One of the most widely accepted conspiracy theories in the US remains the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Just last week I heard someone suggest that Oswald didn't act alone. Statistics show that more than half of US residents agree with this statement, and are convinced to this day that Oswald was a patsy, silenced by Jack Ruby a few days after the assassination.
For many, many years I was one of those people. I read several books on the subject, watched every documentary, even went to Dealey Plaza once simply to stand next to the spot where Kennedy was shot. In many ways the assassination of JFK was the lynchpin for all of my conspiratorial thinking; it was the first conspiracy theory I had ever heard, it was the most solidly defensible of any of the many popular conspiracies that cropped up later (so much so that even the US government has agreed there was a conspiracy, contradicting the findings of it's own commission that investigated the assassination) and once I was led to question that theory, my belief in all those other theories also crumbled.
Why shouldn't they, when they didn't even have a magic bullet to hide behind?
The trip to reality was long and arduous for me. It started about the time I started writing this blog, and continues to this day. Every single thing I read these days sends me off looking for corroborating sources and counter-arguments, just so that I can be sure I'm dealing with real facts and not some fever dream of the magical thinking majority.
I wish I had access to Case Closed when I was a young man looking for facts on the JFK assassination. The depth of investigative research that Gerald Posner has gone to is unequaled amongst the many different authors on the subject. Here is an interview with Posner from 2013, discussing the mountains of evidence linking Oswald to the killing, and detailing the kind of man Oswald was.
If Case Closed had been available to me when I first started looking into this subject, I never would have started down that rabbit hole of conspiratorial thinking in the first place. Would have simply come to the conclusion ah, Oswald shot Kennedy and left it at that. But I didn't have access to that book back in the 70's when I was into the subject. I don't even remember the titles of the books I did read; but I do remember The Men Who Killed Kennedy documentary being something I watched and rewatched many times, as well as the Oliver Stone film JFK which I remember receiving quite credibly.
Except for one thing. The repeated mantra back and to the right which Stone puts in Garrison's mouth in the film. I actually went back and reviewed the Zapruder film because of this, and discovered that the motion he insists is there really isn't there at all. The film clearly shows the headshot coming from the back and above, just as Posner says in the video.
But I didn't have Posner. Never ran across his book until recently, while listening to back episodes of the SGU (like so many good skeptical habits I have picked up) what I had was my own inability to ignore evidence when it is presented to me. What I stumbled across was this re-enactment (one of several) proving that the magic bullet was nothing of the kind. That the trajectory of the bullet is mappable and repeatable given an accurate reproduction of the events of that day.
First off is The Kennedy Assassination - Beyond Conspiracy clips of which are assembled here;
The second source of video was a very detailed recreation of the exact poses of the victims taken from Zapruder film footage, that were mocked up by Anatomical Surrogates Technologies for the documentary JFK: Beyond The Magic Bullet
. (full video available in three parts here) While the shot does appear to strike too low, the trajectory is almost identical to the bullet on that fateful day.
Lastly we have the recreation of the headshot showing that the direction that Oswald fired from was indeed the only direction where the damage seen to the President's head can be replicated. For those who simply aren't convinced by the replication of the magic bullet's trajectory.
theorists will of course come up with reasons why this proves nothing.
Personally I see no reason to continue pretending that Oswald did not
kill Kennedy. If you feel the forensic tests are simply not enough evidence, then I encourage you to pick up a copy of Case Closed. If none of this suffices, then I suggest you look to your own mental barricades. If your beliefs cannot be falsified, that just means that you dare not have them refuted.