Monday, November 18, 2013

JFK Miscellaney

Ruth Paine's house that she owned back in 1963 is now open as a museum. Paine, as you recall, probably knew the Oswalds better than anybody else excluding family members and opened her home to Marina and Lee.

David Von Pein has the best YouTube channel on the assassination although one channel he had was taken down because of third-party copyright complaints. I wish they wouldn't do that because this channel serves an important historical interest.

One of my favorite videos, the complete video of which can be found at the Von Pein YouTube link, is the mock trial of Oswald that was broadcast back in 1986 and has been on DVD for a number of years. I have that DVD. The mock trial was a great idea, and you actually get to see surviving witnesses as of 1986 give what amounts to oral histories of the assassination. Here is part one of it:

Gerry Spence "represented" Lee Harvey Oswald. He had a folksy demeanor, but he had an impossible task. It's like supporting the doubters of the moon landing. Vincent Bugliosi simply made mincemeat out of the conspiracy theories.

For a number of years in the 1970s I even believed in the conspiracy theories but changed my mind. Once you take a look at Buell Wesley Frazier's testimony in part two of this broadcast (he's the guy who drove Oswald to work that fateful day and noticed Oswald walking ahead of him with a suspicious package), you can't help but conclude the conspiracy theories are total bullshit. Those "curtain rods" were never found, by the way.

These days, support for conspiracy theories is on the wane. While still a majority of people polled in various polls, including Gallup, support a variety of conspiracy theories, support for them is slowly dying off. That could be due to the fact many supporters of the nutball theories are themselves dying off, but it is just as likely that people are slowly waking up to the reality that all of the facts support a lone gunman, and technological advances in forensics buttresses the fact Oswald was the lone assassin.

In another fifty years public opinion believing a conspiracy will likely be in the single digits, right there with the flat earthers and moon landing doubters.

The Gallup poll itself is here:

Thirty percent of Americans believe that Oswald, who was apprehended by Dallas police hours after Kennedy was shot on Nov. 22, 1963, was the lone gunman in the murder. The Warren Commission, the official government investigation into the assassination, concluded that Oswald acted alone. Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby two days after the Kennedy assassination and therefore never stood trial, leaving many questions unanswered.

Americans were skeptical about the "lone gunman" theory almost immediately after Kennedy was killed. In a poll conducted Nov. 22-27, 1963, Gallup found that 29% of Americans believed one man was responsible for the shooting and 52% believed others were involved in a conspiracy. A majority of Americans have maintained that "others were involved" in the shooting each time Gallup has asked this question over the past 50 years, except December 1966, when exactly half of Americans said someone in addition to Oswald was responsible.

By 1976, Americans' belief in the conspiracy theory swelled to 81%. The percentage believing more than one person was involved remained high for decades, amid numerous published reports and books that alleged a conspiracy. The Oscar-winning film "JFK" implied that President Lyndon Johnson may have been involved in such a conspiracy.

Of course the LBJ theory is complete and total bullshit, like all of the rest of the "theories." All of these conspiracy theories start with a conclusion, and these crackpots then try to shoehorn the known evidence or fabricate some of their own in order to fit them into their own preconceived ideas. They are doing this not because they care about truth or history but because there is money to be made. Claiming this person or government or organization committed the killing is still lucrative even while ludicrous.

P.T. Barnum was right after all.

No comments: