On the day that President Kennedy was shot in Dallas, this columnist was scheduled to attend a French class in mid afternoon. The students who arrived early expected that the teacher would cancel the class. When the professor arrived, he briefly acknowledge the historical aspect of the day and explained that he had learned, from very gory incidents he had witnessed while living in Algeria, that, eventually, impressionable young lads (back then women were only permitted to attend classes held by the Night Sessions School) would learn that “these things happen” and not let them interfere with daily existence.
So it was that, after posting a column considering Der Spiegel’s assertion that the USA had gone collectively nuts, when we saw the news online that a congresswoman had been shot; we thought “these things happen” and prepared to carry out the plan to spend that afternoon researching the topic of snapshot collecting.
An assassination will bring out the conspiracy theory crazies like no other part of contemporary society does.
After Kennedy was shot, the Warren Commission did an in depth investigation and determined that it was the work of one solitary gunman who had his own agenda for world events. By the time the mid seventies rolled around, a second Congressional Investigation sided with the conspiracy theory loons and concluded that there had to be more than one fellow at work on the assassination that day.
What ever happened to the American spirit of good sportsmanship? If the lone gunman advocates won one bout and the crazies won the next; shouldn’t there be another one so that it would be obvious that the two out of three team was the winner?
The CBS radio news broadcast at 6 a.m. PST, on the day after the Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had been shot, couldn’t wait to get to the possibility that there might have been a second person was involved. They were so anxious to get to the fertile topic of a plot involving more than one person; they skipped mentioning the medical condition of the Congresswoman.
By Sunday afternoon, law enforcement officials were dismissing the topic of the other fellow as a non issue which they described as a taxi driver seeking change for his client.
If the conspiracy theory madmen had their way, all the history books would be different. If they’re so smart, why isn’t there a book called: “the Conspiracy Association of Nuts’ History of America”? To hear the lunatics tell it, there is a long continuous thread of unexplained phenomenon running through the course of American history.
According to those with “the inside scoop,” FDR knew Pearl Harbor was going to be bombed by the Japanese just like the British Intelligence had broken the German code and knew Coventry was going to be bombed.
They also believe that:
Poppy Bush should have been court marshaled for bailing out too soon in WWII.
Poppy Bush participated in the Bay of Pigs fiasco.
Poppy Bush and “the Blond Ghost” (who really was involved in the CIA operation known as JMWave) were both in Dallas on the day Kennedy was shot. (Poppy couldn’t remember where he was on that day.)
Weren’t Richard Nixon and E. Howard Hunt also in Dallas on that fateful day?
Where was Felix Rodriguez that day?
Was it more than just a coincidence to that Congressman Jerry Ford was in charge of the Warren Commission and became President without ever being elected either President or Vice-President?
Once the conspiracy theorists get going, there’s no stopping them. Which one of them would not also gleefully raise questions about:
The news reports that a stinger missal was seen going towards TWA flight 800.
The name of the top American responsible for security in the World Trade Center.
Broward Savings and Loan
The PR firm which was hired to drum up popular support in favor of an American military mission to liberate the oil company (partially owned by the Bush family?) holdings in Kuwait. The best they could do was to get 45% of Americans to favor the move.
Will the “taxi driver” explanation hold up to the inevitable scrutiny of the army of conspiracy theory citizen investigators? There was a taxi driver? His name didn’t happen to be Travis Bickel, did it? Are you talkin’ to me?
By Monday, both liberal and conservative talk shows on radio were in full dudgeon complete with generous portions of righteous indignation. It was obvious that both sides were having a great deal of fun performing their jobs.
We read some information online that indicated that (the Republican majority) congress can vote to declare Congresswoman Giffords’ seat vacant if she seems destined to remain in the hospital for a long time and then Arizona’s (Republican) governor can name someone else to fill the vacancy. If that happens, don’t expect the radio talk shows to let the matter quietly fade into the past.
Thus, it seems likely that the French class for November 22, 1963 may have included the most important thing we learned while in college: these things happen.
There was a famous trial, but isn’t the Hall-Mills case still unsolved? After years of hearing about the case, we finally discovered an article about that famous case. We found one written by James Thurber in a book titled “Alarms and Diversions.”
Was Bruno Hauptman framed by zealous law enforcement officials?
Wasn’t Giuseppe Zangara executed less than three months after he opened fire? Do you expect Justice to be served that fast in this case? Please note he fired a gun at FDR on February 15, 1933 and was executed for it on March 20, 1933. How’s that for speedy justice that leaves no time for the conspiracy theory nuts start their conjecturing?
Weren’t certain files in the Lee Harvey Oswald matter sealed for fifty years? Doesn’t that mean that those files should soon be available to the public? Will that finally answer the questions . . . or will it just mean more questions?
Patrick Henry said: “I know no way of judging of the future but by the past.”
Now the disk jockey will (if he wants to keep his job) play Cher’s “Bang, Bang” “Stagger Lee,” and the doctored version of “What the World Needs Now” – the one with news sound bytes added. We have to head out to Purple Porpoise to investigate the possibility that Elvis is still alive. Have a “Tu Phat” type week.