Influence people

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Under Toad

I met Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson at a conference once.

It was 1972. The country was deep in the throes of a Presidential election.

Four months earlier, segregationist and gun-loving Alabama Governor George Wallace had lost his bid for the Presidency thanks to a would-be assassin.

I asked Dr. Thompson whether he thought Wallace might change his stance on gun control after being shot five times in the chest and stomach.

"I don't know," Thompson snarled. "But I do know this. Everyone should carry a gun. We all should carry guns. The streets would be a lot safer. America would be a better place."

Thirty-three years later, depressed and deathly ill, Hunter Thompson blew off the top of his head with a shotgun.

I don't understand the pleasure of gun ownership. I don't understand the thrill of hunting animals. But a lot of people I know and admire enjoy both those things.

As a parent, however, I understand how fear and loathing due to the loss of a child could exceed any imaginable sorrow.

In his novel The World According to Garp, John Irving famously described the brutal workings of the "Under Toad," code-words for "the forces that disrupt human life and sometimes destroy it." The life of a child, in particular.

The Under Toad visited Newtown, Connecticut, last week.

Several parents will never feel sorrow-less again.

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