Sunday, June 3, 2007

Oswald acted alone -- accept it

People won't put up much of an argument if somebody said the murder of President John F. Kennedy was one of the most shocking events of the last 50 years.

The killing of a president traumatizes a country, and Kennedy's death was no exception. His death, along with the playing out of the crime on live television, was deeply burned into our nation's soul.

Of course, Kennedy wasn't murdered on television, but his accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was. His death before being brought to trial is likely the number one reason why no closure to this crime has taken place.

Oswald was never convicted in a courtroom, and because of this, skepticism has run rampant about whether he did the shooting or if he was part of a conspiracy or both.

This brings us to a recent report regarding an analysis of bullets taken from the same batch as the ones Oswald used. Researchers say that new chemical and statistical analyses of those bullets suggest more than two bullets could have hit Kennedy.

Official government investigations of the crime concluded that only two bullets hit the president though the House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations conceded Oswald was probably part of a conspiracy.

However, if the researcher's conclusions are correct, the likelihood of a second gunman is increased.

When the House Select Committee on Assassinations reviewed the crime back in the 1970s it stated that bullet fragments retrieved from the crime scene were too similar to come from more than two bullets, according to a recent Associated Press report.

The new researchers say advanced techniques used on bullets from the same batch Oswald used show this is not the case. According to their findings, which appear in the Annals of Applied Statistics, they found that one of the 30 bullets from this batch compositionally matched one of the fragments from the assassination.

Therefore, they conclude that it is possible that the bullet fragments from the assassination could have come from three or more separate bullets, according to the AP.

In other words, because of the similarities they found between the fragments and the other bullet, the researchers believe the House Select Committee was wrong in stating that no more than two bullets could have hit the president.

I'm not a ballistics expert so I will leave whatever conclusions that can be drawn from this to the eye of the beholder.

Realistically, I don't see these findings having much of an impact on how the crime is viewed. Folks who believe there was more than one gunman will likely add this to their arsenal of evidence.

On the other hand, those who believe Oswald acted alone will soon begin picking apart these findings with skill and efficiency.

However, the most fascinating aspect of all this is how this controversy is so absorbing after 44 years.

Much like people who have searched for unicorns, there are those who still are dedicated to finding the one missing piece of evidence that will resolve this issue.

Unfortunately for these folks, I believe they search in vain.

Many times I feel like a lone wolf on this topic because I am in the small minority of people who believe Oswald acted alone, and there was no conspiracy of any sort.

The space in this column is far too brief to totally explain why I believe that. Gerald Posner's excellent book "Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK" does an excellent job of explaining why Oswald was the lone gunman.

His book explains it better than I ever could. It seems when dealing with this crime that we immerse ourselves so deeply into all the possible conspiracies that we lose site of who Oswald really was.

He was a confused person raised as a child under difficult circumstances that left him lonely and alienated. As an adult, he was a spectacular failure who was desperate for attention.

Well, he got all the attention he wanted. After all, we are still discussing him 44 years after his death.

How many of us can say people will be talking about us after we leave here?

But, then again, Oswald gave up a whole lot to be well known. Gladly, most of us are content not to go down that path.


Joltin' Django said...

Not so fast! These kooks, er, folks beg to differ:

Chris said...

Looks like those folks are lookin' to make some bucks off this topic.