Too Good For The War Junkies - R.I.P. Hunter S. Thompson

Last Rumble In Fat City (For All Of Us); Never Apologize, Never Explain; Whooping It Up With the War Junkies; More Notes On The Death Of The American Dream; Get Out While You Can

 . . .

Hunter S. Thompson died 10 years ago this afternoon when a .45 caliber bullet fired from a Smith & Wesson Model 645 he was holding passed through his brain.

He wanted it that way.

Hunter was a profoundly gifted writer, sportsman, gun lover, and cultural icon.  Mostly he was my mentor.  No one affected my view of life more profoundly than he did.  And, I miss him. Fear and Loathing in L... Hunter S. Thompson Best Price: $1.92 Buy New $4.96 (as of 03:15 EST - Details)

But, I am glad he is not here today, not forced to watch the death of the American Dream he predicted 40 years ago play out like a slow motion train wreck at the hands of low-rent fascists and warmongers while the anesthetized General Public looks the other way at the Super Bowl or Kim Kardashian’s ass, or wherever they are told to look at by the New Owners.

Hunter never liked government, he hated politicians, and it became especially painful for him in the final years to watch liberties washed away in the wave of fear that was 9/11.  Indeed, on that fateful morning, Hunter wrote prophetically, “The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it:  We are At War now — with somebody — and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives.”

And, we have.

A Kingdom of Fear

“America… a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.”  – Hunter S. Thompson

In the years since 9/11, America has become an oligarchy and full-bore police state with a happy face painted over a pallet of ugly reality.  Bush used 9/11 as a reason to destroy what was left of the Constitution with the Patriot Act that led to the secret wiretapping of American citizens, causing Hunter to wonder out loud, “Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads?”  Civil liberties advocates were likewise outraged and none of it made one bit of difference.  No one wanted to hear Hellu2019s Angels: A S... Hunter S. Thompson Best Price: $2.73 Buy New $9.98 (as of 07:55 EST - Details) about someone else’s Constitutional rights when they were fear-pissing down their own legs.  Besides, argue the brain dead, “we have a choice.”  Indeed you do — between two sides of the same coin.

The Patriot Act turned out to be the warmup for the main acts that were to follow.  Today, the government can intercept Americans’ international communications without a warrant as long as one party to the communication is “reasonably believed” to be outside the US, as if being outside the U.S. is probable cause to believe someone is committing a crime.  The government can now search any documents or papers, including the entire contents of laptops and other electronic devices, without any suspicion of wrongdoing whatsoever.  Per a secret Department of Homeland Security report, having a laptop computer or cell phone within 100 miles of any U.S. border results in the complete eradication of your Fourth Amendment right to privacy—and more specifically the right to be free from unreasonable searches. When asked how they came to the conclusion that was Constitutional, their answer was the same as always:  “It’s for your own good,” and if you don’t like that answer, then how about this one:  “Fuck you, we’re the government,” or words to that effect.

After 9/11, the US began incarcerating so-called “enemy combatants” in military detention without charge and without according them the status or rights of prisoners of war, all with the Supreme Court’s approval, of course.  That included a Muslim friend of mine who was standing behind the counter of his convenience store one day and gone the next, deported to Jordan by the U.S. government.  Why?  Because they could.  The fact there was no war was irrelevant and everything seems fixable via semantics in the “land of the free.”  In the U.S. government’s view, the entire world, every square foot, is the battlefield, and if the U.S. government doesn’t like you, you just may be an “enemy combatant,” giving them the self-ascribed right to torture and kill you with impunity.

Obama was going to change all that, or so he said, including closing Guantanamo Bay, but instead ended up expanding that prison where people just disappear, people against whom there is insufficient evidence to get a conviction or where The Curse of Lono (VARIA) Hunter S Thompson Best Price: $94.98 Buy New $144.85 (as of 08:20 EST - Details) the evidence against them has been tainted by U.S. torture.  And while Obama threw a bone to civil rights advocates, banning the use of torture by U.S. military and intelligence personnel, he has steadfastly refused to permit any review of Bush’s use of certain interrogation techniques that violate at least a dozen treaties and international laws.  “Can’t breathe underwater?  What a bitch!”  And, to show the world the U.S. is still the 900-pound gorilla with a serious grudge to settle, Obama continues the policy of certain “renditions” — where prisoners the U.S. government no longer can torture are sent to other countries where they can be tortured there.

Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) under cover of night on December 31, 2012, a law that permits the indefinite detention of American citizens without charge or trial.  Combined with dozens of other Executive Orders and laws passed to “protect” us from terrorism, America has become an unmitigated police State, and the most nauseating part is that most Americans didn’t even notice, and now ten years later, are more interested in when the new IPhone 7 will release, no doubt providing government even more access to their miserable little lives, another incursion they choose to ignore.

With the expansion of drone attacks and Executive Orders that suspend all civil and Constitutional rights at the stroke of a pen, FEMA has gone from flood assistance to the manager of an America under Martial Law.  Federal agencies with no ostensible use for guns or ammunition have ordered billions of rounds, including FEMA that also sports 2,500 brand new GLS armored fighting vehicles that for sure won’t be used to fight forest fires, and a “corps” of young people reminiscent of the Hitler Youth of the 1930’s. You think these kids would kill you if ordered to do so?  Yeah, me, too.

