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by William H. Benson

November 19, 1998


     At 12:30 p.m. the first bullet struck the pavement near the right rear of the the big automobile and then angled toward the curb.  From the shattered concrete a burst of sand hit James Tague’s face, who was standing beyond that same curb.  The second bullet penetrated President John F. Kennedy’s back, exited his throat, entered the Texas Governor John Connally’s back, exited his chest, and struck his wrist.  The wounds for either man were not fatal.

     Another bystander at Dealy Plaza that day, Howard Brennan, looked up to the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository to see the assassin take aim for a third bullet.  One.  Two.  Three.  Four.  Five. . . . In those five seconds of dumbfounded immobility on the ground, President Kennedy lost his life, for the third shell entered the right rear of the skull.

     “This one the President did not feel.  The light had gone out with no memories, no regrets.  After forty-six and a half years, he was again engulfed by the dark eternity from which he had come.  For good or evil, his work, his joys, his responsibilities were complete. . . . The heart would stop in a few moments, when blood pressure dropped to zero,”  wrote the author Jim Bishop.

     At exactly 1:00 p.m. on Friday, November 22, 1963 John F. Kennedy  was pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital.

     The assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, dropped the rifle, bought a pop at a machine, took the steps to the ground floor, walked some blocks away from the building, caught a bus, and then caught a taxi.  At home he grabbed a snub-nosed revolver and walked along the Dallas streets.  Patrolman J. D. Tippit, cruising the streets, happened to see Oswald who matched the description of a 25 to 30-year-old male wearing a work jacket and slacks.  Tippit got out on the driver’s side, and immediately Oswald fired five shots hitting Tippit four times and killing him.

      Oswald ran off, pistol in the air, and ducked into a movie house where minutes later he was arrested and eventually charged for the murder of John F. Kennedy and of J. D. Tippit.

      On Sunday November 24 at 11:21 a.m. at police headquarters, Jack Ruby, an unstable Dallas nightclub owner, then shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald. 

      Since those horrible days of 35 years ago, the American public has wanted to believe in a conspiracy.  Just a week afterword, a poll showed that only 29% believed that Oswald acted alone.  All the factors were there to create suspicion and mystery.  Lee Harvey Oswald was an ex-Marine who had defected to Russia and then returned.  He was a self-proclaimed Marxist and pro-Cuban.  Jack Ruby, a minor thug, had ties to the Mafia.  Fingers pointed at the CIA, the FBI, the KGB, and Jimmy Hoffa.  Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie, “JFK”, built and elaborated on the conspiracy theory to a degree that virtually many government institutions were guilty.

      Walter Cronkite recently in his book dismissed all these theories as “pure bunk”.

       The Warren Commission Report, all 26 volumes and all 10,400,000 words concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, without help, without coercion, nor at anyone’s suggestion.  That conclusion has been backed up and confirmed by numerous investigative journalists and has never been effectively challenged.


     This efflorescence of rumor and surmise, of speculation and hypothesis, of falsehood and distortion, of fantasy and fabrication, and of hallucinogenic colors has only now begun to fade after 35 dizzy years.