JFK Has Been Shot!
Two white "X" marks identify the estimated spots where bullets hit the former President (they are difficult to see here, but if you look at the lower center of the photo, right by the left traffic line, you'll see one of them).
There is no zig-zag paint for the magic bullet though, which was kind of disappointing.
The famous grassy knoll is there as well, and you can walk right up to it. This is fence where (possibly) a gunman (or two, or three, or seventeen) fired shots at the president.
This is the view from the grassy knoll. As you can tell, it's much closer to the "X" where the fatal blow hit Kennedy than the Texas Book Depository Building (although I did use a slight zoom lens for this photo, but probably to the same degree as I did when taking a picture from the "X" to the Book Depository Building).
In contrast, here is the view from the Book Depository Building, now the location of the Sixth Floor Museum that discussed the day in question. The location of the shots hitting Kennedy are in two points of the centered part of the road. On the top right you can see the fence where shots may have been fired from.
It defies logic that a gunman would miss from the grassy knoll (as the government now believes) and that another, from the this distance, would hit two out of three from such a location.
This is why most Americans do not believe that Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy. Right next to the fence, there are a handful of people promoting conspiracy theories, like this man (who I believe identified himself as Mike, or Fred Brown) who says he was there (at the age of 12) when Kennedy was killed. He gives a very interesting and entertaining case for the U.S. government's involvement in the JFK assassination. Then he offers to sell you a magazine for $10 that gives you more information.
Later on I would see a list of eye witnesses from that day and there was no Mike or Fred Brown listed. It's possible that I got his name wrong, or perhaps the powers that be have eliminated all record of him (if this website is shut down for no reason, you now know why...).
Some people have used the space to pay their respects to the fallen president in the form of graffiti on the fence where shots may have been fired.
Others have used it to promote conspiracy theories: like one that says the FBI killed JFK.
An then there are some people who used it to make sure everyone in the city knew that the Miami Heat beat the Dallas Mavericks for the 2006 NBA title. Some wounds may never heal.
Soon after, I would find definitive photographic proof that someone who looked really mean was at the grassy knoll. The conspiracy is solved! Maybe Mike/Fred Brown was right!
There are two main stories when it comes to the JFK assassination: 1) Lee Harvey Oswald did it (a.k.a. the "official" story, and 2) the government, the mafia, al Queda, O.J. Simpson and Saddam Hussein did it.
In what was once the Texas Book Depository Building is the Sixth Floor Museum, which promotes the former President's life and official version of his death.
In the museum, you will find various photographs about Kennedy and his assassination.
In anticipation of President Kennedy's visit, thousands of people lined the streets to view his motorcade. More than 75 amateur and professional photographers took over 500 exposures in and around Dealey Plaza. It turns out that this would be a defining moment of network television news, launching the career of famous liberals like Dan Rather to national notoriety.
It would also give enough fodder/evidence of a conspiracy that would captivate us 40 years later.
The Sixth Floor Museum spends quite a bit of time on the Kennedy Presidency, establishing the context of his death and the effect it had on our nation.
The motorcade arrived in Dealey Plaza and then turned right from Main to Houston Street. If a lone gunman sitting on the sixth floor of the Book Depository Building was to fire a weapon at the President, this was the street to do it on. He would have had two or three head on shots at relatively close range. Instead, shots were fired seconds after Kennedy's car made a 120 degree turn into Elm Street passing Oswald's supposed location.
When the limousine had passed the depository, shots were fired at JFK for an estimated time span of 6 to 24 seconds. During the shooting, the limousine is believed to have slowed from over 13 mph to only 9 mph.
This is where Oswald is believed to have fired the shots that killed Kennedy. The Warren Commissionnoted that three empty shells were found in this room in the then Book Depository Building. A rifle identified as the one used in the shooting -- Oswald's Italian military surplus 6.5x52 mm Model 91/38 Carcano -- was found hidden nearby.
From the Sixth Floor Museum, you can see where the President was shot. You can also see why it seems unlikely that a gunman would have waited for JFK to get to this spot to shoot him, when better options had existed before.
After Kennedy was dead, security for the new President Johnson was an issue. Johnson did not want to leave without Jackie Kennedy who would not leave without her husband. In spite of Secret Service pressure to get to the safety of Air Force One, Johnson said, "I will not leave without President and Mrs.. Kennedy." As a compromise, it was decided Johnson could wait for the Kennedys on board Air Force One and so he was evacuated from Parkland Hospital.
