Who Killed JFK?

Honestly, I don’t know.

Last Friday was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, and last night, my wife and I watched a History Channel presentation about the assassination.  While they did a good job of presenting the facts of the events, the program was driven by statistics of what people thought about the assassination.

In the process, one of the most significant events of the 20th Century is turned into a parlor game: CIA operative X did it from the grassy knoll with a sledgehammer.  At the end of the presentation, we were back where we started: another demonstration of the impotence of facts and reason.  (There’s a reason for this that goes beyond the JFK assassination, but it’s a subject for another day.)

I was two years old when JFK was assassinated, so I don’t remember what happened.   But there is an event of similar dimensions that occurred in my adult life: 11 September.  There are many similarities in the two events, particularly in how the government acted to get its official version of the story out and suppress alternatives.

But there are essential differences:

  • The official story of the JFK assassination is at least plausible.  Some years ago, I watched a documentary of an effort to reconstruct the trajectory of the ‘magic bullet’ that struck both JFK and Texas governor John Connally.  The effort succeeded.  On the other hand, while I can believe that the Twin Towers would collapse from being struck by airliners, it strains the imagination that they would fall into neat little piles.  Moreover, 7 World Trade Center was not struck by airplanes.  It sustained damage that should have left it standing.  But it, too, collapsed into a neat little pile.
  • The Warren Commission that investigated the JFK assassination believed they had gotten to the truth of the matter.  I don’t know what the 9/11 Commission thought they were doing, but it wasn’t the same.
  • From the official explanation, it follows that the assassination of JFK could not have been avoided.  The President was protected with the normal security measures of the time, and it seemed implausible that someone could accurately shoot and kill the President in a moving vehicle.  But the coming events of 11 September cast their shadows beforehand, and yet we did nothing to forestall the events.
  • The assassination of JFK led to some changes of policy direction, but all of these were within the realm of normal politics.  11 September led to the unfolding police state.

2 thoughts on “Who Killed JFK?”

  1. I remember 11-22-63:Our second grade teacher told us to go home because the President was shot.

    I ran through the schoolyard and cut through the yard and ran up the back porch steps and told my mother the President got shot.
    I remember seeing the funeral and Mrs. Kennedy in that sorrowful black veil, like the old school Italians and Greeks used to wear. I remember John J saluting. And I still have the photographs that our local paper featured that were taken during the day Mr. Kennedy was buried.

    9/11 is still fresh in my mind. I was at work; my brother called to tell me a plane hit the WTC. I hung up and told my workmate. We made a couple three comments about the Empire State Building being hit by a plane.

    When there was another couple of phone calls – one from bro again and one that the office manager got (announcing the Pentagon got hit) we got the idea something horrible was happening. I remember the building being more or less evacuated (everybody from the upper floors seemed to be leaving at the same time) – and my then-fiance called; office manager got the line – he said to tell her that I was okay and he was leaving.

    What he saw: he worked in downtown Manhattan at the time, about a 10 minute walk from the Trade Center. When he heard a plane hit, he took a walk over there and had a look. All he saw was smoke and lots of it.

    He picked up his cell phone to call his brother and then he heard a low whiny whistle.

    He looked up and the second jet hit. He ran back to the office, announced that another plane hit and he left…

    Along with all of downtown Manhattan.

    It took him about 10 hours to get back to the Jersey side. He would never tell me what it was he did see that day and afternoon. He only reported on basic facts. I can’t remember how he got back to Jersey – a train WAS running, I think; or was it a ferry? I can’t remember.

    Phone service was out of order about 10 minutes after the Pentagon got hit. I don’t know if the plugs were pulled on them purposely or if everybody was calling and jamming the lines — all we could get was a fast busy signal when we tried to dial out of the office – and I remember having TV transmission in that office up until we left. Huh??? The communication towers were on top of the Trade Center. So who knows? Did they switch to the Empire State or what?

    We got married about 2 months after 9/11. There were about 12 guests who would not fly in; they refused to get on a plane. Business was bad by us; clients were iffy about flying into NJ to visit the office.

  2. I wasn’t alive when JFK was killed but I remember 9/11 clearly. I remember thinking that even though I despised Bush that I wouldn’t want to be president no matter what that day. I stayed glued to the television all day.

Leave a Reply