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The Kennedy Asassination
While on a campaign tour for the coming 1964 elections, John F. Kennedy, arguably one of the most influential presidents in American history was murdered. While making appearances in Dallas, Texas, the well-loved president was shot twice by a sniper in a nearby building. Though there have been several investigations into the details of the assassination, there is still much mystery surrounding the events occurring on that fateful day.
November 22, 1963: It was on this day that President John F. Kennedy arrived in Dallas, Texas via motorcade. The president’s limousine crawled slowly through Dealey Plaza, coming to pass directly by the Texas School Book Depository Building at 12:30 PM. He was then shot in the back of the neck by a sniper nesting in the book depository. The first bullet went straight through Kennedy, hitting Governor George Connally.1 The second shot was a direct hit to the back of his head. Shocked Secret Service men immediately rushed both figures to the hospital. Kennedy died soon after arrival, Johnson walked away with only injuries.
Two hours after the first shot had been fired, Lee Harvey Oswald was discovered hiding in a nearby theatre. Eyewitnesses claim to have seen Oswald running out of the book depository directly after Kennedy had been shot; he had also shot and killed a police officer before running into the theatre.1 Oswald’s fingerprints were found on the sniper rifle, conclusively leading to his arrest for the murder of the president.
Oswald was immediately taken into custody, though he had yet to give a confession. Three days after his arrest, while being transferred to a more secure prison, Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby, a known Mafia Man and night club owner.4 Officially, Ruby killed Oswald out of spite for the assassination of the president, but this story holds little, if any, truth.
Soon after Oswald’s death, evidentiary claims were made, furthering his apparent guilt. He was a former U.S. Marine, known widely as a great marksman. He was also an open communist supporter, a dangerous claim to make in that decade. Oswald renounced his U.S. citizenship and moved to the Soviet Union.1 Somehow, only a few months prior to his murder of the president, he had regained American citizenship status and taken up residence in Texas.
While the official story has remained basically unchanged since the day of the assassination, there are several conspiracy theories surrounding the death of President Kennedy. The most obvious is the number of shooters. Many eyewitness testimonies tell of the possibility of several shooters, implying a conspiracy plot, and there is much evidence supporting the theory. Though the Warren Commission interviewed many witnesses, they ignored all testimonies of the number of shots fired and direction from which they were shot.2
The most popular proof of this theory is the trajectory of the first bullet. It is said that it would be physically impossible for the bullet to pass through Kennedy’s back and throat, through George Connally’s back, and ricochet off Connally’s wrist before hitting his thigh. This evidence is further solidified by the fact that the “expert medical team” mis-measured the fatal shot to Kennedy’s skull by four inches. There are also many missing autopsy photographs, and the description of injuries sustained varied widely between the medical professionals Furthermore, the president’s personal physician, George Burkley, was failed to be interviewed by the Warren Commission, despite the fact that he was present in the motorcade during the time of the shooting, signed the death certificate, was present in the hospital and during the autopsy, and took charge of the president’s brain (Which later was discovered missing).5
The ballistic evidence supporting Oswald’s guilt in the murder may also be a conspiracy in itself. The only bullet that can be tied to the gun with Oswald’s fingerprints on it follows a somewhat questionable story. The bullet was not found inside Kennedy or Connally’s bodies. It was found on the stretcher in the hospital to which both political figures were rushed,5 conveniently at the same time a witness placed Jack Ruby in the same hospital. This could imply that Ruby falsely planted evidence. Furthermore, a paraffin test conducted on Oswald’s cheek shows that he had not fired the gun that day.5
In order to provide an accurate recount of what really happened that day, Former U.S. Marine sniper Craig Robberts and Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock, former senior instructor for the U.S. Marine Corps Sniper Instructor School recreated the event. About their endeavor they said the following:
“We constructed the whole thing: the angle, the range, the moving target,
the time limit, the obstacles, everything. I don’t know how many times we
tried it, but we couldn’t duplicate what the Warren Commission said
Oswald did. Now, if I can’t do it, how in the world could a guy who was
a non-qual on the rifle range and later only qualified ‘marksman’ do it?”2
Furthermore, acoustic evidence analysis performed by the House Select Committee on Assassinations came to the direct conclusion that the Kennedy assassination was a conspiracy. It was discovered that a police dictabelt may have caught audio of the shots being fired. A channel of police transmissions was left open due to a malfunctioning microphone. Though there was much background noise covering the majority of the track, further technological analysis shows that six spikes of volume comparable to those of gunshots can be heard. To further prove their point, the HSCA performed an experiment, placing the same type of police monitor in the place it was found, and firing rifles from both the Texas School Book Depository and the grassy knoll from which many witnesses placed a shooter. They were able to connect shots from both locations to the audio they found from the dictabelt, proving their conspiracy theory. However, this theory is still widely criticized, despite it’s proof.5
The most popular conspiracy theory centers around the Mafia itself. It is well-known that the Kennedy’s were somehow involved with Mafia proceedings. However, it is disputed whether or not the Kennedy family was working to stop organized crime, or helping it along. Both possibilities hold motive for the assassination of President Kennedy. It is said that there were several hit-men hired by the Mafia to be present in Dealey Plaza and aid in Kennedy’s assassination; this theory is supported by the untimely, suspicious murder of Oswald by Mafia Man Jack Ruby.
Jack Ruby and another Mafia Man named Eugene Brading were both placed in the office of H. L. Hunt the day before the assassination. This is made more suspicious by the fact that Brading was arrested immediately following the shooting from a building overlooking Dealey Plaza, but quickly released.4
A hit man named Charles Harrleson was arrested in a railroad behind Dealey Plaza immediately following the shootings, and also quickly released. Harrleson even admitted to being involved in the Kennedy assassination after being arrested for the murder of a judge named John Wood, though he later retracted this statement, claiming he was under the influence of cocaine when it was issued.4
Therefore, it is apparent that there is still much to be investigated about the murder of President John F. Kennedy. Without the cooperation of the Warren Commission, HSCA, FBI, CIA, and local police forces, we may never be able to uncover the truth. It is proven that there are many “missing” documents, and unfounded variables surrounding the assassination, and several different groups and organizations had the means, motive, and opportunity to be involved in the mysterious death of a well-loved figure. Whatever the details may be, the big picture remains the same: President John F. Kennedy, one of the most influential presidents to date, died an untimely, suspicious, premature death.