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Hunter S. Thompson Gun Wisdom

Hello. In one of the blog emails sent today from Ben McNeely said "What would Hunter Thompson say about the the Va. Tech massacre?"   I’m not precient. But it is a good question. I ‘ve selected a few parts from some interviews that Hunter has done in the past that you might find interesting: 

Salon.com Interview – February 3, 2003

Salon.com: Indeed, your author blurb says you live in "a fortified compound near Aspen, Colorado." In what sense is it fortified and why does it need to be?
HST: Actually, I live in an extremely pastoral setting in an old log house. It’s a farm really. I moved here 30 years ago. I think the only fortification might be my reputation. If people believe they’re going to be shot, they might stay away.

Salon.com: Yes, I understand you’re a gun enthusiast, to put it euphemistically. But do you support more restrictive gun laws? Do you support a ban on assault weapons?

HST: I have one or two of those, but I got them before they were illegal. In that case, if I were sure that any tragedies and mass murders would be prevented, I’d give up my assault rifle. But I don’t really believe that. Do I have any illegal weapons? No. I have a .454 magnum revolver, which is huge, and it’s absolutely legal. One day I was wild-eyed out here with Johnny Depp, and we both ordered these guns from Freedom, Wyo., and got them the next day through FedEx. Mainly, I have rifles, pistols, shotguns; I have a lot of those. But everything I have is top quality; I don’t have any junk weapons. I wouldn’t have any military weapon around here, except as an artifact of some kind. Given Ashcroft and the clear blueprint of this administration to make everything illegal and everything suspicious — how about suspicion of being a terrorist sympathizer? Goddamn, talk about filling up your concentration camps. But, yeah, my police record is clean. This is not a fortified compound.

Salon.com: So, just to clarify, how do your views stack up with the NRA’s?

HST: I think I’m still a life member of the NRA. I formed a gun club out here, an official sporting club, and I got charter from the NRA. That made it legal to have guns here, to bring guns here, to have ammunition sent here, that sort of thing. I’ve found you can deal with the system a lot easier if you use their rules — by understanding their rules, by using their rules against them. I talk to a lot of lawyers. You know, I consider Pat Buchanan a friend. I don’t agree with him on many things. Personally, I enjoy him. I just like him. And I learn from Pat. One of the things I’m most proud of is that I never had anybody busted, arrested, jailed for my writing about them. I never had any — what’s that? — collateral damage.

Salon.com: But speaking of rules, you’ve been arrested dozens of times in your life. Specific incidents aside, what’s common to these run-ins? Where do you stand vis–vis the law?

HST: Goddammit. Yeah, I have. First, there’s a huge difference between being arrested and being guilty. Second, see, the law changes and I don’t. How I stand vis–vis the law at any given moment depends on the law. The law can change from state to state, from nation to nation, from city to city. I guess I have to go by a higher law. How’s that? Yeah, I consider myself a road man for the lords of karma.

The Book Report.com interview 

Question: How do you reconcile your liberal politics with gun ownership? Is that not a contradiction?

HST: I think George Washington owned guns. I’ve never seen any contradiction with that. I’m not a liberal, by the way. I think that’s what’s wrong with liberals. I believe I have every right to have guns. I just bought another huge weapon. A lot of people shouldn’t own guns. I should. I have a safety record. Guns are a lot of fun out here.

Bookpgsara: As somebody who likes guns and has taken part in his share of violence and anarchism. What do you think of Timothy McVeigh?

HST Oh boy. Well, if he did that — apparently the jury has spoken — if I were him, I’d prefer the death penalty. If he blew up that building and killed that many people, we have to accept that, just like we had to accept that OJ Simpson was declared not guilty. I’d rather be hung or shot or executed than spend my life in prison. If he did that he deserves to die. I can’t conceive of doing that kind of damage.

Bookpgsara: You can’t imagine that much violence?! Wow. You seem so mellow…how come you are so mellow? Have you just become an old softie?

I was always a softie. But it always helps to win. To be right. You can afford to be a little more mellow.


From Playboy article done by Tim Mohr 2004

On Firearms

My parents weren’t gun people. Growing up I didn’t know much of anything about guns except that my parents didn’t want me to have a .22. A BB gun was okay. But I found a .22 anyway. I would shoot at lights out of the back of my house, out my bedroom window. There was an alley between the houses. There were light bulbs on the brick garages in the alley. They had metal grilles protecting them, like jail bars, so it was kind of a trick to hit the bulbs.
It was extremely dangerous. Some kid who shouldn’t have had a gun, experimenting, shooting out of his bedroom, shooting down into the alley. I had no intention of doing anything other than putting out light bulbs. But I think about it now and think about what could have happened. The odds are going to catch up to you sometime if you keep shooting into the same passageway.
When I got to the military all I knew was the .22. The most accurate weapon in my house is an Olympic pellet gun — single shot, .17 caliber, pneumatic. I can hit a dime across the living room with it. It was given to me by the Mitchell brothers. I would pack it when I worked at their cinema. At the time it was the standard for Olympic shooting competitions.
For conditioning gunstocks, linseed is a good natural oil, but it has a tendency to be sticky. Tung oil is the thing.


Until next time, your friend

Anita Thompson




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