This helped fuel a controversy that still exists today. No autopsy was performed on Kennedy, as per Texas State law at the time.
Nearby the Sixth Floor Museum is the Consipracy Museum, where theories on the assassinations of JFK, his brother Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. are explored.
This represents a hodge podge of "the government did it" stories. There's even a conspiracy tree.
Competing theories of the JFK assassination are discussed. In this scenario, nine shots are believed to have been fired from two points at the Book Depository Building, another from the next block, and more from the grassy knoll. Even the museum staff attendant thought this one was "a waste of canvas", but R.B. Cutler, the author of this idea, was the place's co-founder and therefore his theory was included.
A Warren Report display shows here that three shots were fired, all by Oswald from the Book Depository Building. The two red lines indicated hits, the third blue one a miss.
The Warren Report would make diagrams of the damage to Kennedy's head. These replicas show where the bullets hit and what damage they did.
Believe it or not, it is in dispute where exactly in Kennedy's body the first bullet hit him. This photo of Kennedy's shirt seems to contradict the Warren Report on the entry wound of the first bullet. Nothing, not even some of the smallest facts, seem to be in agreement. Years later, then future President Gerald Ford would admit to changing a sentence in the report about this information.
The Warren Report would propose what is now known as the Single Bullet Theory, created by now U.S. Senator Arlen Specter. This is how the bullet supposedly hit both Kennedy and then Texas-Governor John Connally. A top-side view of the theory may be found here.
Fifteen years after the Warren Commission report, the House Select Committee on Assassinations came up with a theory, based primarily on dictabelt evidence, that President Kennedy was assassinated possibly as a result of a conspiracy.
They proposed that four shots had been fired during the assassination; Oswald fired the first, second, and fourth bullets from the Book Depository Building. Acoustic evidence suggested that there was a high probability that a second assassin in the grassy knoll fired a third bullet but missed. The diagram above shows that theory.
My photos above, showing the relative distances of the grassy knoll and the Book Depository Building, make it very hard for me to believe. But that is the official story, according to the U.S. government and its many experts.
Dr. Robert Nelson McClelland, was one of the doctors that treated President Kennedy in the emergency room in Dallas. Dr. McClelland testified to the Warren Commission and the Assassination Records Review Board. He approved a sketch of the head wound (click on the link to find a copy of it). The new committee had another diagram of the head wound created, which is above.
This chart sums everything up. This is a description of everyone who had a hand in killing JFK. It's so complicated that I can't figure it out. What a great conspiracy! It's good museum fodder.
James Tague is believed by some to be a third man injured due to the Kennedy Assassination. Most people believe that it was a stray fragment of a bullet. Others believe Osama Bin Ladin shot him. The Conspiracy Museum has this board talking about his experience.
Then there's the three hobos, or homeless men that were detained shortly after the assassination. One of them looks like Charles Voyde Harrelson, actor Woody Harrelson's father. By the late 1970s, other researchers have identified at least five of the three, well at least they think they did. The tramps may include Thomas Vallee, Frank Sturgis, Daniel Carswell, E. Howard Hunt or Fred Chrisman. What does this mean? I have no idea.
A diagram of the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination was created as well.
The Robert F. Kennedy assassination was part of the committee's study too. There seems to be a conspiracy about this as well.
Wikipedia tells us:
Just before the 1964 presidential election, President Johnson ordered the Warren Commission documentations to be sealed against public availability for 75 years (until 2039). However, in 1992 Congress enacted the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. Congress questioned the legitimate need for continued protection of such records, after three decades of secrecy. The purpose of the Act was to gather and accelerate the public release of assassination related documents.Today, hundreds of foreign streets bear John F. Kennedy's name. There are 27 in Greece alone. Go Greece!
The Act requires all documents related to the assassination that have not been destroyed to be released to the public by no later than 2017.
This was a fantastic day. I learned so much. I learned that...I have no idea what. Kennedy may have been killed in a massive conspiracy, or he may have tripped over a banana peel. We will never know, but historians will likely search for clues long after I've passed away.
If you are a history buff, however, you really should see things for yourself. You probably will not come out of it with any answers though. It's doubtful anyone ever will.
Information on the Kennedy Assassination
JFK Assassination Research Materials
Bogus Information on the JFK Assassination
The context of the JFK Assassination
Wikipedia on the Assasination of John F. Kennedy
The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection -- the official government database
Graphic photos of the Kennedy Assassination.
JFK Autopsy Photos