And FEMA is only one agency among many that purports to need a lot of killing tools, which makes sense only if government has no limitations.  The Department of Homeland Security recently bought enough ammunition to wage a 7-year war with the American people along bulletproof checkpoint booths with stop and go lights which can be used for, well, your imagination is as good as mine. Fear and Loathing on t... Thompson, Hunter S. Best Price: $10.85 Buy New $13.10 (as of 01:30 EST - Details)

The list of Constitutional violations goes on but that’s enough for now and would have been far too many for Hunter.

Guns:  Not Theirs, Yours

“Freedom is something that dies unless it is used.” – Hunter S. Thompson

As civil liberties are peeled away, government is presented with a final hurdle before control over the herd is complete:  guns.  Not their guns, but those 300 million guns in the hands of citizens.  That just won’t do.  At some point, Joe Lunchbucket is going to wake up and not like what he sees out his front door and if he has an AR-15 with 1,000 rounds of ballistic ammunition, he can express his displeasure in a meaningful way.  Joe’s guns and millions of others clearly need to be collected and turned over to government.  That is the clear intent of the oligarchy.  The only question is “how?”

Like the rest of our civil liberties that have been burned unceremoniously on the altar of 9/11, and the irrational fears that resulted, what government needed to move the herd in the direction of gun control and ultimate confiscation is exactly what happened:  a maniac with a semi-automatic rifle (conveniently the exact type the government wishes to ban first) entered (or was released) into an elementary school to murder children and their teachers.  A better anecdotal case for gun control could not have been scripted, unless, of course, it was scripted.  (Now, before I am arrested for that observation, I hasten to add that I am not saying the government was behind it, but only that it would not surprise me if they were.  For sure government at all levels participated in the Big Lie and coverup that followed.  The mainstream press ignored the obvious and material, as did Obama and most Democrats in Congress, and all jumped on the event as a justification to ignore the Second Amendment, characterize gun owners as trigger-happy paranoid freaks, and outlaw weapons that look like (but are not) military weapons, stop the sale of high capacity magazines, and eliminate the right to sell any firearm without registration.  Laws were passed in several States regulating so-called “assault rifles,” ignoring the fact that these type of weapons are used in only about 7% of all crimes involving guns.  Indeed, shotguns (like the one being used by Obama in his recent effort to prove he is not anti-(all) guns) are used in crimes considerably more often than the weapons he claims pose an intolerable threat to public safety. The Great Shark Hunt: ... Thompson, Hunter S. Best Price: $0.99 Buy New $8.49 (as of 05:00 EST - Details)

In the wake of the shooting, President Barack Obama assembled a task force who, not surprisingly, suggested an assault weapons ban, a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines, universal background checks for gun sales and making gun trafficking a federal crime.

The Senate barely killed a deal, mostly because the National Rifle Association and other Second Amendment organizations pulled out the stops and threatened to pull the money plug on those voting for more limitations on gun ownership.

Since then, the mainstream press, acting as the PR agency of government, is now focusing on domestic violence as still another reason to confiscate. In the last 12 months, lawmakers in at least 12 states have proposed legislation that would make it harder for people accused or convicted of domestic-violence charges to get or keep a firearm.  That’s right, “accused.”

Note to file:  Anyone can be “accused” of anything.

In a new and ominous development, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) is planning on issuing regulations that won’t take up guns, but will make ammunition for one of the most popular rifles in history to become unavailable.  Their intent is to reclassify some of the most commonly available ammunition for the popular AR-15 rifle as “armor piercing” and ban its sale, distribution, and manufacture.  No matter that it has never been considered “armor-piercing” before (mostly because it won’t pierce any serious armor).

Where this goes from here should be obvious to even a casual observer.  The right to bear arms will continue to be weakened until it is as meaningless as the right to due process and equal protection.  My guess, only a guess, is that the U.S. will The Rum Diary: A Novel Thompson, Hunter S. Best Price: $0.10 Buy New $7.48 (as of 06:55 EST - Details) drift toward the way of Canada and requires an advance “license” to purchase a gun with a requirement to then register it under penalty of law.  That way government will have all the information they need to do with guns what they did (and may do again) with gold — confiscate them.

Even Mexico has been drawn into the play orchestrated by Washington, not surprising since the U.S. funds its drug war south of the border to the tune of nearly $10 billion a year.  After the ignominy of the U.S. letting weapons walk across the border into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, Mexico is now requesting a list of all weapons sold in U.S. States that border their country, under the auspices of tracking down weapons that are used in crimes there.  One need not wonder long to know that the U.S. is behind that request.  Next will be demands under various treaties and war drums against guns will be heard even louder.  The irony of it all will be missed, intentionally.  Mexico, with some of the strongest gun laws in the world, is one of the planet’s murder capitals with 120,000 killed and some 25,000 disappeared over the last six years.  Why?  Because in Mexico only the bad guys have good guns.  That same reality has permitted horrible human rights violations against a defenseless population by the Mexican military.  Indeed, in the last five years, the Mexican military opened some 5,000 investigations into human rights violations, almost all of which go exactly nowhere.

Soon, owning the wrong kind of firearm, a magazine that holds more rounds than the government is comfortable with, along with thousands of laws and regulations that provide criminal penalties for behaviors we all engage in daily, will make us all criminals and it will be open season on those the government finds most corrosive to their plans.

Hunter was a big fan of guns and of the Second Amendment.  He would have probably put one of those guns in his mouth today if he hadn’t already done so ten years ago.  Hunter knew the endgame, in 1971 lamenting that “in a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught.  In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”

Indeed.  That is where we find ourselves.  “Don’t get caught.”  “Don’t be stupid.”

In other words, get out while you can.

(A different version of this article was published by The Dollar Vigilante in 2013.)

Political Theatre

LRC Blog

LRC Podcasts