November 22 is a big deal where I come from. So when The Cousins had me on this morning and immediately asked where I was when JFK was shot, I knew exactly why they were talking about it.
For most people over a certain age who grew up around Boston, this date is like 9/11. Even to people like me who aren't old enough to have witnessed it, we heard about it every year. I come from a line of Boston Irish to whom John F. Kennedy was like a secular saint. And for them, life was never going to be the same after one of their own got taken out in broad daylight on a parade through Dallas. And a movie about JFK's life called "Years of Lightning, Day of Drums" was never not on in our house every 11/22.
Like I told The Cousins, I consider myself a bit of a JFK Assassination buff. I also feel like I enjoy a good conspiracy theory as much as any man. UFOs. Bigfoot. Government coverups. Jeffrey Epstein. Name it. Don't group me in with those sick fucks who say school shootings or the Boston Marathon bombings were fake or whatever. But I have no problem believing there is more going on than we are told by the authorities. And with that, I'll tell you what I told those guys this morning:
Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. He was an unstable kook who worked at a place that gave him a clear shot at the President of the United States. He took three of them. He hit on two. The last being a kill shot. Then a lunatic named Jack Ruby thought he'd be doing the world a favor by taking Oswald out on live TV. End of story.
It wasn't the Cubans or the Russians or the CIA or a coup by powerful arms contractors because they thought JFK would pull us out of Vietnam. Oliver Stone's "JFK" was a great piece of filmmaking and really entertaining. But also completely full of shit. As based in reality as "The Never Ending Story."
I could go all day on this with any assassination conspiracy buff and crush him/her with my overpowering logic. But instead I'll keep this simple and hit some of the major points. And refer you to the definitive book on the topic, "Case Closed" by Gerald Posner. For the book he did a ton of research, including reading the actual Warren Commission report, instead of going by the index, which apparently the conspiracy nuts do. But it actually reads more like a true crime drama than a research paper. There and through some documentaries I've seen, here are the bullet points you can use to win any argument.
What the conspiracy theorists say: Oswald could never have gotten off three shots or hit his target.
Wrong. First of all, if you've ever been to Dealey Plaza where the assassination took place, it's tiny. Back in the 90s someone did a computer simulation to reconstruct the scene digitally. Including the view that the shooter would've had out of that rifle scope at that distance. At the actual scale, JFK's image nearly fills the scope. The first bullet was already loaded. So it was a simple matter of BOOM. Click click. BOOM. Click click. BOOM. The first shot hit a tree branch and deflected and was later recovered. The second one severed JFK's spine and left him paralyzed sitting up. The third killed him. And who trained him to shoot like that? The United States Marine Corps. Every Marine a Rifleman.
What the conspiracy theorists say: Witnesses saw a puff of smoke from the Grassy Knoll.
Any cop will tell you the most reliable witness statements are the ones you get right after the fact. Before people have a chance to rethink things and get unduly influenced. Fully 98% of the people on the scene reported the same thing. Three shots coming from the same window of the Book Depository. The Grassy Knoll nonsense didn't start until like a decade after the fact.
What the conspiracy theorists say: Oswald was a patsy.
Oswald had a friend that spent weeks trying to help him land a job. He took him to four or five interviews before he got hired at the Book Depository. Where he worked for years before the leader of the free world went by his window in a convertible. Meaning that if he was planted there, the conspiracy was put in place before JFK was ever heading to Dallas. And his friend was in on it, the guy who hired him was in on it, and the people who didn't hire him were in on it.
What the conspiracy theorists say: What about the Magic Bullet changing direction in midair?
It didn't. The Warren Commission had their measurements all wrong. They had Gov. Connelly sitting in the seat in front of JFK, at the same height. He was, in fact, sitting lower, on a fold out seat. By those dimensions, it's clear the bullet that struck Connolly's leg went in a straight line. Yes, it deflected off the presidents rib as it exited and tumbled. But that's just physics. And when the computer simulation used the right dimensions, they could work backwards to find possible sources of the shots that hit. Both of them centered on the window where all the witnesses said they came from.
What the conspiracy theorists say: That wasn't even his gun.
Yeah, it was. He'd mail ordered it a long time before this. There's a picture of him holding it that Oliver Stone implied was doctored. You know who said it wasn't doctored? The person who took the photo. Oswald's wife.
What the conspiracy theorists say: Jack Ruby was part of the plot.
Ruby was a cop hanger-on. What, if he was a woman, cops would call a Badge Bunny. Always hanging out at the station house, trying to be one of the guys. The day he killed Oswald it was pure, stupid luck the two were in the same place at the same time. Oswald was delayed getting transferred. At the time he should've been moved, Ruby was sending a telegram. Police know from the time stamp. If he was sent by the mob or whomever to put a bullet in their patsy to keep him from talking, he was doing a pisspoor job of being where he was supposed to be.
I'll leave it there. Other than to say, I get it. I understand why people want to believe there were major dark forces at work. It's hard enough to have the most protected man in the world get his brains splattered all over his widow in front of the whole world. So it's natural to want those scales to be in balance. That something historically awful has to have some historically powerful entity behind it. Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union or the Galactic Empire or Thanos or somebody. It's a lot easier to believe hundreds of people with resources changed history than some scrawny little nobody with nothing but good aim and an opportunity. But that's what happened here.
Oswald acted alone. Prove me wrong.