I was able to close the loop on something today. On October 23, 1963, I turned twelve years old. Thirty days later, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
It was the first political event that got my attention. Even since that day, I have been interested in politics and how the world works. It was my first exposure to the fact that some people would actually kill another person to get their way. Like many others, I still remember where I was that day.
I think I have watched most of the major movie and TV specials about the event. I read several books when I was younger. The result of all the above was a general confusion.
Since that day, I have always wanted to visit the scene of that assassination and see for myself the place that “ended Camelot.” And today I did.
I’m working a DevOps consulting engagement and decided to spend the weekend in Dallas rather than come back to Atlanta. Early this morning, I went looking for a good breakfast place and found myself near Dealey Plaza. I drove there, parked the car, and walked around for about three hours, taking pictures. I’ll post them on Facebook for those who follow me there. I stood next to the plinth where Abraham Zapruder took his famous film. I stood behind the fence on the “grassy knoll” and I checked out what I thought were the shooting angles.
I spent a couple of hours in the museum, reading again and reminding myself about all the different questions, theories and ideas. The museum presented a very balanced account, giving voice to all the different theories.
Here’s what I came away with.
After viewing the film showing the timing of the shots (under seven seconds) and looking out the window of the Texas School Book Depository for myself, I came to three conclusions.
The first is that there is no way Oswald cocked the gun twice, fired it three times, and managed to aim well enough to hit his target three times. With our modern weapons today, it would probably be much easier, but not back in 1963. I just don’t buy it.
The second conclusion is that Americans still care about this and want to know the truth. I was at the museum when it opened at ten this morning, and the line was almost out the door. And there were dozens of people, just like me, wandering around and taking pictures. The most telling evidence of this was probably that the grass on the lawn next to the two “Xs” on the street was trampled to dust. People still want to know what actually happened that day.
The third conclusion I came to was that our Federal law enforcement agencies, for whatever reason, did not give all the information it had to Congress or to the American people. Not that this is a big surprise to me or anyone else, but I still become very irritated that our government thinks the truth is something that I don’t need to know or am incapable of interpreting for myself.
All that having been said, I don’t plan to debate this with anyone – there is no way to get any real resolution and, therefore, no point in arguing about it.
Also, I don’t have the resources or the inclination to pursue an investigation of my own. It’s already been done too many times to count and, frankly, there are many other, more productive ways I can think of to spend my time. But I still think about it sometimes and wonder who else was involved in this heinous act and never paid any consequences.
I’m closing the door on this long-time source of anxiety for me. I do recommend that anyone with interest in this subject come here to Dallas and check it out for yourself.
And I also recommend a healthy distrust of our Federal government.