By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2

Last night I was offered a pound of blood sausage to predict that the Lakers will certainly win the NBA championship, but I refused. "That is too much like Washington politics," I said to the woman who offered the bribe. "Don't be coming around here with your vulgar crap about the Lakers. They are lame and weak and pitiful. Minnesota will beat them in five games."

It was a risky thing to say, but so what? I used to be a Lakers fan, but no more -- not since they went out and shot their wad on Karl Malone and Gary Payton. Indeed. There is something vaguely obscene about the sight of the Lakers in action, win or lose, and it ain't Kobe Bryant.

That is old-fashioned police reporter's gibberish. They all want desperately to believe that the Criminal Justice system in the mile-high state of Colorado has anything to do with justice. "Oh, no," they tell each other, during lunch breaks from whatever trial they happen to be covering that day. "Oh, no. You can take it from me, bro. The criminal justice machinery in Colorado is not corrupt. It is not a diseased petri dish for the experiments of the Denver Police Department."

Ah, but I am getting a little tired of arguing with brutish forces like the DPD, or any police department. I have done that pretty well in the pages of the current June issue of Vanity Fair magazine, which I strongly recommend to all readers, young or old, because it is the terrifying truth about what can happen to a city that turns its law enforcement system over to steroid-crazed brutes with badges. Read it and weep.

* * * * *

The long-dreaded 2004 Olympics in Greece will be the ultimate crossroads for sports and politics in this new and vicious century. The recent photos of cruelty at the Abu Grahaib all-american prison in Baghdad have taken care of that.

Yes, sir. We have taken the bull by the horns on this one, sports fans. These horrifying digital snapshots of the American dream in action on foreign soil are worse than anything even I could have expected. I have been in this business a long time and I have seen many staggering things, but this one is over the line. Now I am really ashamed to carry an American passport.

And why would I want to go to Athens in the summer, anyway? Only a fool or a paid sportswriter would do a thing like that. ... Or a suicidal terrorist, eh?

You bet. There will be plenty of those in Greece when July rolls around. It will be like strolling up to a wasp's nest that some jackass just swatted with a sharp stick. Welcome to the birthplace of the world-wide Olympics, bubba. You'll like it here. Just get naked and prowl around the streets tonight. You will find friends everywhere.

Well, I don't know. That is a long way to go for a beating. Or to get your head chopped off on worldwide TV. Who needs it? Not me, old sport. I think I will hunker down out here in the high, bright mountains this summer, and watch the Olympics on TV. It may be slightly duller, but so what? It is the only game in town.

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was born and raised in Louisville, Ky. His books include "Hell's Angels," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72," "The Great Shark Hunt," "The Curse of Lono," "Generation of Swine," "Songs of the Doomed," "Screwjack," "Better Than Sex," "The Proud Highway," "The Rum Diary," and "Fear and Loathing in America." His latest book, "Kingdom of Fear," has just been released. A regular contributor to various national and international publications, Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colo. His column, "Hey, Rube," appears regularly on Page 2.