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JFK anniversary

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Forty-five years ago, on Nov. 22, 1963, at exactly 12:30 p.m., the
course of American history was forever changed when shots rang out in
Dealey Plaza on the western edge of downtown Dallas.President
John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was struck
multiple times as he rode in a motorcade through the city along with
his wife, Jackie.Kennedy died as a result of his wounds, and a
historic presidency died along with him. JFK was the youngest person
ever elected president, the first and only Roman Catholic, and the
fourth to die from an assassin’s bullet.

2003, on the 40th anniversary of the event, ABC news conducted a poll
that found 70 percent of Americans believe JFK’s assassination was the
result of a conspiracy.Hundreds of books and films have come out
over the years examining every possible scenario and piece of evidence,
some claiming Lee Harvey Oswald’s guilt, others his innocence. Despite
the crime having been committed 45 years ago, new evidence continues to
come to light — some as recently as this year.Oswald, a
24-year-old worker at the Texas Schoolbook Depository, was arrested the
day Kennedy was killed and charged with killing Kennedy and a
policeman, J.D. Tippit. Oswald himself was killed two days later when
he was shot on national television in the basement of the Dallas police
headquarters by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner with suspected ties
to organized crime. Oswald denied involvement in Kennedy and Tippit’s
deaths to the end.

Getty Images
Lee Harvey Oswald after his arrest for the murder of President John. F. Kennedy.

the federal government cannot make up its mind. In 1964, the Warren
Commission, which was assigned the duty of investigating the
assassination by President Lyndon Johnson, concluded that Oswald was
the lone assassin. In 1979, the House Select Committee on
Assassinations concluded that there was a probable conspiracy and more
than one gunman.Perhaps nothing brought more attention and focus
to the JFK assassination over the past few decades than Oliver Stone’s
landmark 1991 film “JFK.” Featuring a star-studded cast that included
Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones and Jack Lemmon, the film chronicled the
story of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s prosecution of
businessman Clay Shaw for participating in a conspiracy to kill Kennedy.The
film proposed the theory that Lyndon B. Johnson, the FBI, the CIA, the
Mafia and military intelligence participated in a coup d’etat to kill
Kennedy by using Oswald as the patsy. Shaw was acquitted of the charge
in 1969, but the film portrayed him as guilty. To this day Shaw is the
only person ever tried in a court of law in connection with the
assassination.The film was extremely controversial but was a box
office hit, won two Academy Awards and was nominated for Best Picture.
The film polarized critics, both for its filmmaking style and
presentation of the facts.

John F. Kennedy

Keystone/Getty Images
John F. Kennedy

In the film’s most memorable scene, Costner, portraying Garrison, re-enacts what has come to be called the “magic bullet”
theory, which was the cornerstone of the Warren Commission’s conclusion
that Oswald acted alone. Watching the scene, it is difficult not to
conclude that the magic bullet was scientifically impossible.After
the shooting, Dallas police officers discovered a rifle that was hidden
near a windowsill of the sixth floor of the Texas Schoolbook
Depository, which overlooked Dealey Plaza. The rifle was registered to
Oswald.The assassination was captured on film by Abraham
Zapruder, and because of the time it takes to fire off a round from
Oswald’s rifle, most experts agree that it would have only been
possible for three shots to have been fired from it. Conspiracy
theorists have struggled for years to prove the existence of a fourth
shot, because four shots proves a conspiracy.One shot has been
proved to have missed Kennedy’s car entirely, and another was the fatal
head shot. That left one bullet to do the rest of the damage — seven
wounds, including entrance and exit wounds — to Kennedy and Texas Gov.
John Connelly, who was seated in front of the president.But in
2003, the theory was re-examined in the ABC documentary, “The Kennedy
Assassination: Beyond Conspiracy.” In it, ABC correspondent Dale Meyers
created a digital computer simulation
of the Zapruder film within a three-dimensional, scale model of Dealey
Plaza, and was able to leave the place where Zapruder was filming and
examine the shooting from any angle.

ABC News image
ABC documentary “The Kennedy Assassination: Beyond Conspiracy” computer
reenactment showing the plausibility of the “magic bullet” theory. More

also noted that Connelly’s seat was 3 feet lower than Kennedy’s and he
was seated 6 inches more inboard. “JFK” portrays both men seated at the
same height, with Connelly directly in front of the president. Meyers
was able to draw a direct line through all of their seven wounds, which
led directly up to the sniper’s nest of the sixth floor of the Texas
Schoolbook Depository.Still, many researchers continue to
believe in a conspiracy. Even if the single bullet theory is correct,
it does not mean Oswald fired it, and it does not mean another shot
didn’t come from the grassy knoll. Oswald always maintained that he was
on the second floor in the lunchroom at the time of the shooting and
was seen there by a Dallas policeman 90 seconds after the shots were
fired.New pieces of possible evidence continue to be released.
In February, Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins unveiled the
contents of a safe that had been secret for more than 40 years. Inside
was clothing worn by Oswald, a leather holster belonging to Ruby and
piles of old documents.

Getty Images

them was an alleged transcript of a recording between Oswald and Ruby
at Ruby’s nightclub where they plot to kill Kennedy. Some researchers
have concluded it to be part of a movie script, and a bad one at that.
Still, the fact that it remained locked away in a safe on the 10th
floor of the Dallas County Courthouse for decades is intriguing.But
more intriguing, and less easy to dismiss, was a letter from the FBI to
the Dallas police chief stating that Ruby’s sister said her family had
obtained a police report on the preparations for Kennedy’s visit to
Dallas.So the hunt for evidence, and the debate about what the evidence means, continues.


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