Monday, November 25, 2013

JFK 50: Presidential Security In The 1960's Was Awful

These "before" photos are always eerie.
I watched a lot of JFK documentaries this weekend, probably more than I should have, and recorded a lot more that I have yet to get to, confirming that initial thought. And of course the big question surrounding the Kennedy assassination is if you believe in a conspiracy or not. If you believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone or if he was a pawn for the Mafia or the CIA or the pro-Castro faction or the anti-Castro faction or LBJ's Texas people or any number of potential people who wouldn't have minded Kennedy dead.

Let me tell you, for years I have believed that there's no way Oswald acted alone. I have believed, like many have, that there's no way that a goofball- even if that goofball was a former Marine sniper- could have killed the president. But if you look at the actions- not of Oswald, but of the presidential security detail, the opportunity was wide open for Oswald- or anybody- to kill Kennedy.

In this white house, Truman was nearly assassinated in 1950.
Consider that most plots to kill the president before this were stumbled upon by accident. When Harry Truman had the White House renovated in the early 50's, he and his wife Bess moved into a house on a busy street without fencing and only had like two security guys at the front of the house. There was a plot to kill him when he was taking a nap one afternoon, and if it weren't for one of the guys at the front of the house giving his life in the attempt, Truman would have been killed. But they still didn't up presidential security after that.

Presidential security for the Dallas visit was awful, like it was for every Presidential excursion at the time. They did not screen people at entrances to any of Kennedy's visits that morning in Fort Worth. They did not sweep any of the buildings before JFK's visit. And most importantly, they did not check any of the buildings on the motorcade route.

Look, at the time, killing the president was not a federal offense. We're talking about the leader of the free world and it wasn't federally illegal to kill him. It was a state offense, sure, because murder is murder, but there was no federal statute about it. Hell, you'd be busted by the feds for trespass in national parks at the time but not for killing the president. And that's screwed up. There weren't a lot of rules or security in place surrounding Kennedy because people don't want to prepare for the worst case scenario, ever. So security surrounding the president was so lax it allowed for a goofball like Oswald to kill him alone.

The route was printed several times, this is from the Dallas Times-Herald
Think about this. Not only is the route of Kennedy’s motorcade printed in the Dallas papers, but none of the buildings along the route are inspected before the motorcade comes through. There is no security on the roof of any building in downtown Dallas. Nobody is accounted for within any building. All presidential security in Dallas is at street level and within the motorcade. Presidential security did not expect a sniper because it never even crossed their mind to prepare for one.

And they did not have any preparations for what to do after an assassination attempt. So it seems logical to me that the things that people yell “cover-up” about after the assassination were simply people not knowing what to do. Why did the Lincoln Continental get cleaned up before it was inspected? Why wasn't there an official autopsy? Why did the surgeon at Parkland Hospital not investigate the body better? Because there was no plan. They did not have a plan in place for what to do if the president was killed while riding in the car. There was no presidential doctor on hand to take charge within the hospital. There was no plan for the worst possible scenario. Because nobody believed one single nutjob could kill the president.

So think about Lee Harvey Oswald. He is a fair-to-middling Marine sniper who has gone off his rocker and failed on another assassination back in April. The motorcade route is printed in the paper and it's coming right past the building he works in. There is no presidential security checking that building, or any other building along the route. All presidential security is focused on the motorcade itself. The motorcade will be going slowly. The motorcade will be coming down the street directly towards him, so he will be able to get a clear shot when the president turns the corner. So it is easy as pie for Oswald to set up on the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository.

Nobody is looking for a sniper as they parade through Dallas. They are not prepared for a long-distance attempt. Although Kennedy apparently says as they're driving down the street, “Boy, it would be real easy for a sniper from one one of those windows to get a shot off.” And then it happened. It all points to Oswald, and only Oswald.

You still believe in the conspiracy and you have lots of points to make. You say the motorcade route was changed at the last minute. You should probably read this, which is the same link I put up when talking about the route earlier. You say there was more than one shooter. Where are their bullets? Only three bullets have ever been found, they came from Oswald's rifle. If somebody missed there would be fragments in buildings and other people would have wounds. If there were more than three hits then more people in the limo would have been hit. You say there was a shooter at the fence on the grassy knoll, where are his shell casings? Don't tell me he picked them up, as soon as the shots were fired people were dashing up the hill. Kennedy's head did go “back and to the left,” (and that's a great movie), but forensic scientists will tell you that his movements are consistent with being shot from the angle Oswald had from the 6th floor window. There is no magic bullet, Governor Connolly was sitting lower than Kennedy. The doctor who originally said that the wound on Kennedy’s throat looked like an entry wound said that since he was not performing an autopsy that he did not even look at Kennedy’s back to look for any other wounds.

"You know my methods, Watson."
You tell me that the Warren Commission made mistakes. The Warren Commission was rushed by LBJ to finish before the 1964 election (so in less than a year). The Warren Commission rushed themselves because this pain, this need for closure, hung over a shocked country and the Commission wanted to close the case as quickly as possible. You talk about Jack Ruby. He got in the garage and all the other press conferences because the assassination was his last straw. There was no security at Dallas police headquarters. You look at the crush of media there, they weren't checking who was coming in the door either. Dallas police has as bad a security plan as the presidential security detail did. It not only allowed Ruby to come in, they would have allowed anybody to come in. Not to mention that Ruby was known to the cops because they frequented his strip club and he did them favors. So they returned the favor by letting him in. Ruby wanted to be a hero for killing the guy who killed the president. That was his mindset.

We don't want to believe that a goofball could have killed the president that easily. That is why conspiracy theories exist. But the lack of presidential security and planning not only made it possible, it made it inevitable at some point.

The great Sherlock Holmes said (via Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) that “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” When you remove the fact that nothing has been proven to show that the Kennedy assassination was a conspiracy- nothing- despite it being pored over and over and over for now 50-plus years, making it the most investigated murder in history, you see what is left. It was Oswald, and no one else. And that's the scariest part of all.

What you see is what you get.
Hey, if you'd like to read a pretty good debunking website, try this:  mcadams.posc.mu.edu

photos courtesy: hangthebankers.com, wikipedia.org, mcadams.posc.mu.edu, fanpop.com, indyweek.com