Tag Archives: Lee Harvey Oswald

Memories of JFK’s death came pouring forth

DALLAS — Exhibits such as the one my brother-in-law saw today have this way of triggering so many memories.

We ventured to the Sixth Floor Museum, the one overlooking Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, where the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was murdered in front of the world.

The exhibit has been improved greatly since first time my wife and I visited it in the mid-1980s. It contains many more pictorial displays, more text, a wonderful audio tour, film and, of course, the window where the gunman fired on the president and Texas Gov. John Connally.

I was struck by the amount of attention paid at this museum to the slew of conspiracy theories that have kicked around since the Warren Commission filed its report in 1964. The new president, Lyndon Johnson, appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren to lead the panel to examine every detail it could about the assassination.

It returned with what I believe is the soundest plausible explanation: Lee Harvey Oswald, the disgruntled Marxist, sat in the window on the sixth floor of the Book Depository Building and fired three rounds from a bolt-action rifle, killing the president and wounding the Texas governor.

I was not quite 14 years of age when the world got the news.

My own theory in the moment was cut and dried: The Russians killed the president and were going to attack and invade the United States at any moment. That was how a 13-year-old mind worked in real time way back then. I guess I forgot that we would have a new president within minutes of the 35th president’s declaration of death. That’s what happened aboard Air Force One, when U.S. District Judge Sarah Hughes swore in President Johnson, who then asked for strength and prayers from the nation he was about to lead through this horrific tragedy.

I never have paid attentin to the idiotic conspiracy theories. I don’t believe any of them. I have retained faith in the commission headed by the nation’s chief justice.

Still, I was impressed to realize that the museum organizers saw fit at least to give many of those conspiracies a sufficient airing to at least present the many “other sides” of this most intriguing tragedy.

I remain convinced today, though, that Lee Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger … and that he did it all by himself.

Let’s end the argument: RFK’s killer is behind bars

My heart is still broken over the murder of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy 50 years ago today.

Accordingly, I continue to hold members of his family in my heart as they continue to grieve over his death while running for the presidency of the United States.

But … I want to end this discussion that Sirhan Sirhan did not act alone in the Los Angeles hotel kitchen that night. I want to end the myth that there was another shooter in the room.

As you might already know from the blog, I am not a conspiracy theorist. I have dismissed the notion that someone other than Lee Harvey Oswald murdered Bobby Kennedy’s brother, the president, in Dallas on the bright, sunny November day in 1963.

None other than Robert Kennedy Jr., the third-eldest of Bobby and Ethel’s 11 children, believes Sirhan did not kill his father. I do not intend here to disrespect RFK Jr.’s belief in a second gunman, or that someone else fired those shots.

I wasn’t there when Bobby was mortally wounded; however, neither was his son.

I do know that Sirhan yelled, “Kennedy, you son of a bi***!” before firing a revolver into the back of the senator’s head. Sirhan, an immigrant from Jordan, hated Kennedy’s strong pro-Israel stance as attorney general and then as a U.S. senator. I also know that members of Kennedy’s entourage grappled immediately with Sirhan after he fired the shots. They wrenched the pistol from his hand; the bullets were spent.

Sirhan was effectively caught in the act of changing the course of U.S. political history.

He fired the shots that killed Robert Kennedy. He was sentenced initially to death; but then the Supreme Court struck down capital punishment, meaning that Sirhan would serve a life sentence in a California prison.

He did the crime. He will die behind bars. I continue to mourn the victim of his heinous act of violence.

Please, let us stop promulgating the myth that Sirhan didn’t do it.

How do you keep this event a secret?

I just took part in one of those goofy online “polls” that asked: Do you think Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of President Kennedy?

I hit “yes.” Most of the respondents, more than 60 percent of them, said “no.”

This stuff makes me cringe. It makes me want to scream.

The conspiracy debate has been fired up yet again with the president’s decision to release nearly 3,000 pages of documents relating to the 20th century’s most heinous single crime. I keep circling back to a couple of key notions regarding the conspiracy idea that someone helped Oswald kill the 35th president of the United States.

