That Darn Grassy Knoll -- As the anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy has the media recycling fallacies from the past, I do wish that the mavens of myth would cease referring to Lee Harvey Oswald as the "assassin of JFK."
Legally and logically, Oswald is and always will be nothing more than a suspect in a capital murder case...and a minor suspect at that. Let us recall that this 24-year-old kid was himself assassinated previous to an arraignment where formal charges might have been filed. Personally, I believe Oswald was hastily dispatched due to a profound lack of evidence linking him to Kennedy's death. Had Oswald remained alive to be represented by legal counsel, even the most incompetent attorney could have easily argued that charges of murder be dropped, so lacking was any concrete evidence against him.
Once the fiction that is the Warren Report is understood in the context of its blatant omissions, one begins to discern an evidence trail leading clearly away from Oswald. After all, once the events of November 1963 are left to stand alone and the debris of cover-up and false sponsorship are dispatched from the record, the assassination of Kennedy, considered for years a sophisticated plot, will then be understood as a very sloppily engineered and executed political killing. This, I believe, explains the necessity of assuring that Oswald never entered a courtroom.
A Vet Vents -- As a Vietnam veteran, and one who normally keeps everything to himself, I felt compelled to answer the recent letter "A peacenik speaks," by Theresa Allen (11/27/03). Whether or not the Vietnam War was illegal or whatever politics were going on at the time, the "vets" were not welcomed home as this peacenik claims.
Maybe none of her crony peaceniks were to blame, but her statements are far from the truth. If she claims she welcomed them home, thank you. But most of the vets who came home were blamed for everything that was happening over there. We were just doing what we were trained to do. We were just young men following orders. We were not welcomed to colleges and universities and into everyone's hearts. We were welcomed home by our families, but that was it. Some of us were spat on, yelled at and treated far from honorably.
We are finally welcoming each other home 35 years later, by using computers and by traveling to the "Wall" in Washington, D.C. to visit with one another. The recent events in Iraq have made people more aware of the troops. We really need to thank them for all we have. The Vietnam Vet was not welcomed home and those feelings continue with most of us to this day. Recently, on Veterans Day, a couple of people came up to me and thanked me for my Vietnam service. It brought a tear and was a long time coming. We should welcome home all of our troops, no matter what is going on politically in this country. After all of these years, welcome home my fellow Vietnam Vets.
Norman A. Oss III
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Bullet Holes in Theory -- I am very saddened by the state of media today. I say this because they behave as though the national news is above suspicion when doling out their idea of the "truth." I am referring to the airing of the Peter Jennings special about the 40th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination a few weeks ago.
If you watched this program, you saw a computer simulation showing how one bullet shot from the window of the Texas Schoolbook Depository Building could actually cause the havoc and chaos that would be questioned by hundreds of experts for the next four decades. In reality, this was a two-hour special about the magic bullet that shot President Kennedy and Texas Gov. John Connally on that fateful day in Dallas.
Jennings made the assassination sound and look quite simple: One man, one rifle, three shots. Except there were so many other facts missing from that artfully crafted scenario.
First, there is no proof that Lee Harvey Oswald fired the gun from the schoolbook depository building. Even the investigation by the Warren Commission could not prove Oswald was on the sixth floor at the time of the shooting. Furthermore, the commission never mentioned any other witnesses who had placed him on the second floor about that time.
Another discrepancy is the fact Gov. Connally was not hit at the moment depicted in the computer simulation. It also did not include Jacqueline Kennedy, Nellie Connally, or the two secret service men driving the presidential limousine. As in the original Zapruder film, Mrs. Connally's reaction to her husband is essential to the timing of the shots - as were Mrs. Kennedy's reactions. And why didn't we see the Secret Service driver slow the car to less than ten miles per hour prior to the fatal headshot?
The Jennings report also tried to discredit the shot from the grassy knoll. How do they account for the fact that numerous people ran toward the picket fence after the shots echoed in Dealey Plaza? Why was the computer simulation missing the second tree in front of the sixth-floor window? (It was cut down after the assassination.) The Stemmons freeway sign, which was in the line of fire from the depository building, was also conveniently absent. Many amateur photographers took movie film and snapshots of the motorcade that day. Zapruder was one of the lucky ones to get away with his film and not have it confiscated.
This special is nothing but another whitewash. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
John A. Gaetano
Publication date: 12/11/03