Simon Johnson February 22, 2005 8:58 AM

I think when he shot himself we all lost something..

In the words of Thompson himself: “I would feel real trapped in life if I didn’t know I could commit suicide at any time”

Another favourite quote of mine is: “I don’t like to advocate alchol, drugs, violence and insanity but they’ve always worked for me!”


Mark Johnson February 22, 2005 10:51 AM

So is it the man “who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed” who has made life possible for the man “who has braved the storm of life and lived?” Or is it the other way around? What if we all were risk takers?

Davi Ottenheimer February 22, 2005 11:48 AM

A nice variation on one of my favorite quotes: “A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are built for.”

If Hunter were listening, I would tell him we are truly secure when we can take risks and achieve reward. I believe that is the same as what he was trying to say…

This might not be totally fair to Hunter, but as much as he detested Nixon and W I do not think he ever criticized them for their carelessness with the law and love of high-stakes risk. They certainly meet his criteria for someone who “shaped the destiny of the world”.

Davi Ottenheimer February 22, 2005 11:55 AM

Nice link. I found this bit especially interesting:
“Those in control are not necessarily trustworthy. More importantly, authority is not necessarily to be obeyed, and certainly not feared. There is always a way to challenge authority, either in the courtroom or in the media or in the voting booth.”

Perhaps Hunter might have put it another way: “those in control, really aren’t, but it takes guts to be honest about one’s true relationship with others and lead them without lying”.

Chris Walsh February 22, 2005 1:04 PM

I’ll miss Hunter, too. I find it interesting that probably half of the personal (versus corporate) infosec sites I monitor have mentioned his passing.

I’ll have to hit the archives and see if the same held true for, say, Frank Zappa.

Damian February 22, 2005 1:16 PM

“Security, by Hunter S. Thompson” — what about it, Bruce?”


For whom?

Driving while drunk, a glass of whisky in hand; discharging firearms at the houses of people one considers to be arriviste ; beating women. All in all, behaving as a kind of pseudo-French aristocrat. Solipsim is not a pretty ideology. Risk for others.

Here is real risk-taking within an altruistic context: an army officer taking risks for his men for whom he felt a responsibilty. If this generation were not so corrupt it would feel humility and cry when reading such things, instead of honouring scoundrels like Thompson:

“Single-handedly, Cain destroyed three Tiger tanks, standing in the open a few yards from the enemy with an unreliable Piat anti-tank weapon.  At one point, he waited until a tank was just 20 yards away from him before opening fire. Although wounded by machine-gun bullets and falling masonry, Major Cain continued to fire, scoring several direct hits until he had immobilised the tank. He was temporarily blinded but after recovering, he led the defence with such ferocity that the Germans were eventually forced to withdraw, allowing Cain’s men to escape across the Rhine.”

Stuart Berman February 22, 2005 6:55 PM

Thanks – finally a clear comment!

Our life is full of risk, we can’t cower in fear.

But Thompson epitomized reckless irresponsibility. That he killed himself doesn’t bother me as much as the thought that he might have killed someone else in a drug or booze inspired stupor. A man in that state simply isn’t capable of weighing the risks at hand and making an informed decision.

Mana November 23, 2008 3:21 AM

If my math is correct, he must have written this when he was 17. That’s astounding! As a writer, I am humbled and humiliated.

The man was a genius. It is too bad he’s not still here to say it like it is.

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