Friday, June 08, 2007

The Lone Gunman

Vincent Bugliosi spent 20 years and used 2,000 pages to write Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy to conclude that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in shooting President Kennedy. The Atlantic's Thomas Mallon reviews the book and describes his impressions in an interview. Here are some of Mallon's remarks.

I think actually it’s healthy to see somebody [Vincent Bugliosi] who seems to have solid liberal credentials, who was very pro-Gore in the 2000 election, still taking the pro-Warren Commission view. ...

There are a few supposedly respectable academics who have gone way out there in conspiracy theory, but I would say that most of them are kind of gumshoes, amateurs, and people who probably were impacted by the assassination. Their emotions were impacted by it in what was originally a genuine way, but somehow the tissue around that impact has become infected, and it’s become something that they don’t want to let go of. The thing that they would hate most is for anything that they would have to regard as definitive proof to come along. I think we do have definitive proof that Oswald killed Kennedy, but if definitive proof of their own theories came along somehow, I think they’d be terribly bereft.

Inevitably any book about the Kennedy assassination becomes a book about the conspiracy theories that grew up around it. It necessarily preoccupies itself with clearing away the accumulated mythology of decades. Mallon emphasizes Bugliosi's liberal credentials for a reason. Few might otherwise believe Bugliosi's assertion that the Zapruder film actually confirms there was a lone gunman. It also helps to disconnect Oswald's pro-Castro politics from the act of assassination itself.

I think all of that goes into Oswald. Something was very wrong with Oswald, and it wasn’t his politics. Something was very wrong with him at the deepest interior spot. If he had not killed Kennedy that day, Oswald was certainly not through with violence. I mean, Oswald’s shooting of General Edwin Walker is tremendously central to understanding the Kennedy assassination. Let’s say Oswald were working somewhere else, didn’t have the job at the depository, didn’t have any chance to get near the parade route—Oswald was not through with violence. Oswald was going to kill a political figure at some point.

Oswald can be acknowledged the assassin but only at the price psychologically profiling him like a rightwing nut. But maybe that's the cost of recovering the facts -- assuming those are the facts. Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.


Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Excellent book on the Kennedy Assassination -- "Mortal Error", by Bonar Menninger (St. Martins Press, 1992).

Based on the forensic evidence, Menninger shows that Oswald did indeed act alone & shoot President Kennedy. But Kennedy was hit by two bullets, and the second was from a completely different type of gun -- which Menninger demonstrates was most likely a friendly-fire incident.

Although Menninger does not make much of it, he shows that there was indeed a conspiracy. But the conspiracy was to avoid telling the public that a Secret Service agent charged with protecting the President had accidentally put a bullet into the back of his head, finishing off the job that Oswald started.

Government must not be seen to be fallible. At least, not Democrat administrations.

6/08/2007 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger Alex Sloat said...

The one I've seen that makes the most sense is - basically, the guy spent years doing computer modelling to prove that the official story fully fits all the facts. I've never seen any decent evidence to the contrary.

6/10/2007 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger Joshua said...

Wasn't there another report from a few years ago that claimed Cuba was behind the assassination? In this case the purpose of the post-assassination "conspiracy" was to avoid a public outcry for retribution against the Castro regime that may well have escalated into global nuclear war against Castro's Soviet allies. Keep in mind that at that time, the U.S. was barely a year removed from the Cuban missile crisis.

6/11/2007 08:20:00 PM  

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