The only surprise is that we didn't see this one sooner…

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Hunter S. Thompson that-was-no-suicide conspiracy theory officially sets sail:

Paul William Roberts in his Globe and Mail article of Saturday, February 26, 2005 wrote the following:

Hunter telephoned me on Feb. 19, the night before his death. He sounded scared. 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 . . ."

Hunter S. Thompson … was indeed working on such a story.

Now check out this February 25 Associated Press story about Thompson's death. Sounds a lot like a professional hit with a silencer:

"I was on the phone with him, he set the receiver down and he did it. I heard the clicking of the gun," Anita Thompson told the Aspen Daily News in Friday's editions.

She said her husband had asked her to come home from a health club so they could work on his weekly ESPN column…

Thompson said she heard a loud, muffled noise, but didn't know what had happened. "I was waiting for him to get back on the phone," she said. (Her account to Rocky Mountain News reporter Jeff Kass is slightly different: "I did not hear any bang," she told Kass. She added that Thompson's son, who was in the house at the time, believed that a book had fallen when he heard the shot, according to Kass' report.)

Globe and Mail subscribers can get the whole story here. (Feel free to report any interesting details in the comments; I'd look into it myself but I'm still working out the bugs in my Nerine Shatner homicide scenario.)

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  1. oh bloody fucking hell.

    is this the best they can do?

  2. Is there an echo in here? Is there an echo in here?

  3. The whole “silenced pistol” thing is not plausible. While I’m not discounting the possibility that Thompson could have been murdered (while I find it very unlikely), the fact that she didn’t hear a “bang” doesn’t mean that a “silenced,” or more properly “suppressed,” firearm was used.

    Sound suppressors on firearms are good at reducing the sound signature, but nowhere near perfect. Most suppressors are used to change the sound of a firearm such that the noise becomes unrecognizable as a gunshot. All reduce the volume of the sound very significantly, but their greatest benefit comes from changing the pitch of the sound such that it can’t travel very far. High-pitched frequencies do not travel as far as low-pitched ones. Older suppressors focused more on reducing the overall sound, newer ones attempt to change the pitch upward so that the sound cannot be heard as far away from the shot. In fact, one of the biggest complaints about newer suppressors is that , form the shooter’s perspective, they are louder than the older ones.

    In typical military use of suppressors the point is to disguise the sound as not being a gunshot and to hide the source of the shot. In recreational cirlces, people use suppressors to save their hearing.

    Anyway, none of the phone call “evidence” really points to the use of a suppressed firearm.

  4. Do you have any idea what a silenced gunshot actually sounds like? And to db: a silencer and a supressor are two different things.

  5. Hmmm…you think having the gun in his mouth could have made a “loud, muffled noise”. Just curious.

  6. I never thought the suicide story added up, at least what was published in the press. Not that I believe this. Now, you would think, if he was on the phone with his wife and contemplating suicide at the same time, he would have something worthwhile to say, other than, ‘come home and help me work on my espn column’ ….bang

    You would think if he was going to do it, he would be a little more dramatic, have some kind of point, however twisted. Or maybe Im just guilty of idolatry.

  7. it seems like no one’s read the rest of the globe and mail piece. why bother citing that top part of it? the writer clearly says it’s fiction.

    and this mess about was he at the typewriter or was he in the kitchen. the typewriter was in the kitchen. it’s not that big of a stretch for him to put the phone down, sit down, and shoot himself.

    plus, the whole family seems to think the whole suicide story is very plausable, and his son was home at the time. of course, maybe they’re all in bed with the bush administration.

    it’s a strange world. who knows what could happen? somehow, though, i don’t buy it.

  8. The explosives story has made the rounds quite a bit on the internets and radio.

    I figure the ciggies got him or he didn’t want to go through a liver transplant so he checked out. Plus it must have been disheartening to see all of Nixon’s crooks from the 70s running the show again.

  9. Because everyone knows exactly what shooting someone in the head sounds like, right.

  10. It’s also ridiculous that the WTC was brought down by explosives.

  11. Now, you would think, if he was on the phone with his wife and contemplating suicide at the same time, he would have something worthwhile to say, other than, ‘come home and help me work on my espn column’ ….bang

    You would also think that any hit man worth his weight in shit, trying to set up a hit to look like a suicide, wouldn’t do it while the victim was on the phone with anyone, let alone his wife.

  12. jack:

    I do indeed know what a suppressed (“silenced,” in your words) firearm sounds like, having fired many of them.

    “Silencer” is an improper term for a sound suppressor. What I think you may be talking about is a “flash suppressor” or perhaps the suppressor that was installed on the original CAR-15 rifles. The purpose of those was both to hide the muzzle flash of the rifle and make it sound like a full-barreled AR-15/M16. In Vietnam, special forces used the shorter CARs, but did not want to advertise their presence with the differing sound of the 11.5″ and 14″ barrels as opposed to the much longer barrels of the standard M16s.

    Anyway, just about everybody I know who owns a (sound) suppressor calls it a “suppressor,” not a “silencer.”

  13. it seems like no one’s read the rest of the globe and mail piece. why bother citing that top part of it? the writer clearly says it’s fiction.

    Of course that’s what he’d say! He’s in on it!

  14. Of course that’s what he’d say! He’s in on it!

    so crafty. so very crafty. 😉

  15. They’re all in on it! Can’t you see? It’s so obvious!

  16. Has it been made public what caliber was used? You can’t quiet supersonic rounds much. btw, everyone i know who ownes a silencer (ok, just one guy), calls it a silencer.

    Heh, the guy was a great Conan guest.

  17. Has it been made public what caliber was used?

    The only story where I saw it mentioned said it was a 45 auto.

  18. I read somewhere that a pistol outfitted with a silencer (or whatever the hell you want to call it) sounds like “Donald Duck sneezing.” I have no idea whether that’s true or not, however.

  19. It was a .45 auto. And it was silenced, insofar as sticking a 1911 most of the way into your mouth will suppress the sound of the report.

    Just like most everything else about him, he went out in style. He picked the grandddaddy of all sidearms.

  20. Perhaps only a true gun collector can appreciate that fact, though.

  21. In addition to the effects of Thompson’s mouth or a noise suppressor might have on the gun’s report, the sound had to be picked up by a telephone mic, transmitted over the network, and reproduced by a telephone speaker. Phones are way better with voices than with intensely loud sharp sounds.

  22. Rumor is that the Trialateral Commission hired the same hitmen for this job that Corney Love hired to whack Kurt Cobain. Those guys I guess specialize in fake firearm suicides.

  23. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just poison his whiskey and/or drugs?

  24. I was under the impression that he killed himself with a shotgun. There is no way a gunshot wound inficted from any kind of shotgun could be confused with a gunshot wound from a .45 auto.

  25. Phones are way better with voices than with intensely loud sharp sounds.

    They also suck at transmitting music, a fact that anyone who includes music in any kind of recorded phone message should be forced to acknowledge.

  26. Pretty much no method of electronic sound reproduction can match the actual effect of a gunshot, suppressed or otherwise.

    Here are some links to suppressed firearms videos and sounds that are fair representations. Keep in mind, however, that in person, they are still LOUD.

    http://www.subguns.org/products/cans/ATAS/movies/ATAS45.mpg
    http://www.synclogic.com/clients/ETSInc/UZIshoot.mp4

  27. She said her husband had asked her to come home from a health club so they could work on his weekly ESPN column

    He was so brain addled he couldn’t even write his shitty espn.com column without help. Sad.

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