Tuesday, November 19, 2013

JFK Assassination Conspiracy Theories

Dear Readers,

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy, Madame L has been reading a lot of stories online and in her local print newspaper about his assassination.

Madame L clearly remembers where she was when she heard about the President's death: She was in tenth-grade biology class, trying to figure out how to dissect a crayfish. She and all her classmates, as well as the teacher, were stunned to the point of being unable to do anything for the rest of the day; and we were all in a state of mourning for days, even weeks. Madame L's chemistry teacher even volunteered to let the chemistry class postpone an important exam the next day.

But Madame L has never been interested in conspiracy theories about JFK's death. And she still isn't, even with all the trumped-up stories about it with this anniversary. (Also, Madame L just hates that feeling that someone is writing about this now so they can sell more copies of their book.)

Madame L is happy to report that someone who used to be a conspiracy theorist has written about how and why he changed his mind.

Fred Kaplan wrote this article on slate.com, which Madame L took a few minutes to read. Mr. Kaplan has changed his mind because he has taken a careful look at the evidence from the Warren Report and new evidence.

Books that had convinced him of the conspiracy idea were wrong, as he writes here: "Then, one day, I looked up the footnotes in those books, most of them leading me to the multivolume hearings of the Warren Commission. I was shocked. The authors had taken witnesses’ statements out of context, distorted them beyond recognition, and in some cases cherry-picked passages that seemed to back their theories while ignoring testimony that didn’t. It was my first brush with intellectual dishonesty."

Madame L thinks her Dear Readers will find Mr. Kaplan's article interesting and clarifying, no matter which way Said Dear Readers have thought about this in the past.

And he doesn't seem to be writing this in order to sell a book, which gives him hundreds of points in Madame L's reckoning. (And this isn't because he doesn't write and sell books. He does! Just check his author's page at Amazon.com to get an idea of what he writes about.)


Madame L


Jeff Wynn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Wynn said...

I was in 12th grade French at the time. Nothing more was done in school that day - we just hung around waiting for the buses.

JFK was shot by a trained rifleman, with a scoped rifle, over a moderate distance. I've been there. The car Kennedy was riding in was moving slowly enough - and almost perfectly along the line of fire - for a Secret Service officer to run from the car behind to push Jackie Kennedy back into the seat she had been occupying. Multiple tests have shown that it is not difficult to get off three shots with the precision demonstrated, in the time window shown in the Zapruder film. The rifle used was found with Lee Harvey Oswald's fingerprints, and the purchase was traced to him later.

The next day an angry nut-case then killed Oswald in the Dallas courthouse. Clumsy security was to blame.

Book closed.

People have been preying quite effectively upon the conspiracy-eaters now for 50 years: BUY MY BOOK!

Conspiracies have been described as mentally lazy (or illiterate) people searching for a mindlessly simple reason to explain a complex issue.

Ellen said...

Very good. Thanks for sharing.