As this marks the beginning of my newsletter, I thought it only made sense to take a look at the biggest, most popular conspiracy theory: JFK’s assassination.
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When I started looking into this, I knew it was a popular topic, but I had no idea just how much information was out there on it. Suffice it to say – there’s a lot. Countless books and articles have been written about it, studies and reenactments done, documentaries created, debates had, official investigations conducted, and more.
Who killed JFK is a looming question that seemingly everyone has a different answer to. Why is it so important, though?
There are plenty of answers to the question. People were devastated when it happened. It was the most broadcast tragedy in America until 9/11. Even more importantly, the effects from JFK’s death and Johnson’s Presidency thereafter are long reaching and have drastically helped mold the country into what it is today.
Before we get into looking at how the world changed, let’s talk about what we actually know happened the day of JFK’s assassination.
On November 22nd, 1963, JFK, the Governor of Texas, and their wives were in an open-top limo. They were headed to the Dallas Trade Mart (in – you guessed it – Dallas, TX) for lunch while a massive crowd watched their cars pass by. Then, suddenly, gunshots were fired and the President was dead.
Lee Harvey Oswald worked in the Texas School Book Depository. He was there working when the President was killed. Then, shortly before the building was locked down, he left. A little later, a police officer was found dead and Oswald was arrested for his murder in a movie theater.
During his arrest, Oswald claimed he was a patsy who hadn’t killed anyone. Two days after his arrest, Oswald was supposed to be transported to a more secure location. As he was, Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner with mob connections, shot and killed Oswald.
There are a ton of theories about what really happened, but that’s the gist of what we know for sure. Did Oswald really kill JFK? Most Americans don’t think so. An official government investigation was conducted (the Warren Commission) which claimed that Oswald had acted alone. People have doubted the truth of their findings ever since, of course, and recently the CIA admitted to omitting details from their testimony to the committee in order to “keep it focused.”
Years later, in 1979, the US House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) took another look at the investigation and concluded that there was, in fact, a second shooter based on audio evidence. That evidence has been argued over ever since, though, and the HSCA made no attempt to identify the second shooter.
An unbelievable number of theories over who really killed JFK abound. Some of the more interesting ones involve the CIA, the Mafia, aliens, or a shadow government. There are plenty of others, too, but these are the most interesting.
Interestingly enough, the CIA is involved in most of these theories. JFK had said he wanted to dismantle the agency, a fact that they were obviously not thrilled about. One theory blames Allen Dulles, who had been the previous director of the CIA until JFK fired him; it states that he rallied a group against JFK and plotted the assassination.
It’s also theorized that the CIA worked with the Mafia to kill JFK. The Mafia was upset that JFK’s brother, Bobby Kennedy, was cracking down on them and wanted to send a message. Supposedly, on their death beds, two crime bosses have even confessed to the assassination. Of course, whether they were telling the truth or not will probably never be agreed on.
If you don’t believe the CIA worked with the mafia to kill JFK, what about aliens? According to some theorists, JFK wanted information about UFOs from the CIA. He was supposedly going to tell the public (or at least the Russian government) the truth about aliens. Because they couldn’t have that, they killed him.
This leads me into the shadow government theory which has many different facets. If aliens were involved, it’s said the shadow government didn’t want people to unite against an extraterrestrial threat. Instead, it was easier for them to keep people divided and afraid. Of course, even without aliens, the shadow government may have had other reasons for JFK’s assassination, too.
Whatever the case, it’s impossible to say what the world would be like if things turned out differently. What we do know is how JFK’s death changed things.
Some believe that, given JFK’s previous actions, the US may not have been drug into the Vietnam War to the extent that it was. Instead, JFK would have tried to make the Vietnam War appear to be Vietnamese fighting Vietnamese. Johnson’s Great Society would likely not have come to pass, as well. The reason for this, people claim, is simple: Johnson was a better, more forceful legislator than JFK.
The Great Society dramatically changed the face of the US, for better or for worse. It created welfare programs, funded art and museums, funded public education, instituted environmental safety regulations, created Medicare, made discrimination and segregation illegal, along with several other changes. While many would argue these changes were positive, some say that they have done far more harm than good because Americans are now far more dependent on the government than they used to be.
Finally, and regardless of whichever side of the Great Society debate you fall on, the most interesting change I found was this: the level of trust Americans have in our government has dramatically changed. In 1964, a whopping 76% of Americans trusted the government to do the right thing. Now, however, only 19% do.
The loss of trust in our government can’t be completely attributed to JFK’s assassination. It does, however, seem to be when peoples’ view of it began to go downhill. If people believe our government could assassinate the leader we’ve elected, how can we trust the government itself?
If you’d like to take a look at some interesting articles, below is a plethora. Also, let me know what you think in the comments. Who killed JFK and why? Does the culprit even matter at this point?