Speculation on the Assassination
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, James Piereson had this to say about the Kennedy assassination:
The evidence condemning Oswald was overwhelming. The bullets that killed President Kennedy were fired from his rifle, which was found in the warehouse where he worked and where he was seen moments before the shooting. Witnesses on the street saw a man firing shots from a window in that building and immediately summoned police to provide a description. Forty-five minutes later a policeman stopped Oswald in another section of the city to question him about the shooting. Oswald killed him with four quick shots from his pistol as the policeman stepped from his squad car. He then fled to a nearby movie theater where he was captured (still carrying the pistol). Yet opinion polls suggest that 75% of American adults believe that JFK was the victim of a conspiracy.
The widespread feeling that disreputable elements in American culture contributed to Kennedy’s death — fed by liberal media figures and politicians — encouraged an anti-American attitude that was a pronounced aspect of the radical and countercultural movements of the 1960s. In the process, the real assassin, his political coloration and likely motives were airbrushed from history.
I, too, don’t believe there was a second gunman. I don’t buy that shots were fired from the grassy knoll. I believe that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, killed JFK. I don’t believe, as John Connally believed, that he was Oswald’s target that day, for reasons having to do with Connally’s position as Secretary of the Navy and Oswald’s thwarted desire to serve in the Marines. And I certainly don’t believe the fiction of Oliver Stone’s assassination film JFK.
Speaking of Stone’s film, the late George Christian, LBJ’s former press secretary, told me once that he feared that Stone’s film would become the remembered truth of the assassination. That it didn’t happen was due to Harry Middleton, the founding director of the Johnson Presidential Library. Middleton’s decision to release Johnson’s White House tapes, with the acquiesence of Lady Bird, salvaged Johnson’s reputation and showed him at his best–and at his most human.
The most authoritative book on the assassination, in my opinion, is Case Closed, by Gerald Posner. It is exhaustively researched and brims with credibility. Posner concludes the last chapter with, “[For] those seeking the truth, the facts are incontrovertible…They can be tested against credible testimony, documents, and the latest scientific advances. Chasing shadows on the grassy knoll will never substitute for real history. Lee Harvey Oswald, driven by his own twisted and impenetrable furies, was the only assassin at Dealy Plaza on November 22, 1963. To say otherwise, in light of the overwhelming evidence, is to absolve a man with blood on his hands and to mock the President he killed.”