One, how does one keep such a monumental event secret?

I have grappled with that one for decades. I am utterly baffled by the notion that someone or a group of people could hide their role in such a crime from anyone. These nutty ideas that they’ve all been killed just don’t add up. Why? Because someone did the killing. Who? How? Where?

Two, does anyone actually believe that a sharp-eyed journalist couldn’t or wouldn’t reveal to the world who did such a thing?

C’mon, folks! Those ding dongs who broke into the Watergate office complex in June 1972 were revealed in fairly short order to be working for a presidential re-election committee. We found a direct line to the truth in pretty quick order.

I’ll stipulate once again that I believe from the depths of my gut that Lee Harvey Oswald acted all by himself. No one saw this guy coming. JFK’s trip to Dallas in November 1963 had alarmed folks who were worried about an attack from the far right — the John Birchers, for instance — who were so highly critical of the president.  Oswald was a Marxist. He snuck in under everyone’s radar. Such things are possible, you know?

Dare I mention, oh, the attacks of 9/11? There, I just did.

I would ask that we cease and desist with this JFK conspiracy nonsense. Except that it won’t end. Not ever.

JFK conspiracy talk might fire up again

You may now consider me an official JFK anti-conspiracy believer.

Donald J. Trump has decided to allow the release of thousands of pages of FBI and CIA documents relating to the Nov. 22, 1963 assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas.

I’m glad the president has made this call. It should help dispel the loony conspiracy theories that have been kicked around since Lee Harvey Oswald shot the president to death and severely injured Texas Gov. John Connally.

The release should do this. It won’t. It is likely to fire up the goofballs.

For the record, here is what I believe.

I believe Oswald was able to sneak into the Book Depository Building. I also believe he was able to fire off three rounds at the president’s limo in the time investigators believe it took for the three rounds to inflict their deadly damage. I further believe Oswald acted alone.

I never have bought into the conspiracy lunacy. I never will.

Instead, I look at this event thusly: There is no way in the world to keep such a conspiracy a secret for 54 days, let alone 54 years. Does any serious person really believe an enterprising reporter couldn’t ferret out the truth to such a conspiracy if one really existed?

I am going endorse the theory posited years ago by the late Los Angeles County District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi, who wrote what I consider to be the definitive book on the Kennedy murder.

Bugliosi believes the reason the conspiracy theories likely will live forever is that Americans cannot believe a loser such as Oswald could pull off what some have called the Crime of the 20th Century.

I happen to believe that Oswald’s status as a chump loser makes him the perfect candidate to exact the demented form of vengeance he sought against the president or perhaps even Gov. Connally.

So, on Thursday the records will be released for public review. I welcome them. I want them to put to rest these idiotic notions about conspiracy, second gunmen, the Mob, the Soviet Union or the Cubans having some hand in this murder.

That’s my hope. My fear is that the conspiracy nut cases will fire up their nonsense yet again.

JFK murder myth will live forever

Don’t give in to endorsement pressure, Sen. Cruz


It pains me to say something positive about U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

I don’t like the guy. He appears in my view to be far more interested in self-aggrandizement than service to Texans. He’s a loudmouth, a showboating self-promoter.

But shoot, man, I have been happy to see him stand by his principles — even if I disagree with them — in his dispute with GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump.

Cruz hasn’t endorsed Trump’s bid for the presidency. Why? Because he believes — as I do — that Trump is a fraud, a charlatan, a con man, an unprincipled opportunist, a phony.

Now, though, I hear reports of Cruz reportedly warming up to Trump. He said some nice things about Trump recently.

Dammit, Ted! Don’t go there, young man!


Trump inserted some amazingly harsh innuendo into the GOP primary campaign as he sought to vanquish Cruz’s challenge. He actually implied that Cruz’s father, a Cuban immigrant, had been seen in the company of Lee Harvey Oswald, the guy who murdered President Kennedy. The suggestion was that the elder Cruz was somehow, in some way, complicit in that act.

