Hunter S. Thompson letter to Keith

MSN Hotmail – MessageAn excerpted letter to Keith Stroup, former executive director of The Champion, from Woody Creek, July 1990: This letter date from Keith’s tenure as head of NACDL (National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) The Champion was the official monthly publication of NACDL. Hunter was portrayed by Bill Murray in “Where the Buffalo Roam” and by Johnny Depp in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” (Arguably Hunter’s best book after “Hell’s Angels”.) Hunter was also the the thinly disguised “Uncle Duke” in Gary Trudeau’s
syndicated comic strip “Doonesbury”.
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Ho-ho. These lame cheapjack bullies had reckoned without the Long Riders from NACDL, who came over the horizon on both flanks and swept down on them like Jeb Stuart at the first Battle of Bull Run, and I will never forget the feeling of wild happiness and raw courage I felt when I saw them coming and knew that I finally had not just the troops, but Generals . . . and, Mother of Babbling Christ, I even had credit.

Try it sometime, folks, it’s a rush you’ll remember forever. They seemed to come all at once, in what clearly was my darkest hour. Mike Stepanian from San Francisco, Hal Haddon from Denver, Keith Stroup from Washington, and the ineffable maestro of motions, Gerry Goldstein from San Antonio.

Suddenly I had my own gang. My own army, my people, my friends, my warriors . . . . They came from all points of the compass and all points in time, and we stomped on the terra like champions. It was something to see, folks, and it was a beautiful war to be part of. . . . Haddon stomped through the courtroom like one of the Gallo brothers mashing grapes, and Goldstein gave them nightmares at high noon just by sitting at the Defense table with that fine cheetah’s grin on his face and shooting his cuffs now and then with obvious impatience at having to wait so long for the meal he knew was coming.

It was a rout, folks. The D.A.’s cheap bunglers collapsed in a heap and fled like rats into whatever darkness they could find, which was not much. They are on the run now. Some are resigning and others are under arrest; the judge is finished, and the D.A.’s dream of a judgeship is now a bad joke.

And, yes . . . there is more to this hellish story, but the magazine is gong to press and Keith is going crazy, so I have to quit now; but the tale is not finished. All I can say now is Thanks, once again. You boys are OK when you get the right music to dance to, and I was proud and goddamn happy for the chance to dance with you.

With great respect and affection, I remain, your friend, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
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Dance the night away, Dr. T. Thank you for inspiring our warriors in the trenches. You will be missed, David Downes

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