Regardless of your politics, most people regard President John Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 as one of the most shocking crimes of the last 50 years. Political assassinations literally change a nation’s history, and Kennedy’s was no different. This crime was the first of its type in the television age, which intensified its impact on the public. The murder scarred America in a way it had never been scarred before.
In the aftermath of Kennedy’s death, a multi-million dollar industry dealing with conspiracy theories was born. Critics of the Warren Report ripped its final verdict that stated Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing the president. In the almost 50 years since Kennedy’s death, the scope of conspiracy theories has become quite breathtaking. The most common theories include: the Mafia, the CIA, the Soviet Union, Fidel Castro, and Lyndon Johnson. The list goes on and on, but I think you get the picture. The general consensus of most people is that there is no way Oswald acted alone (if he did it at all).
However, one of the biggest flaws in most of these theories is that the people who produce them often spend too much time thinking of who might have wanted Kennedy dead and then manipulating the evidence to fit their particular viewpoint. This produces many theories with sizeable holes in them. Then the flawed theories spur more discussion that results in the splintering of the original ideas into more theories. By this point, the ripple effect has taken over and the theories start feeding off each other. The final result is what we have today: an industry in which some people have made tons of money discussing this issue.
When it comes to this issue, I am a bit of a lone wolf because I think I’m one of the few people left who believes Oswald did kill Kennedy and that he acted alone. To understand that point of view, one has to spend time studying who Oswald was. Trust me, tons of information on him exist. By studying Oswald, a person can begin to understand how a lonely and resentful man could commit a crime that some people remain unable to accept all these years later.
Now, there is no way anybody can discuss an event as large as the president’s murder in a short essay, so I will not even try. However, I am going to point you in a good direction. This is because the majority of material available on this topic is garbage in my opinion. Number one on the garbage list is Oliver Stone’s film JFK. As a movie, it is compelling and well made. However, its theories are pure jive.
Perhaps the best analysis of Oswald is in a book written by Gerald Posner called Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK. In Posner’s portrait, we see, I believe, the real Oswald. We see an angry man desperate for attention.
Posner explains in-depthly Oswald’s reasons for defecting to the Soviet Union, and then returning to the United States. He provides detail on Oswald’s first attempt at assassinating someone when he tried to kill Army General Edwin Walker. He also provides plenty of detail regarding his activities when Kennedy came to Dallas.
Additionally, he provides in-depth analysis of the Zapruder film in which he uses computer enhancements to determine the number of shots fired at Kennedy and the precise timing of those shots. He also tackles errors in the Warren Report and shreds many of the most common conspiracy theories. His research and evidence are so comprehensive that it verges on overkill.
It is difficult to understand why this subject is so compelling so many years after it happened. The historical nature of the crime guarantees a certain level of interest, but there is another element when it comes to this. When it comes to crimes like this, it is very difficult to accept that the easiest answer is often the correct answer.
For example, a few nights ago I was watching a show about Princess Diana that dealt with many conspiracy theories that have emerged since she died in a car crash in 1997. The theories primarily dealt with her being an assassination victim at the hands of the British royal family. However, there is no concrete evidence proving such a thing. Folks are just finding it difficult to accept that somebody they cared so much about could be taken away so easily.
I believe the same holds true for most folks who believe Oswald did not act alone. How could a president be taken away by a creep like him? There has to be more to it. The truth is, there isn’t. Oswald acted alone, and that is really all there is to it. And for the moneymakers who exploit people’s grief, there is a word for them, and it is not very nice.