Conspiracy Dearies

It took a couple of seconds for the president to be killed, 35 years for mountains of conflicting evidence to pile up, and two months for associate editor Michael Hall and assistant editor Pamela Colloff to sift through it all and compile a sort of highlight reel of Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories (see “ The Conspiracy Theories ,”). The 41-year-old Hall was just 6 when JFK was shot, and the 26-year-old Colloff had yet to be born, but both were affected by what Hall characterizes as “the turning of an era from one of faith in government to one of cynicism and distrust.” Hall remembers staying home from school the day of JFK’s funeral, whereas Colloff remembers the event only through her parents. “ JFK was a hero to them,” she recalls. “They would discuss him for years at the dinner table, becoming misty-eyed at his memory. That was my point of reference.” The biggest surprise to come out of the story for both writers—other than the fact, Hall says, “that both MacNeil and Lehrer were in Dallas at the time of the assassination”—is how plausible the old lone gunman theory still seems. “The more you read about Oswald,” Hall says, “the more you come to believe that he had, as the saying goes, the means, the motive, and the opportunity.

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