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Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK

I was 23 months old when President Kennedy was assassinated, so I can't offer anything to the "Where you when..." discussion.  I'm guessing I was napping in my crib.

I will say that I continue to be fascinated by the events of that day, and the way television covered it.  There is a ton of material on You Tube, and if you have a moment or two, take a look.  Cronkite is regarded as the star of the day, but watch David Brinkley's 1 AM commentary.  There was none better.

I tend to follow the Bob Schieffer handbook.  The long time CBS correspondent was a newspaper reporter in Fort Worth that day.  He says no one has ever been able to prove to him that there was more than one man involved in Kennedy's murder.  CBS and other organizations have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars conducting their own investigations.  They all came to the same conclusion.  The conspiracy theories, however, will not die.

Former CBS correspondent Dan Rather pointed out that uncovering a conspiracy would have been the story of the century. Many reporters and organizations tried. Tried hard. None succeeded. It's likely there was no conspiracy.

I tend to side with the "lone assassin" theory.  I'm not totally sold on it.  If you look at the time, speed, accuracy and skill it took to fire those shots, I'm not sure Lee Harvey Oswald was the guy.  Arlen Specter's "Magic Bullet" theory, the one that has a single bullet bouncing all over Dallas County, also adds doubt to the official version of the events of 11.22.63.  On top of that, there was a lot of cloak and dagger stuff at the time, involving Cuba and the Soviet Union.

For every flaw in the investigation, there is something that backs it up. The flaws can be explained away.

Even if there was a lone gunman, I doubt we'll ever know everything about the Kennedy assassination, and that's a tragedy in and of itself.  It's been fifty years.  Open the books.

You wonder what would have happened if Kennedy had lived.  Would Vietnam have been better-- or worse?  He did exercise questionable judgement at times.  Case in point:  the Bay of Pigs.  There were questions surrounding his personal life.  JFK was no saint.  He was a proponent of the space program.  Kennedy had the ability to inspire, which is a trait few elected leaders have.

ABC News, during a Sunday morning discussion, pointed out that there was no mention of civil rights in Kennedy's 1961 inaugural address. I couldn't believe it. I read it for myself. It's true. It seems like Kennedy really saw the threat of a third world war. He might not have seen the discontent in his own nation.

For me, the most haunting video of the day is not the Zapruder film of the actual shooting.  It was the film made as John and Jackie got off Air Force One at Love Field.  The looked so happy, and it was all about to come to an end.