The 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination is upon us.
John F. Kennedy was the first—and so far only—American president to be Catholic.
He was not a particularly good Catholic.
His policy on Church-state relations has been widely faulted as contributing to the marginalization of religion in American society.
But nobody deserves to be gunned down in the street the way he was, and the Kennedy assassination has left us with an enduring mystery.
At present, only 29% of the American public accepts the claim that he was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, acting as a lone gunman.
By contrast, 62% of the American public thinks that he was killed as the result of a conspiracy. Another 8% apparently isn’t sure.
That means that 70% of the American public don’t buy the version of the story that major elements in the government and the mainstream media have pushed for the last 50 years.
Does this show that 70% of the public are naïve? That they are fools? That they are crazed conspiracy theorists?
No. Whether or not there was a conspiracy, you don’t have to be crazy to think there was.
Here’s why . . .
The Two “Official” Investigations
Shortly after the assassination, President Lyndon Johnson convened a panel of dignitaries headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren to investigate the event.
This was dubbed “the Warren Commission,” and it reported its results in 1964.
It concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted on his own and was not part of a conspiracy.
Although this was the official version promulgated by government and mainstream media channels, subsequent polls over the years have shown that a large numbers of Americans—even a large majority of Americans—are skeptical of its conclusions.
This led to a second investigation, conducted by the U.S. Congress to begin its own investigation. In 1978, the House Select Committee on Assassinations came to the opposite conclusion—that President Kennedy had been killed as the result of a conspiracy.
The American public was thus presented with two official investigations coming to opposite conclusions.
Both the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee has been criticized, and there is reason for both to be criticized. Neither was perfect.
The fact that they reached opposite conclusions, though, means that a closer look at the evidence is warranted. This leads to . . .
My Own Study
The Cold War is one of the periods in history that I study, and over the years I’ve done quite a bit of reading about the Kennedy assassination.
I’ve made a point of reading books by both the defenders of the claim that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman and by critics of this view.
Books on both sides of the issue make good points—as well as bad ones. There are a lot of problematic arguments and claims made both by supporters and defenders of the lone-gunman hypothesis.
Because of this, I’ve tried to take a skeptical stance toward the arguments made by both sides—to dismiss ones that aren’t solid.
In particular, I dismiss out of hand claims that aren’t supported by primary sources. There’s too much junk among the secondary sources.
In a piece of this length, there’s no way that I could review the voluminous material that’s out there, but I would like make a few points that converge on the conclusion that you are not crazy if you think there was a conspiracy.
I’m not saying that there was, but there is enough evidence that the claim should not be dismissed out of hand.
So here we go . . .
1) Conspiracies exist