The shot heard by no one

I haven’t written here for a while, but there’s a particular reason for that.  The GP’s convention occurred the weekend before last, and it’s safe to say that it had an impact on my view of the Party and the actions that I’ve been taking and planning to take as an activist.  I figured that the best thing to do was to take some time and sort out exactly how I felt about the whole thing.  (As an aside, I do wish more people, particularly journalists, would do exactly that; however, the 24-hour news cycle demands immediate filler and “breaking news” even when it would be best to report the bare bones of a story and leave analysis to a later time, once things develop – in other words, say it is too early to tell because it is, and leave it at that for a bit.  Of course, this can’t be done, and in any case such tactics are best for those who create the policy rather than those who report on it.  I have a foot in both camps, to an extent, so I find myself in the ever-popular “weird area”.)

So my silence hasn’t been because of neglect, but rather a deliberate consideration as to my next move: what I’m going to say, how I’m going to say it, and what I’m going to do next.

In the meantime, I was struck by a few recent developments of JFK assassination lore: the publishing of a new home movie taken on the day of the assassination, and the publication of Vincent Bugliosi’s voluminous defense of the Lone Gunman Theory.

The film is a several-second clip showing the motorcade approaching on Main Street, shortly before turning right onto Houston Street.  The President would be shot approximately 90 seconds later.  It was shot by a citizen of Dallas and kept for 45 years before being revealed, presumably by one of the person’s descendants.  (In a detail that makes me wonder who the hell these people are and what they are thinking, several of the LGT writers wrote about their bafflement as to why this film was concealed from public revelation for that long…apparently not considering that someone might be so upset about that day and the actions which took place not two minutes later that one might not wish to ever see it again.  I suppose such revelations also interfere with one of the LGTers’ attempted proofs-by-fiat: that a secret couldn’t be kept that long; therefore, if we simply assert what we believe happened and wait long enough, we’re right.)  The film shows nothing of too much consequence, except for the LGTers’ gleeful freeze-frame of the back of Kennedy’s suit jacket, which appears to be somewhat bunched around his neck, as it he’d gotten into the limo and flounced back in a deep seat, causing his suit to rumple, rather than sat back in a more controlled manner.  This is significant, because one of the tenets of the Magic Bullet Theory is that Kennedy’s suit was indeed in this fashion when he was shot, causing the hole in the back of the jacket to be lower than where he was actually shot.

Bugliosi’s book is impressive just by its sheer size – about 1500 pages – and is an account of his prosecution within a mock trial put forth by London Weekend Television, in which Oswald is tried post mortem by engaging surviving witnesses.  The not-too-surprising verdict, considering he wrote a book rather than denounced the findings, was that Oswald was found solely guilty.

The LGTers are very much in ascendence right now.  It’s very fashionable of late in the mainstream sources (the networks, the New Yorker, etc.) to paint Jim Garrison as a crazed lunatic, berserk in the realm of jurisprudence; Oliver Stone as an opportunist hack director; and all theorists except themselves as wild-eyed and unstable, without any grasp of logic.  Call it the Richard Dawkins Effect: “I’m so very right in my scrupulous method that I’m perfectly justified in applying my findings to absolutely every aspect of the investigation, whether or not it has anything to do with science or logic.”  As an example, Dawkins, or the LGTers, reason that they are so correct in their absolute ownership of the truth that they can’t be assholes…therefore everyone else must be.

In truth, there are an awful lot of examples of such on both sides.  Getting to the truth of this requires that people examine the minutae of the case: the trajectory of the bullets, the sometimes-ghastly forensic details of a murder by gunshot, the various web of connections and alleged connections.  Most of it – on both sides – is pure bullshit; Bugliosi in particular is quite bombastic and cock-sure, as befits a prosecuting attorney, and his pronouncements of good and noble intentions in producing his book while Oliver Stone, et. al., are slimy creeps for producing theirs rings very hollow.  The sweeping generalizations on both sides are frequently laughable; guys like Jim Marrs and Harrison Livingstone have been randomly dismissing Warren Commission evidence for years by constructing sinister ulterior motives for everyone involved with a different opinion, including former partners like Richard Groden…while on the other hand, LGTers scoff at the idea that there could be a confluence of CIA agents, mobsters, anti-Castro Cubans, and fascist right-wingers to kill the President – while ignoring or refusing to acknowledge that an acknowledged conspiracy existed among these very same elements to kill Castro.  LGTers will laugh at “conspiracists” for their habit of drawing dozens of “trajectories” all over mockups of Dealey Plaza – and then expend rounds of ammunition at blocks of gelatin and duct-taped watermelons in a usually vain attempt to get them to flinch back and to the left.  Occam’s Razor falls unkindly on both sides of the equation.

I find it all fascinating because of the implications.  The President of the United States was murdered in a particularly brutal fashion – being shot in the head in broad daylight as he drove through a major American city in front of dozens of witnesses.  Many had and continue to have the motive to kill the President, but with a few exceptions, LGTers consider Oswald a lone nut, a man with delusions of a Communist imperative to kill Kennedy who nonetheless refused to bring that up after he did it.  Whether Kennedy was assassinated as the result of a conspiracy or the actions of Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone, there is so much more to what happened there in Dallas than any researcher or indeed historian is currently admitting.

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