They say that everybody who was alive at the time remembers the day it happened, and that it was one of the most shocking events in recent American history. A president rides along in an open-top limousine on a bright November day in Dallas, Texas. The sound of gunfire rips through the air and onlookers are horrified as the most powerful man in America slumps forward.
The day that changed history was followed by some of the most widely believed conspiracy theories of modern times. The bizarre chain of deaths following the president’s did little to quash these conspiracy theories. But what do we know happened and what do we have yet to learn about the events of that fateful day? That’s what we’re about to find out, in this episode of the Infographics Show – What do we know (and not know) about the JFK Assassination.
Dallas, Texas, November 22nd at 12.30pm, the 35th President of the United States was fatally shot as he rode in his open-top limousine. He was announced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital. Former US Marine and communist Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested by the Dallas Police about 70 minutes after the shooting and charged under Texas state law with the murder of John F. Kennedy.
In a strange twist, two days later, with live television cameras filming, Oswald was fatally shot at police headquarters by Jack Ruby, a night club owner. Oswald was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead, and Ruby was convicted of Oswald’s murder and died in prison 4 years later. A ten month investigation by the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald acted alone in killing JFK, who was the fourth American president to be assassinated. The others were: Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley. A 1964 report also concluded that:
- The shots were fired from the sixth-floor window at the south-east corner of the Texas School Book Depository.
- The shots were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald
- There’s no evidence that either Lee Harvey Oswald or Jack Ruby were part of any conspiracy, domestic or foreign.
In a 1979 Warren Commission, the United States Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that Kennedy was ‘probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy’. An analysis of audio recordings suggests that a second gun used during the incident. John F Kennedy’s Assassination is still subject to across the board debate and is one of the most prevalent conspiracy theories today. New documents relating to the event are currently being released by America’s current president Donald Trump.
A poll conducted from 1966 to 2004 discovered that up to 80% of Americans still suspect that there was some sort of plot or cover-up. Some people believe that a second gunman fired from the grassy knoll as the president’s open-top limousine passed. Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post reporter who has written several books on the incident, says, “I’ve never written about a conspiracy theory, I report facts about the assassination. Look at the Zapruder film,” he says in reference to home footage of the event, “Kennedy’s head goes flying backwards. I know there’s a theory that if you get hit by a bullet from behind, the head goes towards the source of the bullet. But as a common sense explanation, it seems very unlikely. That sure looks like a shot from the front.”
What do we know about Oswald? He was born on October 18th, 1939 and was an American Marxist, ex-marine and lived in the Belarusian city of Minsk in the Soviet Union from October 1959 to June 1962. He returned to the United States with his Russian wife Marina and eventually settled in Dallas.
So, what don’t we know about the assassination? Well, the fact that nobody kept a written record of Oswald’s interview alerts suspicion and leaves much unknown. Every policeman involved violated standard procedures on interviewing detainees. In the 1960s, notes were always kept but for some reason these records have gone missing. This was the assassination of the most powerful man in America and standard protocols were not followed? There’s one hell of an information gap right there. But just why do onlookers shout ‘conspiracy’ anyhow? Why would the government kill its own president? Well, it seems JFK was planning to withdraw from Vietnam and the Cold War, and the theory goes that too many corporations had begun to depend on the war economy and would have suffered huge losses had JFK continued on his peaceful trip. That’s one of the theories.
But the bizarre red flags are what really keep the conspiracy theorists chomping at the bit. Red flags such as the one raised by Jack Ruby’s ‘lone wolf’ attack on Oswald in a police basement. Why would he do it? Is such an attack not simply suicide? And then the sudden death of Ruby a few years later also raises suspicion. Had the secret service visited Ruby in jail? Was he ready to talk? Then there’s that photo of Oswald that did the rounds in the press after his arrest. It was thought that the image of Oswald holding a rifle published in the press was in fact a faked image. An image of Oswald’s face was superimposed onto the body of another man. Although the faked photo claim has been debunked by experts, the red flag remains in people’s consciousness.
Then there’s the Umbrella Man. A figure holding an umbrella on that tragic sunny day is thought by some conspiracy theorists to be signaling to a gunman or gunmen. The Umbrella Man was caught on a home video-recording of the event and added to the conspiracy myth.
In 2017, the US government released 2,800 previously classified files related to the assassination, and we can conclude from those pages the following: The FBI warned Dallas police of a threat to kill Oswald according to a memo by director J Edgar Hoover, but the police in Dallas, for whatever reason, failed to protect him. The FBI, Dallas division was trying to track Oswald down in the days leading up to the assassination. He was of interest to the bureau, according to “Cuban” sources. Pages from the file indicate that Oswald’s killer, Jack Ruby, operated a shady bar with no interference from the police department according to an FBI informant who shared the information days after Ruby was shot dead.
The informant also went on to say he was surprised that Ruby actually killed Oswald rather than simply wounding him in the leg to get publicity. On the 24th of November, Hoover had begun to fear about a conspiracy theory arising, stating, “The thing I am concerned about, is having something issued so that we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.” There’s two ways to read that memo. Either the head of the FBI is concerned that the real conspiracy plot will be unraveled or he thinks that circumstances surrounding the death of the president are so bizarre it seems like a conspiracy.
So, what do you think? Was the John F. Kennedy assassination part of a conspiracy? And who else has might have been involved? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Also, be sure to watch our other video called – Weirdest Phobias People Suffer From. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time!