Plus, let’s not forget how Trump insulted Heidi Cruz, the senator’s wife, with that unflattering Twitter photo. Sen. Cruz was rightfully outraged by that tactic and called Trump a coward.

Against that backdrop, are we now going to believe that Cruz is going to make nice with this guy? That he’s going to say “Hey, let bygones be bygones” and endorse Trump’s bid for the presidency?

I happen to share Cruz’s previously stated outrage at Trump’s behavior, which I believe firmly would carry over into a Trump presidency.

Let’s not forget, either, that Cruz urged his fellow Republicans at the party’s nominating convention to “vote your conscience” this fall.

Stay true to your own conscience, Sen. Cruz.

Trump’s innuendo will live on


Donald J. Trump has done many seemingly “impossible” things while getting to the brink of the Republican Party’s presidential nomination.

Heck, just getting to this stage of the campaign — as the presumptive nominee of a once-great political party — ought to stand as the premier impossible accomplishment.

It isn’t, though. Instead, Trump managed to make Sen. Ted Cruz a sympathetic figure.

How did he do that? By tossing out the innuendo that Cruz’s father had some kind of relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who shot President Kennedy to death in 1963.

Cruz’s campaign for the presidency is now over. But the utterly hideous assertion about the senior Cruz’s supposed “role” in the JFK murder lives on.


Dallas Morning News blogger Jim Mitchell calls it a “new low” in a campaign full of new lows.

Trump used a National Enquirer story into a talking point on his campaign. That’s correct. A supermarket tabloid offered grist for Trump to assert something about a member of an opponent’s family.

As Mitchell writes: “What Trump did is what makes him such a loose cannon. He reads or hears something and then repeats it as the truth. Imagine President Trump making policy on hearsay, or an outright lie, or a plotline he picked up from a television show the night before. I can imagine waking up and having a President Trump explaining why he ordered a nuclear strike with this rationale.”

In truth, I cannot even imagine the words “President” and “Trump” next to each other in a written or spoken sentence.

The Cruz/Oswald innuendo is likely to stand out in the endless list of ghastly assertions Trump has made on his way to becoming the Republican Party nominee for president of the United States.



JFK murder conspiracy theorists will come out … again


Wait for it.

It’s coming. I almost can guarantee it. New “information” about what a late CIA director knew about President Kennedy’s murder in 1963 is certain to ignite more speculation — as if there needs to be more of it — over whether someone other than Lee Harvey Oswald had a hand in the crime of the century.

John McCone, who died in 1991, reportedly withheld information from the Warren Commission — appointed by President Johnson — that might have shown that Oswald had help in killing JFK.

Stop, already!

Oswald did it. Of that I remain convinced.

And, yes, he almost assuredly acted alone. He was a Marxist, former Marine, lone wolf nimrod who was pretty good with a high-powered rifle. He was good enough with the weapon that he fired three shots from the School Book Depository Building in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963 and killed the 35th president of the United States.

McCone, though, didn’t tell the Warren Commission about the CIA’s repeated attempts to kill Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and overthrow his communist government. The commission was unable to ask probing questions of witnesses about whether the Cubans had a hand in JFK’s murder.

Readers of this blog know that I am no fan of conspiracy theories. I’ve rested quite comfortably for the past nearly 52 years believing that Oswald did the terrible deed all by himself.

I also continue to believe that the never-ending conspiracy theories are the work of people with (a) too much time on their hands and (b) who just cannot abide by the notion that a loser such as Oswald could take down the Leader of the Free World.

Let’s just accept that he did.

Bugliosi was more than a prosecutor

Vincent Bugliosi earned his chops when he prosecuted one of the most hideous crimes of the 20th century and sent several ruthless killers to prison for the rest of their lives.

He then became a successful author and in the process wrote, in my view, a definitive historical account of another infamous murder.

Bugliosi died overnight of cancer at the age of 80. He’ll be remembered mostly for putting Charles Manson behind bars for his role in the 1969 murder of actress Sharon Tate and several others. Manson remains in prison. He becomes eligible for parole every few years. It’s a waste of time to consider this guy for release, even though the law gives him the opportunity to be heard.

