Oswald Did It and He Acted Alone?

by DAVID MACARAY

With the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination just around the corner, we can expect the media to be inundated with solemn remembrances, first-person recollections, and extravagant revisionism. Alas, every heavy-duty plot and whacked-out account of the Kennedy administration will demand and very likely be given its moment in the sun.

The next time you’re at a social gathering and, masochistically, wish to have the guests pelt you with cheese balls, announce to everyone that you not only believe it was the hapless, 24-year old Lee Harvey Oswald who killed Kennedy, but that he acted alone. Then sit back and prepare to be attacked.

It’s rare indeed to find anyone who thinks Oswald acted alone. In fact, although no one can, with certainty, tell you precisely who did it, they’re positive of two things: (1) It wasn’t Oswald, and (2) it was either the USSR, Cuban Fidelistas, Cuban anti-Fidelistas, official CIA agents, rogue CIA agents, ex-CIA agents, official FBI, rogue FBI, the Mafia, the Trilateral Commission, Lyndon Johnson, or the oil companies. That’s a partial list.

Of course, I have no idea what I’m talking about. Like everyone else, I’m reduced to sifting through the wreckage, trying to make sense of it. All I know is what I’ve read. Another thing I know is that it’s futile to argue forensics with the “true believers.” The PBS show that aired last week (Nov. 12), featuring high-tech forensic evidence supporting the “single-bullet” theory, changed no one’s mind. Not only did it not change their minds, they smirked at it. They ridiculed it; they howled with laughter.

Personally, I think Oswald probably did it, and that he probably acted alone. My reason for thinking this is two-fold: (1) A Dallas newspaper had unwisely published in advance a map of the presidential motorcade’s route, and (2) the assassination went down the way most assassinations go down, so there was really no need to get all exotic about it.

I can understand why people reject the theory that Oswald could have pulled this off by himself. It’s hard to embrace the notion that this fool—this nobody, this loser—could single-handedly snuff out the life of the vibrant and charismatic leader of the Free World, and change the course of human history forever. But this is how most assassinations occur. It’s the Lee Harvey Oswalds of the world who do this sort of thing.

Political assassinations aren’t Hollywood movies, where shadowy international figures are paid millions of dollars and then get plastic surgery. Check the list: Charles Guiteau, Garfield’s assassin, Leon Czolgosz, McKinley’s assassin, Gavrilo Princip, the 19-year old who killed Archduke Ferdinand, Sirhan Sirhan, Guiseppe Zangara, Thomas Hagan, Yigal Amir. These were basically “average” or “below average” guys.

Also let’s not forget that Manson family member Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme was within two feet of Gerald Ford when her gun misfired. It was sheer luck Ford wasn’t shot. Then we have those unstable misfits and nut-cases: Mark Chapman, who killed John Lennon, Arthur Bremer, who shot George Wallace, and John Paul Franklin, who shot Larry Flynt. These guys just walked up to their victims and fired. They were Oswaldesque nobodies, and yet they changed history.

The sterling example of this, of course, was 25-year old John Hinckley, the man who shot Ronald Reagan. This happened in 1981, eighteen years after the JFK assassination, when presidential security was infinitely better than it was in 1963. Yet Hinckley, a former mental patient, walks up to Reagan on a Washington D.C. street in broad daylight, with Secret Service agents surrounding him, and gets off six shots. He misses Reagan’s heart by inches.

A subsequent jury finds Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity. But if a certifiably insane man, fresh out of the mental ward, can devise a plan where he walks up to the president in broad daylight, and fires six shots at point blank range, why is a confused (but sane) wannabe like Oswald deemed incapable of planning an assassination?

But what do I know? Like everybody else, I’m just guessing.

David Macaray is a Los Angeles playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor”).  He can be reached at dmacaray@earthlink.net

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is “Nightshift: 270 Factory Stories.” He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire
Halyna Mokrushyna
Decentralization Reform in Ukraine
Norman Pollack
World Capitalism, a Basket Case: A Layman’s View
Sarah Lazare
Listening to Iraq
John Laforge
NSP/Xcel Energy Falsified Welding Test Documents on Rad Waste Casks
Wendell G Bradley
Drilling for Wattenberg Oil is Not Profitable
Joy First
Wisconsin Walk for Peace and Justice: Nine Arrested at Volk Field
Mel Gurtov
China’s Insecurity
Mateo Pimentel
An Operator’s Guide to Trump’s Racism
Yves Engler
Harper Conservatives and Abuse of Power
Michael Dickinson
Police Guns of Brixton: Another Unarmed Black Shot by London Cops
Ron Jacobs
Daydream Sunset: a Playlist
Charles R. Larson
The Beginning of the Poppy Wars: Amitav Ghosh’s “Flood of Fire”
David Yearsley
A Rising Star Over a Dark Forest
August 27, 2015
Sam Husseini
Foreign Policy, Sanders-Style: Backing Saudi Intervention
Brad Evans – Henry A. Giroux
Self-Plagiarism and the Politics of Character Assassination: the Case of Zygmunt Bauman