I have a theory that says there’s so many conspiracy theories because government-mandated water fluoridation has lowered our IQs to the point we care more about televised sports than facts.
Just kidding. No one really thinks that.
But the number of people who believe in conspiracy theories is growing faster than genetically modified crops.
Sixty-two percent of Americans believe Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone when he shot and killed President John F. Kennedy in Dallas 50 years ago today. In 1964, only 31 percent thought Oswald was part of a larger conspiracy to kill the president.
So, who helped Oswald? Experts say there are more than 100 conspiracy theories, but let’s look at a few of the more popular ones.
An unknown second shooter: Much ink has been spilled on the notion that a second gunman fired the lethal shot from the “grassy knoll” or even a storm drain. This notion was bolstered by amateur video shot that fateful day by Abraham Zapruder. In the Zapruder film, it appears Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connally, who was riding with Kennedy, were shot by separate bullets only fractions of a second apart. Since Oswald’s rifle could only be fired once every 2.25 seconds, there had to be a second gunman, said conspiracy theorists. The Warren Report said one bullet struck both men, but some said the trajectory was impossible. They derisively said Oswald must have fired a “magic bullet” that did not obey the laws of physics. Later film analysis backs the conclusion of the Warren Report, that Oswald was the only gunman and he fired three times.
The CIA: Why would the CIA kill the president of the United States? Students of history will remember the failed CIA-assisted attack on Cuba known as “The Bay of Pigs Invasion,” which happened in April 1961. The CIA was assisting U.S. interests that wanted to oust Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who had ousted U.S.-backed Cuban President Fulgencio Batista in 1959. Kennedy, embarrassed by the CIA disaster, made big changes in the agency, limiting its power to launch large-scale military actions.
The KGB: The Soviets were mighty displeased with Kennedy after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Perhaps Oswald, while he was in Russia, had been trained by the KGB to become an assassin?
LBJ: Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, who is from Texas, wanted to be president so badly he arranged to have Kennedy executed. The Southern VP had many political and personal disagreements with the Yankee president, and feared he would be taken off the ticket in 1964.
The Mafia: The Mafia wanted JFK dead because his brother, Robert Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968, was cracking down on organized crime while serving as U.S. Attorney General.
Could any of these theories be true?
Maybe, but it’s highly unlikely. There’s something called Occam’s razor that alleges the simplest explanation is often the correct one.
Let’s take a closer look at Oswald, who certainly fits the bill of a lone, crazed gunman:
That was a bit long, but does it sound like Oswald had the motive, skills and opportunity to shoot a staunch anti-communist president?
Or, do we need a conspiracy theory to make it more interesting?
Many people would say the former, but then something bizarre happened, which really threw fuel on the fires of conspiracy.
Oswald, on Nov. 24, was shot to death while being transferred to the county jail.
A large crowd had gathered to see Oswald in a classic “perp walk” when Jack Ruby emerged with a gun and shot Oswald multiple times. The incident was captured by multiple photographers.
Jack Ruby said he shot Oswald because he was distraught over Kennedy’s death, wanted to spare Jacqueline Kennedy from having to endure a murder trial, and hoped to “redeem” Dallas in the eyes of America.
Ruby, a nightclub owner who may have had ties with an anti-Castro gunrunner, posed as a reporter to attend police press conferences after Kennedy’s shooting. At one press conference he corrected police who initially said Oswald was a member of an anti-Castro organization. He later told the FBI he carried a loaded handgun to at least one press conference.
Ruby, the conspiracy theorists say, was hired by the CIA to kill Oswald, who the CIA had hired to kill Kennedy.
Whew! Time to drink some fluoridated water.
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