Monday, November 18, 2013

Hedunnit

Fifty years after John F. Kennedy was murdered, in broad daylight, in front of hundreds of witnesses and the most famous 8mm camera ever wielded, is it possible to say with certainty who shot him? If we hesitate before replying that it was Lee Harvey Oswald, it might not be because we have too little information. It might be because we have too much. Don de Lillo, in his formidable assassination novel Libra, called it the “data-spew” – “an incredible haul of human utterance.” November 22, 1963, must be the most documented day in history.

The deluge of paperwork started with the report of the Warren Commission, the inquiry ordered by Kennedy’s successor Lyndon Johnson. The Commission found Oswald acted alone. From the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository he fired three shots at Kennedy’s motorcade. One bullet missed and hit a kerb. A second round, the much-scoffed-at “magic bullet”, hit Kennedy’s back and exited his throat before hitting the back, wrist and thigh of the Texan Governor John Connally, who was sitting in front of him. The bullet later turned up on Connally’s hospital gurney, in remarkably undamaged condition. Oswald’s remaining shot entered the back of Kennedy’s skull and blew out a gaping mortal wound above his ear ... [READ MORE]