The Grassy Knoll

It’s scary sometimes how Melissa and I think alike. I swear had no idea she would be posting about this exact same topic at exactly the same time, but perhaps it’s part of a vast conspiracy…

That said, it’s been almost 44 years since John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, and since that day in November 1963, questions have lingered as to whether or not the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone was right.

Now, with scientific methods of forensic science that can check the evidence with far more accuracy and certainty than were available at the time, there is a call to re-examine the bullet fragments and determine if there may have been more than one gunman in Dealey Plaza on that Friday afternoon.

The “evidence used to rule out a second assassin is fundamentally flawed,” concludes a new article in the Annals of Applied Statistics written by former FBI lab metallurgist William A. Tobin and Texas A&M University researchers Cliff Spiegelman and William D. James.

The researchers’ re-analysis involved new statistical calculations and a modern chemical analysis of bullets from the same batch Oswald is purported to have used. They reached no conclusion about whether more than one gunman was involved, but urged that authorities conduct a new and complete forensic re-analysis of the five bullet fragments left from the assassination in Dallas.

“Given the significance and impact of the JFK assassination, it is scientifically desirable for the evidentiary fragments to be re-analyzed,” the researchers said.

Theories about the Kennedy assassination have been around since the moment the shots were fired, and they have never really gone away. Everyone from the CIA, Fidel Castro, the Mafia, to aliens from the future have been suspected, and it’s only a matter of time before some wingnut subpoenas Hillary Clinton to find out exactly where she was in November 1963 to determine whether or not she was involved so that she could eventually run for the White House. (Trust me, there’s gotta be someone out there who really thinks that.)

Even if this new method concludes that the bullets that killed President Kennedy didn’t come from the same batch, the truth may never be known to a certainty as to what really happened. I’ve never bought into the mass conspiracy theory because human nature and failings have proved time and again that we are incapable of executing such a complex and massive operation without someone screwing it up or leaking it to the press.

And frankly, we have reached a point that legend and myth have merged with reality to put the tragedy of Dallas into a place that we who remember it do not want to go back and revisit it again. As Mrs. Kennedy said after the funeral (and echoing Eleanor Roosevelt in April 1945), the story is over.

Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.

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18 Comments

Filed under 06_bobby

18 responses to “The Grassy Knoll

  1. Kathy A

    I’ve never bought into the mass conspiracy theory because human nature and failings have proved time and again that we are incapable of executing such a complex and massive operation without someone screwing it up or leaking it to the press.

    Exactly. Until someone definitively proves otherwise, I believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was a “poor misguided nobody” (to quote Sondheim’s Assassins) that, like most other people fixated on killing the famous/powerful, just wanted to be noticed.

    “Fifty years from now, they’ll still be arguing about the grassy knoll, the Mafia, some Cuban crouched behind a stockade fence, but this — right here, right now — this is the real conspiracy. And you’re a part of it.”

  2. Interesting that this comes out at the same time Vincent Bugliosi is releasing his magnum opus that claims, beyond doubt, that Oswald acted alone. I’ve got no real opinion on it, though I also lean toward the whole “larger the conspiracy, larger the chance it gets exposed” theory. My cousin, the conspiracy theorist argues that the problem isn’t that the conspiracy is hidden–it’s that no one is willing to believe it once it’s exposed.

  3. larkohio

    I have no idea if there was a conspiracy, but I surely think there might have been.

    However, I wish that JFK or RFK would come along now and help this country out.

    Seriously, compare these two guys to GWB and Dr. Doom……. No comparison.

  4. nightshift66

    I’ve long had a ‘small conspiracy’ theory on JFK’s assassination, believing that no more than 3 people were involved, one of whom was Oswald. As you note, if there were more someone would’ve spilled the beans by now. OTOH, I’ve never seen a living thing get shot and move toward the shooter, so I don’t believe it was Oswald who fired the kill shot.

    Of course, 44 years after the fact, we’re never going to know the truth of it. Oliver Stone actually came close to the true importance of the event in his movie: it was the first blow against faith in the US government by our citizens. In that respect, it doesn’t matter whether or not the CIA or Army officers were behind it. The fact that we have no trouble believing that they’re capable and willing to do it was the worm that cut the taproot of the Republic.

  5. zak822

    Of course large scale conspiracies can work without detection. Recent history is full of them. If they become visible at all it’s usually long after it’s too late for anyone to be held to account. But the point itself can’t be proven. If a large conspiracy worked without detection then we didn’t learn about it, did we?

    We do have examples of large conspiracies that worked without detection for long periods of time. There were multiple plots to kill Castro. We toppled the ruler of Iran, killed Patrice Lumumba, the list is long.

    On the private side, we’re still looking for Hoffa. He didn’t just wander off, after all. And he’s just one example.

    As for the grassy knoll, the magic bullet was pristine. That is impossible in a bullet that allegedly did major damage to two men and hit bones (skull and wrist) in the bargain. It simply doesn’t work that way and any large game hunter knows it. Even military ammo, required by the Geneva Convention to be none-expanding, will be deformed by impact with bones. And frankly, Oswald’s weapon is/was underpowered for going through two people. The magic bullet theory is the basis for the lone gunman theory.

    Without the magic bullet, the door is wide open.

  6. Of course large scale conspiracies can work without detection. … If a large conspiracy worked without detection then we didn’t learn about it, did we?

    Right.

    It’s often more about the lie than the conspiracy. Who was it that said the biggest lies are the easiest to believe…?

  7. nightshift66

    Liss,
    It was Hitler’s propagandist, whose name escapes me at the moment, who is famous for propounding the ‘big lie’ theory.

    Speaking of Nazi’s who knew how to play people, here’s one for our times:

    “Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war … That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country to decide policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, be it a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy.

    All you have to do is tell them they are under attack and denounce peacemakers for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
    – Hermann Goering, Nazi Reichsmarschall

  8. larkohio

    Nightshift: Joseph Goebels (misspelled) very scary guy working for Hitler.

  9. Wasn’t George H.W. Bush in charge of the CIA when Kennedy was assassinated?

  10. Wasn’t George H.W. Bush in charge of the CIA when Kennedy was assassinated?

    Nope, it was John McCone from 1961-1965.

    George H.W. Bush was director of the CIA from January 1976 to January 1977.

  11. nightshift66

    Thanks, lark. I couldn’t remember the name for anything.

  12. Thanks, Nightshift and Lark. Go team!

  13. DE

    William Haddad

  14. However, I wish that JFK or RFK would come along now and help this country out.

    But one was a philanderer and adulterer, and the other his enabler. Can you imagine what the Republican “Moral Majority” would do with that nowadays? Clinton was impeached for a mere blowjob!

  15. zak822

    BTW, I meant to add that we can know some things for certain. If there were different caliber bullets used, there is definitely more than one shooter. That, my friends, is a conspiracy. By implication, it must be large and have at least one well-placed member, because the shooters had info about the route of the motorcade. Which was changed at the last minute.

    That, plus the fact that the magic bullet could not have performed as advertised, equals a plot.

  16. nj progressive

    JFK would have been 90 years old this month, born on May 29, 1917.

  17. nightshift66

    nj,
    With the incredible list of ailments and afflictions JFK had (such as Addison’s), as well as his unbelievably risky personal behavior, I doubt he’d have lived to see 65 in any case.

    And no, we shan’t see his likes (or RFK’s) again, sadly.

  18. Arkades

    I wonder how many other Dungeons & Dragons players out there have always wondered about the Grassy Gnoll…?

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