Bugliosi’s prosecution of Manson will be the highlight of the lawyer’s stellar legacy.

Then he wrote “Reclaiming History,” which took more than two decades to complete. The 2,000-page tome spells out in excruciating detail that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963.


The way I see it, anyone who reads this massive piece of research should understand that the idiotic conspiracy theories that have lingered since JFK’s death — and which will live forever — do not hold up under scrutiny.

Bugliosi’s essential premise in debunking the conspiracy theories is that the idea that a loser such as Oswald could commit such a horrific crime and change the course of world history just cannot be accepted by some. But he did.

This man left two distinct marks on society during his time among us: He imprisoned a fearsome killer and his band of followers and he sought to put to rest the nutty notions surrounding the murder of the president of the United States.

Thank you for both, Mr. Bugliosi.



Conspiracy theories are for the birds

Conspiracy theories drive me nuts.

I mean it. I think I’m going crazy listening to any and all of them.

The latest spate of conspiracy theories centers around downtown Amarillo. There’s a segment of our city population — and I’m not convinced it comprises even a significant minority of residents — who keep concocting nefarious schemes dealing with business relationships within (a) city government (b) the business community or (c) between them both.

These theories are coming from individuals — or perhaps small groups of individuals — who don’t believe the city’s master plan for reviving downtown is going to work. They won’t give it a chance. They are willing to toss it out at the front end because, by golly, they just know something underhanded is going on.

I forged a fairly decent career in daily journalism over the span of 37 years. I am wired to be skeptical of matters at a lot of levels. However, I am not such a cynic as to believe out of hand that a high-dollar business deal is simply a bad thing because it involves a fair amount of money.

And yet, that’s what I keep hearing.

Conspiracy theories have this way of growing legs and even wings. They feed on themselves. They produce conspiracy spawns, that themselves grow into full-fledged conspiracies.

Here’s one that came to me today — second-hand to be sure, but I trust the source who mentioned this tidbit to me: A young member of my family told another member of my family that “it has been proven” that a Secret Service agent killed President Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. It wasn’t Lee Harvey Oswald. It wasn’t any of the other so-called conspiracy theories: the mob; the Cubans; hell, it wasn’t even Lyndon Johnson. The killer was a member of the Secret Service, the agency charged with protecting the life of the president of the United States. And it’s been proven that the Secret Service did it.

I’m glad I didn’t hear my young family member make that idiotic assertion. I would have stroked out.

That’s the kind of thing that has infected much of the discussion surrounding the downtown Amarillo story.

How about we just keep our eyes peeled and our ears open and actually witness and listen carefully to the things being discussed?


Long live conspiracy theories?

Conspiracy theories cannot die. They live forever. No matter how much evidence one provides to debunk them, someone else comes along with another notion that breathes new life into these theories.

Assassinations seem to be the most common target — please pardon the poor pun — of conspiracy theorists.

Who killed Lincoln? Or JFK? Or Martin Luther King Jr.? Or RFK?

Let’s throw in whether FDR actually encouraged the attack on Pearl Harbor or whether the feds blew up the World Trade Center on 9/11. Hey, I’ll even mention whether LBJ closed the Amarillo air base simply because he hated the Texas Panhandle.

Well, tomorrow marks the 51st anniversary of President Kennedy’s murder. Guess what? A former Mafia hit man says he — not Lee Harvey Oswald — shot the president to death in Dallas.


The goon’s name is James Files. He told Newsmax TV that he worked with other Mafia guys and actually fired the fatal shot. Newsmax.com’s link attached to this blog post supports the Files-did-it notion.

That’s a new one. He’s been quiet for more than five decades. Now he tells us.

I’ve never been a conspiracy theory addict. Maybe it’s a now-naïve belief that when you assign someone with a serious task, such as determining who killed the Leader of the Free World, that the person or people tasked with that duty will perform all their due diligence and get to the truth.

I believe the commission headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren did the job it was asked to do. It pored over all the evidence it had and determined Oswald was the lone gunman.

I’m betting there is no mention of James Files anywhere to be found.