54 years after JFK's assasination, we are still confused...
Towards the end of September I had the opportunity to visit the John F. Kennedy museum in downtown Dallas. The museum's official name is “Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza.” Here I enjoyed viewing first hand scenes from an incident that has intrigued me for years.
I remember first learning about the assassination as a high school student. Our teacher was excellent in that she presented all sides of the account, giving us the freedom to come to our own opinions and conclusions. The museum seemed to have a similar approach.
Over the course of an hour or so I walked through each exhibit, reading and watching and listening to the prompts. Somewhere towards the middle of the dialogue, things got really blurry. Who was Harvey Lee Oswald and why did Jack Ruby shoot him? In fact, what did Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner, have to do with the JFK scene at all?
The museum tour ended with as many questions as it began with. There still are no clear answers and the consensus was the same as that of my high school teacher's – figure it out yourself.
Many weeks later I was reading “Season of the Witch”, a story of San Fransisco during the Summer of Love, (1967) when I came across a quote from Nancy Ling Perry, who was sixteen when she witnessed the JFK shooting.
“When I was in high school, I witnessed the first military coup against we the people of this country. I saw us passively sit by our TVs and unconsciously watch as the militarily armed corporate state took over the existing government and blatantly destroyed the constitution that some of us still believed in. I listened to the people around me deny that a military coup had taken place and claim that such a thing could not happen here . .. In 1964 I witnessed these and other somewhat hidden beginnings of the military/corporate state which we now live in. And I heard my teachers and the government-controlled media spread lies about what had happened. I saw the civil rights protests, the killings and bombings of my black brothers and sisters and the conditioned reactions of extreme racism in my school and home... I told my teachers and family and friends that I felt that we were all being used as pawns and puppets, and that those who had taken over the government were trying to keep us asleep in a political stupor. I asked my teachers to tell me what happened in Nazi Germany; I asked them to tell me the meaning of fascism; I asked them to tell me the meaning of genocide. And when I began to hear about a war in Vietnam, I asked them to tell me the meaning of imperialism. The answer to all my questions then was either silence, or a reply filled with confusion and lies.”
Ling Perry went on to become a part of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) which was a left-wing revolutionary organization in the early 70's. This group conducted kidnappings, murders and lots of violence in their revolt against the American government.
More recently, I have read a news article about President Trump's order to release all assassination records to the general public, yet in the same order he suggested agencies withhold information in the rare event that something might be harmful to the nation.
Records show that Oswald had no tie to the CIA or American government in any form, yet why the lack of evidence to prove this? Why does the story still have gaps? Some claim that the shooting position on the 6th floor was staged and that the angle is virtually impossible, even for the best sportsmen. Others think there were more shooters involved besides Oswald. And why did he take pictures with his gun just days before the assignation?
All of this is terribly agonizing to an American public who only wants the honest truth. I feel so much sympathy for the citizens of 1963 and yet maybe it is actually empathy I feel. Empathy in that our nation seems to have similar stories today; stories with gaps and lack of detail and misunderstanding. Is the American public being lied to for our own protection or for the protection of an elite few?