November 22, 1963: The Assassination of JFK


WHAT HAPPENED?


You know what happened! But in case you don't, I'll give you the run down. But just as a forewarning: I am going to take a different spin on this than just writing about the facts, because I honestly don't find the case to be all that interesting.


On Friday, November 22, 1963, the 35th President of the United States John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas while riding in a presidential motorcade. His wife, Jackie, Texas Governor John Connally and his wife, Nellie, were all in the car when he was fatally shot by Lee Harvey Oswald. Kennedy, heretofore referred to as JFK, was rushed to the hospital where he died about 30 minutes after arriving.


Oswald was arrested just over an hour after the shooting and charged with JFK's murder. On November 24, while he was being transferred from the city jail to county hail, he was fatally shot by Dallas nightclub operator Jack Ruby. He was convicted of murder, though it was later overturned. He died in prison in 1967 while awaiting trial.


Though an investigation revealed that Oswald had acted entirely alone, many believe that a larger conspiracy was at play, perhaps including a second gunman and the U.S. government itself.

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE CASE


Everyone knows what happened, and many have even seen the video of JFK dying. So, instead of rehashing the entire case, I'm going to share some interesting facts I learned about the case while researching.


One fact that I always found kind of interesting is that JFK wore a back brace for most of his presidency because he had a bad back. But, had he not been wearing it, be likely would have survived the assassination, or at least, the shots that were fired. Had he not been in the brace, the first shot would have knocked him down in some way, not allowing Oswald to get the fatal headshot. But because it kept him upright, the target remained.


Another somewhat weird event is that a month before his death, he created a fake "James Bond" home movie, depicting him getting shot. Jackie played the grieving widow, and actual Secret Service agents played the frazzled Secret Service in the home film. Creating a home movie isn't weird, but when the actual events play out about a month later... it is a little odd.


Interestingly enough, this was not the first attempt on JFK's life. Two months before he was inaugurated, he was targeted by a 73-year-old man named Richard Pavlick who hated Catholics. He planned to drive his dynamite-laden car into JFK while he was vacationing. He decided against it at the last minute when he saw that he was with his wife and child.


I remember reading this fact when I was younger and being blown away. But, there are some odd similarities between Abraham Lincoln's assassination and JFK's. Beyond the fact that they were both fatally shot in the head on Fridays, Lincoln was elected to congress in 1846 and elected president in 1860, while Kennedy was elected into congress in 1946 and elected president in 1960.


Kind of a creepy fact for this one: Jackie Kennedy refused to change out of the pink dress she was wearing, despite the fact that it was covered in her husband's blood. She wore it to the swearing in of Lyndon Johnson, saying, "I want them to see what they have done." As for another family fact, the family decided not to tell his grandmother about the assassination, because she was 98 years old at the time. She died 10 months later, never knowing that her grandson had been killed. He was the first U.S. president to have a grandparent outlive them.


Jackie Kennedy was also the one to request that her husband's grave have an eternal flame burning. But, a little known fact is that she made that request only 1 day before the funeral. This meant that the Army corp of engineers had to find a gas company to fit the pipes last minute. They found a small company called Rockville Suburban Propane by flipping through the White Pages, and an employee happened to pick up the phone.

CONSPIRACIES


Now that I've given you some interesting information about the case, now I'm going to give you some conspiracies. Everything from the section above is factual, but most of the information here is complete theory. Still, it is interesting to learn what other people think about the assassination.


Theory 1 is titled "The Grassy Knoll", which essentially posits that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in assassinating the President. This one, to me, is not tin-foil hat level conspiracy, and I don think there are a lot of Americans who aren't convinced it was a lone gunman.


In 1976, the Select Committee on Assassinations, which reinvestigated JFK's murder as well as MLK Jr.'s, concluded that there was "probably" a second shooter over on the "grassy knoll", a hill overlooking the murder site. Though another committee in 1982 concluded that there was no reliable evidence to support a conclusion that Oswald didn't act alone, the theory still lives on.


