caviar for our "Christian conservative" leaders... And is that what Hunter S. Thompson was on to?
ROBERTS: He certainly knew all about that and I believe had written about it. I don't know whether there was a book in the works, but he certainly had published columns on it …
JONES: Well it certainly looks pretty suspicious. Man let me tell you.
Most people, and journalists, dismiss the idea of the powerful being serviced by little boys and fake reporters/gay prostitutes (like Jeff Gannon turned out to be). But there is some evidence to support the suspicion anyway. And who better to bring this to the forefront than Hunter S. Thompson? For those not in the know, Thompson was the journalist that drew the curtain back on the CIA’s drug running cabal. The intelligence group was funneling crack, LSD and cocaine into lower class and black communities to generate money for clandestine operations “off the books.” I do not claim to be an expert in this circus of deviancy. Nevertheless, there is enough reason to be suspicious ...
I admit to liking Thompson’s muckraking mostly because he struck hard with massive amounts of evidence, and it always touched someone with the “higher ups.” I am not above the speculation that Thompson was the only well known American journalist who could speak the truth about the perversion in seats of power.
Yet a higher cause for doubt was the arrest of a photographer who had been linked to the sex ring. His name was Russell E. "Rusty" Nelson, and he was incarcerated just two days after Hunter’s death. Nelson was supposedly a former employee of a Republican activist who set up social gatherings for the world’s most powerful pedophiles. Why was he arrested? I cannot find a reason. When he was incarcerated, a media blackout descended upon the circumstance. The link between the two was only made by journalist Tom Flocco, whom I find to be more entertaining than educational. Nevertheless, Thompson was working on the case. Had he discovered something damning?
Two days before his death, Hunter’s neighbor Mike Cleverly came over to watch football with him. He later told reporters that Hunter had broken his leg and was in a substantial amount of pain. Add that to his recent hip surgery and one could easily imagine an uncomfortable situation. However, Cleverly’s own words cast doubt of their own. "[Hunter] is the last person in the world I would have expected to kill himself,” he said. “I would have been less surprised if he had shot me.” Even the Sheriff Department’s Director of Investigations Joseph DiSalvo, also one of Hunter’s friends, said "This was not the way I expected Hunter to die."
"He wanted to leave on top of his game,” said Anita Thompson. “I wish I could have been more supportive of his decision." ‘‘One thing that he said many times was that, 'I’m a road man for the lords of Karma.’ It’s a cryptic saying,” said Juan Thompson. “But there’s an implication there that he may have decided that his work was done and that he didn’t want to overstay his welcome; it was time to go.’’
‘‘He’d gotten a good night’s sleep, he was calm, he was relaxed, he was quite clear,’’ said Juan. ‘‘He believed very much in controlling events rather than being controlled by them. I would hope that people see it in that light: That we’ll never know why he chose this time, but that he had a good reason, and that it was completely consistent with his life, rather than an act of despair.’’
I agree that an unexpected suicide would be contextually aligned with the life of Thompson. However, my puny little mind cannot grasp how a coroner failed to do an autopsy on Thompson’s body, how the police forensic unit failed to even detect the presence of gunpowder residue (let alone analyze the residue from two surfaces to verify the weapon), and how the automatic pistol cartridge failed to reload the chamber. To me, these reasons are enough to raise doubt in Hunter S. Thompson’s so-called suicide.
The final speculation: As Hunter spoke with Anita on the phone, an assassin entered his home confronted Thompson at gunpoint. Hunter saw the gunman and put the phone down slowly, eying the firearm. The intruder raised his gun and fired a single shot from a .45 caliber pistol with a silencer, putting the slug in Thompson’s head. As Hunter tumbled backwards, the assassin took the shell case and placed it in the stove’s hood. This is important because the stove was directly behind Thompson, in the kitchen several yards away. Shell casings fall down and away from the direction the gun was pointed. Hunter’s Smith & Wesson 99.45 ACP (said to be his favorite weapon) was nearby, as he was likely cleaning it at the table. The killer unfastened the clip, removed one bullet, then replaced cartridge. The murderer then put the gun next to Hunter’s fallen body, positioning the case near his feet. As Anita called out to her fallen husband on the other end of the line, his killer slipped away as quietly as he/she came.
As Hunter spoke with Anita on the phone, an assassin entered his home confronted Thompson at gunpoint. Hunter saw the gunman and put the phone down slowly, eying the firearm. The intruder presented a folded piece of paper to Hunter, motioning for him to take it as quietly as possible. The note may have contained several sentences: “Remain calm, or your family will die. If you want your son and wife to survive, you must kill yourself. Do it now.” Hunter, being a man of the brass tacks as he was, did not think twice. It was a simple motion; a flick of the wrist. He grasped the firearm, put it to his skull and pulled the trigger. As Anita called out to her fallen husband on the other end of the line, his killer slipped away as quietly as he/she came.
Since there was not even the semblance of a professional investigation into the death of Hunter S. Thompson, I put it to you: was the famous author murdered? Despite my history in journalism, this report should not be taken as fact. This is mostly speculation. The gun, the stories, the interviews, the gloom and doom, the sexual panorama … that is all true. It is my opinion that Hunter S. Thompson was murdered. It should be said that, in spite of a wealth of information suggesting otherwise, Thompson’s suicide is still a definite possibility.
But, with this thought in mind, I Insist that We Cannot Rule Out the forces of Old and Evil in the Apocryphal Death of Doctor Gonzo.
“If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.”
- Hunter S. Thompson