Nov. 22, 1963, is another Day of Infamy in U.S. history. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy on that date already has prompted a flurry of stories about the killing in Dallas, especially about the shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald. Of course, the conspiracy theories abound. They will last forever.
But many of the writers and other investigators of the killing are convinced that Oswald acted alone. Oswald is a story in himself. He was a person who never “fit in” anywhere, a misfit if there ever was one. He was a loner who failed in everything he tried to do. He craved attention and that was one of the reasons he killed Kennedy. He was politically insecure, embraced communism, but even was a failure when he went to Russia to live. He also tried to get to Cuba, a country that he praised as the place to live, but he never was able to get there.
One of the recent books published about the assassination is by Bill O’Reilly, the TV talk show host who also is an author, and writes particularly about history. The book’s title is “Killing Kennedy — The End of Camelot.” The co-author is Martin Dugard. He details much information about Oswald. He believes Oswald acted alone. Bobby Kennedy and J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI at the time, believed there was a conspiracy, according to O’Reilly. The two men did not like each other. Bobby Kennedy was the attorney general at the time. Some of the conspiracy theories include the CIA, mob connections, Castro and the KGB — take your pick.
’Reilly traces the activities of Oswald and Kennedy for some time leading up to the assassination. Much of it has been revealed before. Oswald was in the Marine Corps (he was given an early release) where he learned to be a marksman. Unable to be successful in his life, he turned to Russia and communism. He was an avowed atheist. The Russians did take care of him to a point, although they didn’t trust him. In fact, they told him to leave Russia. After he tried to commit suicide, the Russians found work for him in Minsk. He met Marina, married her in Minsk, but later wanted to return to the United States. He was unhappy when his return from Russia attracted no media attention. He found menial work, couldn’t hold a job very long, had a turbulent marriage, and was being watched off and on by our government.
Oswald then tried to get to Cuba. He bragged about living in Russia and how great life was in Cuba. He was arrested while agitating on behalf of Cuba in New Orleans. He eventually drifted to Dallas when he was unable to get to Cuba. A loner, his marriage was falling apart. Marina moved out of their apartment and went to live with a friend. In the meantime, Oswald bought a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, got a job in the book depository building from where he fired at Kennedy, firing three 6.5 millimeter rounds, two of which hit Kennedy, according to O’Reilly’s report.
Jack Ruby killed Oswald while he was being moved from a Dallas jail. O’Reilly said Ruby killed Oswald “to redeem the city of Dallas for the assassination.” Ruby was convicted of murder, was sentenced to death, granted a new trial but he died of cancer before it was held. Ruby died in January 1967. Marina never returned to the Soviet Union and continued to live in Dallas. She remarried but that marriage ended in divorce.
In a recent article in The New York Times, writer Peter Savodnik said Oswald often is portrayed as a cog in the schemes of others. “But as his time in the Soviet Union makes clear, Lee Harvey Oswald was a troubled soul, looking for a cause — and perfectly capable of killing the president all by himself.” Savodnik is the author of “The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union.” After Oswald arrived in Minsk, he wrote a letter to his mother and brother telling them to forget him — he was starting a new life, Savodnik wrote. However, he didn’t find Russia to be a workers’ paradise. Two and half years later, he left Russia with his wife and baby in June 1962. Seventeen months later, he killed Kennedy.
There are books that claim that the official finding that Oswald shot Kennedy is not true. One of these books was published in 2012-2013. Its title is “Dead Wrong,” written by Richard Belzer and David Wayne, with an “afterword” by Jesse Ventura. This account of the assassination concludes: “The ‘lone assassin’ nonsense has been thoroughly disproved by the JFK research community — the circumstances of the ambush (too many bullets from too many angles) literally necessitate multiple shooters. Oswald had clear links to the intelligence community, was set up to take the fall and a massive cover-up followed.”
If that is true, who set him up? Was it a domestic high level political conspiracy as some people believe, involving the vice president, the CIA, mafia and anti-Castro Cubans? The book takes that position and concludes shots that hit Kennedy were fired in front of the president from that grassy knoll alongside the book depository building where Oswald worked. In other words, Oswald’s shots did not hit Kennedy, or the fatal shots were from somewhere else.
As mentioned, the 50th anniversary in November of the assassination is upon us. It not only will bring back memories of “where were you when you heard the news” but a renewed interest in the facts surrounding the tragic event.