Another common theory is "The Umbrella Man", which spiked from photos of the day that show a man carrying a black umbrella through the plaza on that fateful day. He was caught raising the umbrella into the air as JFK's car drove past. Theorizers ask, why would a man be carrying an umbrella on a sunny day? And when he raised it in the air, was he giving his accomplice a signal?


The man, identified as Louie Steven Witt, explained away his behavior: He was trying to heckle the president. He had heard a story about JFK that identified umbrellas as a "sore spot" with the Kennedy family due to its association with Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister. He lifted it up while JFK passed him just to, essentially, be a dick to him. Though the umbrella man has been identified and his story makes sense, some still aren't so sure.


Another theory details how his murder was a mob hit. The Kennedys weren't strangers to organized crime, in fact, some believe the mafia was involved in JFK's 1960 election win. The theory focuses on JFK being unsuccessful at overthrowing Fidel Castro in Cuba, and thus, mafia-run casinos remained shutdown, and his brother, Robert Kennedy, was cracking down on the mob in his role as attorney general.


According to Evan Thomas, a biographer, Bobby Kennedy was afraid that he had a role in his brother's assassination, and that his attempts to prosecute the mob and take down Castro had backfired. However, there is no evidence that the mob or organized crime were involved in any way... though it is noteworthy that Lee Harvey Oswald died within days of shooting the President and never got to share his side of the story.


Like all major pieces of American history, there is a theory that the assassination was an inside job. Allegedly, this was Bobby's first suspicion, that it was a rogue CIA operation. But, after meeting with the CIA director after the fact, he changed his mind.


But the public was harder to sway, and for some, impossible. The organization is obviously shrouded in secrecy, and the CIA was outwardly angry about Kennedy over the Bay of Pigs Invasion. The CIA has always maintained that they had nothing to do with the assassination, admitting that it makes sense for fiction and movies, but it wasn't what happened in real life.


And lastly, somehow Ted Cruz always ends up in these things. He is an Internet suspect as the Zodiac Killer, and now, starting in 2016, some began to believe he was involved in the Kennedy assassination. The speculation started by, you guessed it, Donald J. Trump. During the 2016 presidential election, he made a claim that Ted Cruz's father was a "known associate" of Lee Harvey Oswald.


Even after Cruz was out of the running, Trump kept talking about it, claiming there were photos of Rafael Cruz and Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast together on the cover of The National Enquirer. Though, Trump's good friend owns the tabloid, and also, Trump is a liar and is the worst person ever, so I wouldn't put too much love into this one.

THE KENNEDY CURSE


While none of those conspiracies are likely to be true, it is well-known that the Kennedys have gotten themselves involved in some shady shit, and have been subject to the "Kennedy curse" since 1941.


In 1941, Rosemary Kennedy was institutionalized after a failed lobotomy. She was allegedly mentally ill, but really, she just suffered seizures and mood swings. Her father arranged a lobotomy when she was 23, which left her permanently incapacitated and unable to speak. She spent the rest of her life, dying in 2005, being cared for in Jefferson, Wisconsin. The truth about the Kennedy sibling was kept secret for decades. Though her siblings did visit her later in life, initially, she was entirely isolated from everyone. Her mother didn't visit for 20 years, and her father never did. Her siblings weren't even told where she was. They would claim she was reclusive, and even when JFK was elected president, they just said she was "mentally retarded" and left out the fact that they had lobotomized her. Anyway, if you're looking for a reason for the curse, HERE IT IS. It is so terrible.


The curse continued (or should I say, started) after that. In 1941, Joseph Kennedy, the oldest Kennedy son, died in a plane crash in WWII. In 1948, Kathleen Kennedy, JFK's sister, died in a plane crash in France. Her husband, William John Robert Cavendish died in Word War II. So by 1948, 2 of the 9 Kennedy kids are dead, and 1 of them is institutionalized.


