Saturday, November 23, 2013

Jim Garrison and Clay Shaw for Dummies

I still read unbelievable comments about how Jim Garrison, the disgraced and disgraceful D.A. of New Orleans in the 1960s, is somehow a hero and told the truth about the JFK assassination, when in fact he was guilty of assassinating the character of an innocent man, Clay Shaw, in one of the biggest travesties in the history of American jurisprudence.

Anybody who peddles Oliver Stone's fictional account of the assassination as truth immediately discredits himself or herself, and I ignore it.

I am old enough to remember the Clay Shaw travesty.

For those who need to be reminded, here is a good article recounting the farce.

There are a few theories running around as to why Garrison decided to persecute Clay Shaw, who was a very popular person in New Orleans and is fondly remembered by many there, including the gay community.


If Garrison held no evidence that Shaw was responsible for the conspiracy to kill the president, he did know that making the accusation would gain him instant recognition. If the trial did nothing else, it got Garrison's name known nationally.

Then there is this possibility:

The fact that Shaw was a gay man also made it perhaps more believable to some in the conservative city that he was guilty of something. Early on, Garrison had told a journalist that he thought the assassination might have been a "homosexual thrill killing."

Though Garrison would say in the years afterward that he did not target Shaw because of his sexuality, the trial transcript shows multiple witnesses being asked about the fit of Shaw's pants.

And then there is this possibility, which could really be it considering how unstable Garrison really was:

Or maybe Shaw was chosen for another night at Brennan's, when paths had crossed.

On this night, Garrison had raised his voice not against book seizures, but against his wife. At a nearby table, Clay Shaw stood up. The servers in the front of the house watched as Shaw publicly broke up the fight. "They all saw it," recalled Ella Brennan, now 88. "Supposedly Clay got up, and said, 'Garrison, behave yourself.'"

The district attorney of New Orleans had been made a fool of publicly. Maybe the trial had been an effort to extract social vengeance.

Regardless of the reason, Garrison made sure he was going to ruin Shaw's life. Tragically, he did.

Shaw continues to be character assassinated to this day.

No comments: