Fifty years ago today, America buried JFK. In what must have been very fertile soil, given the stunning number of conspiracy theories that soon sprung forth. I first heard of JFK back in November 1983. Twenty years had already passed since his demise. I was instantly fascinated. And I bought into the conspiracy theory lock stock and, quite literally, two smoking barrels. I read, watched and sucked up every bit of gory detail that there was available. The evidence was absolutely convincing. There was no possible way that Lee Harvey Oswald pulled that off all by himself. In 1993, Oliver Stone’s JFK came out and added the weight of Hollywood behind the conspiracy theory. I was a believer. One hundred and ten per cent. For years and years.
Until eventually, I changed my mind. It was quite a sudden epiphany. Sparked by a single article. But it caught my attention, and sparked a personal investigative crusade. For decades, I’d been looking for evidence to support the conspiracy theory. There’s plenty of it to find. But not so much that debunks those theories. What was the article about? It just pointed out that a bullet from a rifle isn’t going to knock anyone’s head back, to the left, upside down or anywhere else. It has neither the mass nor momentum to physically do so. We’ve all seen the Zapruder film. He does make a sudden and pronounced jerk to the back and to the left. A shot from the Grassy Knoll makes perfect sense.
Providing, of course, that you’ve watched enough Hollywood movies and are happy to assume that gun victims do go flying off in the opposite direction to which they’re shot. But they don’t. Most of the time they drop straight down like a sack of potatoes. You can research this for yourself. Don’t want to watch videos of people being shot in the head? Then either take my word for it, take some physics lessons or just watch some big game hunters doing their stuff. But anyway, my conversion had started. I had just learned that one of the most obvious pieces of evidence for a conspiracy theory was just a pile of BS.
What about all the other pieces of ‘evidence’ in favour of a conspiracy? One by one, with a little research, they fell over. Now that I looked for it, the evidence for the lone assassin theory came quick and fast. It wasn’t simply plausible. Lots of it were plain fact. I’m not going to go into every conspiracy theory going and tell you why it’s nonsense. Although I guess I could. Perhaps I’ll just mention the conspiracy guy who claimd Oswald couldn’t have done it based on it taking 2.3 seconds to reload the rifle. He proves this by doing it himself, on film, with an identical gun in….1.8 seconds. Whoops! But people still suck up his story.
But let’s just say that if JFK were shot by Oswald, the Badge Man behind the picket fence, his driver and the dude in the Dal Tex building, then there wouldn’t have been much left of his head for the autopsy technicians to photograph. Then there’s the ‘who’ arranged it. Castro, the CIA, FBI, the Mob, Lyndon Johnson, the KGB, the Rothschild family, the Feds and other bankers….gee the list goes on and on. The basis of these theories is to build up reasons why Group X hated Kennedy and then make this huge jump, without providing a shred of evidence, to declare them the instigators of the assassination. On the basis of these arguments, there’s not a single president who’d ever survive the end of their first term.
The Kennedy assassination didn’t create the conspiracy theory. But it most certainly gave it a new prominence in public culture, trailblazing a path for countless other grand and unlikely conspiracy theories. They spread further and faster than they have ever done before. Thank you internet. Generally speaking, I’ve found that the vast majority of websites or articles with the word ‘truth’ in the title, is likely to bear much relevance with the truth. Or, as often as not, any form of reality. But there are plenty of suckers out there to soak it up and pass it on. The great irony is that the self proclaimed ‘truth-seekers/truthers/conspiracy theorists’ do nothing more than muddy already murky waters. The average Joe already has to wade through an ocean of lies, half truths, bias and spin in order to form his own opinion. Adding more nonsense to the mix doesn’t make the truth any clearer.
We have marked 50 years since the death of a president. And a half century of half baked conspiracy theories. From faked moon landings, alien visitors, dodgy vaccinations, HIV, the Illuminati, the death of Diana, chemtrails, 9/11, the New World Order…..it’s an awfully long list. There’s an awful lot of commentary on what JFK stood for, what might have been and how different the world could be today. Yet, he was actually a moderate conservative when his actions are studied. His most lasting and profound legacy, may well be the humble conspiracy theory.