Hunter S. Thompson died today from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Another suicide. Gonzo journalism. My kind of journalist. My kind of hero, so of course he went out the way he did. Why would a 67 year old man commit suicide? Why not last a few more years? After all, you’ve come this far. I am familiar with suicide. Seen a lot of death in my short lifetime, but suicide is the worst kind of death. Hunter S. took journalism to a whole other level. He was a complete original and stayed true to what he was: a rebellious, drug-using, political activist who was around to take advantage of the 60’s movement. Through the craziness of the time and of his own life, he managed to obtain success. “A doctor of journalism, man.” In the wake of dying icons from his generation, another name is prematurely added to the list. It is a sad day for me and many others. A sad day for aspiring writers and up-and-coming journalists already burnt out with and uninterested in the mundane chores of hard news, inverted pyramids, and the who, what, when, why, where and how of a repeated story. He broke the confining boundaries of journalism and went for it. Wrote what he wanted to write.
His friends say he was the last person they ever thought would kill himself, but don’t they always say that? It’s not comforting to think that suicide may still seem like an option in the twilight years. It’s a young man’s disease, you grow out of it – you grow out of suicide? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
Well, Hunter S., your death made the news. Maybe you were sick of where the world was heading. Maybe you were sick of yourself. Maybe you were just sick, but whatever the reason, I wish you well on the other side. I wish you well where tides roll back and return again, just for you, one last time.