Fifty years ago today our country was rocked to its core when an assassins gunshots rang out on the streets of Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas Texas, brutally ending the life of president John F. Kennedy. His death and the death of his alleged assassin two days later threw open a Pandora’s Box of doubt, nagging questions, and a host of conspiracy theories about what actually occurred in Dallas town and who was truly responsible for Kennedy’s death.
Just one week after Kennedy’s death President Johnson appointed a group headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren and called the Warren Commission, with the grueling task of investigating the assassination. Less than one year later after what they called an exhaustive study of the case, the results were released. To say that their findings were controversial would be putting it lightly. Their results were greeted with criticism, skepticism and even anger. Many people believed the Warren Report was one massive government cover-up. They accused the FBI and CIA of covered up what they knew about Oswald, and suggested that there were gaping holes in the report. One such hole was the fact that the Kennedy autopsy were never seen by the commission. Chief Warren wouldn’t allow it. Adding more fuel to the fire was the classification and sealing of numerous files and documents on the case that have still not been made public 50 years later. The age of the conspiracy cover-up had begun.
By the late 70’s there was such a furor over the findings of the Warren Commission that a special house committee was appointed to study the conspiracy issue. In 1979 they released their findings in which they concluded that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as a result of conspiracy” but they were unable to identify any key participants, another gunman or how intricate the conspiracy actually was and ultimately stayed with the single gunman theory. The tons of documents and files from which they drew their conclusions was sealed for 50 years and will not be made public until 2029.
I personally believe Kennedy’s death was the result of a conspiracy. Not long after the release of the Warren Commission’s findings which as a 13 year old was some pretty heavy duty reading, I found myself caught up in the whole conspiracy movement. There were simply too many unanswered question, too much left to chance and too many holes. I began reading everything I could get my hands on about the assassination and continued to do so well into my 30’s and have quite a collection including Death of a President, The Killing of a President, Rush to Judgement, Crossfire, Four Days in November, Tears of Autumn and a whole lot more. Although I still subscribed to the conspiracy theory I became more selective on what I read. I just figured what more can be said about the assassination of President Kennedy? The last two Assassination related books I’ve purchase are Killing Kennedy a few months ago and Head Shot last year.
Fifty years later the assassination debate rages on, people still defend their point of view and raise questions, whether they are about the magic bullet theory, the gunmen on the grassy knoll, the mysterious umbrella man, why the Warren Commission chose to examine just 26 of the more than 500 pictures taken in Dealey Plaza that afternoon or why two navy doctors who had never performed an autopsy in their lives were called upon to conduct the most important autopsy in history. Just today on talk radio I heard a former Dallas police officer saying that 16 of 20 police officers in Dealey Plaza ran toward the spot where they heard the shots coming from – the grassy knoll. And of course Yahoo News report of the doctor who believes the back brace that Kennedy wore caused his death. He claims the brace prevented Kennedy from slumping forward after the first shot and held him upright and a target for the fatal head shot. So many questions, opinions and speculation, but no hard evidence.
I don’t believe we will ever know the truth about the Kennedy’s assassination. We will take our questions and speculations to the grave with us. Of course it really won’t matter then will it? But until then we’ll continue talking about the plot to kill the president and share conspiracy theories with others like ourselves who seek answers. We’ll continue to wonder if Oswald really killed the president, whether he acted alone or if he was merely an accomplice or possibly a fall guy of some elaborate conspiratorial plot? We will discuss the possibility that LBJ, CIA, FBI or Secret Service was involved, or we may even point finger at the mob, the Russians, Castro, even big business and don’t forget those oil barons down in Texas, they might have done it. For now all we can do is continue to wonder and remember .
Just a Thought,