In 1963, the 2 big ones hit. On August 7, JFK and Jackie's second son died 2 days after he was born, almost 6 weeks premature. And then, on November 22, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Kennedy count = 3 dead, 1 institutionalized, 5 alive.


The curse tried to take another Kennedy in 1964, via plane crash again, but Senator Edward M. Kennedy survived, though an aide passed away in the crash. 5 years later, he would drive off of a bridge on the way home from a party. Yet again, he survived, but the aide in the car with him died in the accident.


Between those 2 events, in 1968, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, on June 5 in Los Angeles. He had just won California's Democratic presidential primary election. Kennedy count = 4 dead, 1 institutionalized, 1 has been a part of 2 deaths but is still alive, 3 are doing okay.


In 1973, we start to get into generation 2 of the Kennedy's. First, Edward Kennedy, Edward Kennedy's son, lost his right leg to cancer. Later that year, Joseph Kennedy, the son of the late Bobby Kennedy, was the driver in a car accident that left one of his passengers permanently paralyzed. Another one of Bobby's sons, David, died of a drug overdose at the age of 28 in 1984.


Taking a little detour down second generation lane here. In 1986, Edward's son Patrick underwent treatment for a cocaine addiction. Ope, first we are hearing from Jean! In 1991, her son, William, was accused of raping a woman at their Palm Beach vacation home, which he was acquitted for. In 1997, Bobby's son Michael died in a skiing accident after making headlines for having a long-term affair with his children's babysitter.


In 1999, JFK's son, John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and his sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette died in yet another plane crash. Kennedy had been flying the plane and it plunged into the Atlantic Ocean.


In 2002, Ethel Kennedy (Bobby's wife)'s nephew Michael Skakel was convicted of the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley, a 15-year-old girl who he bludgeoned to death. (Not sure if this truly counts as the Kennedy family, but who's going to tell me no?)


In 2005, Rosemary Kennedy died at age 86. In 2008, Edward was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and died in 2009. Eunice, the one of the only 2 Kennedy siblings who didn't have some sort of "curse" scandal attached to her, died 2 weeks earlier.


And, for the last 2. Kara Kennedy, Edward's daughter, died at the age of 51 of a heart attack in 2011, and Mary Richardson Kennedy, Robert Kennedy (the son's) estranged wife was found dead of an apparent suicide. Speaking of apparent suicides, Marilyn Monroe also died during this sequence of events of an apparent suicide.


So if the 9 kids, 1) Joseph died in WWII at age 29, 2) JFK's lover died in an apparent suicide, his son died after being born, he was assassinated, and his other son and his wife and sister-in-law died in a plane crash, 3) Rosemary was banished to an institution for her entire life because she had mood swings in her early 20s, 4) Kathleen died in a plane crash with her husband, 5) Eunice made it through scandal free, dying ate age 88, 6) Patricia made it through scandal free, dying at age 82, 7) Bobby was assassinated, one of his sons had a drug addiction, one died in a skiing accident, and one paralyzed someone while driving a car, his daughter in law died of an apparent suicide, and his wife's nephew was a murderer, 8) Jean's son was accused of rape, and 9) Edward almost died in a plane crash, drove his car off a bridge and killed his aid, he died of a brain tumor, one of his sons had a cocaine addiction, and his daughter died of a heart attack prematurely.


The real question is... are they cursed, or does being super rich and not held accountable for your actions lead you to doing bad things? But we don't have time to get into all of that.


To get back to the point of the article, JFK was assassinated. Was it an inside job? An effect of his family's curse? Who knows. But, he was a well-loved president and the country mourned his loss 57 years ago today, and still will today.

REFERENCES:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_John_F._Kennedy

https://allthatsinteresting.com/jfk-assassination-facts#24

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/politics/a13093037/jfk-assassination-conspiracy-theories/

https://www.infoplease.com/history/us/timeline-of-kennedy-tragedies

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary_Kennedy


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