50 years ago today President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Back then I was an energetic and inquisitive 8 year old living in El Paso, Texas with my mom and brother. We’d moved to a far progressive Texas from South Carolina to live across the street from my aunt and uncle, an Air Force family living in an Air Force enclave, in a military border town, it was the first place I ever saw a mall actually. El Paso had a mall in the desert, one with an ice skating rink in the center, can you imagine that? Can you imagine an America where anything was possible?
On this day though, all our futures were altered for what we realize now, what was I know now, the worse. All the progress that could have been America and the world, got diverted sent to “make believe” – What you are about to be, may be a revelation, or opening old wounds, whichever, it’s appropriate to at least think of JFK on this day.
The assassination of President John Kennedy has probably had more words written about the event, heck, more words than just about any event, I guess. You reading this, some of you may still remember what it was like to hear the news on radio, you may even have run in from playing outside to see newsmen (there were no news women) reporting to us all over black and white TV. Maybe your TV set even had rabbit ears with tinfoil on them for better reception? Most of you will have only heard rumors, tired ones by now, of some place called Camelot, of how it ended. Well, if you ever imagined such fairytale places, maybe you’ll read one more tired accounting.
America Knows the Truth, Has Always Known
I’ve always known JFK was the victim of a conspiracy. Even as a kid I never believed a lone gunman, the weaselly looking Oswald, capable of downing the most powerful man on Earth. Nobody really believed such, let me tell you. Seeing the chaos that ensued, remembering the tall figure of a leader coming to us through our radios and TVs, telling us to “ask not”, living in the promised land of shiny Cadillacs and miraculous devices, with a whole planet blossoming into a potential Utopia, there was just no way. We smelled something really, really wrong, nobody needed CBS’s Walter Cronkite to reveal the “other” killers, his early reporting of the events, they were noise in the background of a word of mouth utterance by a whole society. It’s one still faintly heard. “Who killed the Kennedys? After all it was me and you,” as the Rolling Stones song goes.
Actually “me and you” only “let” JFK, Bobby, Martin Luther King Jr. Malcolm X, and J. Edgar Mevers die, the ones that really killed them, they ran free, it is the “we” that suffered. When the TV networks suspended all commercials, when they began running wall-to-wall coverage of Kennedy’s shooting, the investigation, the transference of office to LBJ, that Arlington procession, it was then Neilsen ratings came into being, the highest even to this day. America became a television nation, the most informed society ever to walk Earth.
Interestingly, being so informed never did any of one ounce of good. To this day, even though most people “know” JFK and Camelot were plotted dead, we’re too weak and stupid, too aloof and selfish, too goddamned pitiful to demand a reckoning.
Follow the Dead Bodies
Last night I sat awake reading about a pivotal character in the drama of the JFK assassination. While the reader may need some history or conspiracy lessons on the “why” and “who” of the assassination, after all the strangeness of the events leading to the Dealey Plaza circus. Before I tell you about what I found out about Jack Ruby, you have to catch up with some reading. This Huffington Post- Reuters article by Jon Herskovitz is superb for capturing the nation back then, from the TV perspective. This New York Observer piece by Bill Sanderson shines a light on a news book that implicates one of the men we all suspected, former President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ), as a linchpin in a bigger conspiracy.
This story is about US Senator and one time Presidential candidate Gary Hart telling the Huffington Post that his involvement in the Church Commission led he and others to wonder if the media had not “lost the trail” on the JFK assassination? You read that correctly, the “leads” in this case were and still are more abundant than you might imagine. Mob hits, mysterious missing persons, even a plot to poison, shoot, or otherwise assassinate Cuba’s Fidel Castro, elicit affairs, and the names of legendary mafiosos, the strangeness of just the number of dead bodies surrounding this event, it’s too uncanny to be coincidence. However, we have to stop right here, it’s YOUR job to rehash the wavy history surrounding November 22, 1963, there’s just too much for me to type it all today.
Let me turn back now to the man who shot the man who supposedly shot JFK, Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby. You see Jack was perhaps the most crucial player in the charade that played out over all those years, the most important “body” among a procession of them, leading to an answer for “who shot the Kennedys?”
Jack Ruby’s “Negotiations” With the Warren Commission
If I may right here, the latest hub bub over who killed JFK came to me via the unlikely source, Russia Today. In this article Irina Suchet discussed the aforementioned Roger Stone book, which convicts President Johnson as, the single person with the “most to gain” from Kennedy’s demise. However true LBJ’s involvement may end up being, he was pointedly NOT the one with the most to gain, Richard M. Nixon and his backers had even more to gain. Now that this is out of the way, back to how come Jack Ruby summoned the Warren Commission to “negotiations” before his mysterious death from cancer in prison. By almost all accounts, Jack Ruby was first and foremost, no madman. The owner of a couple “gentlemen’s clubs” in Dallas, was buddy buddy with not only the mob, but with Dallas police as well.
Some say he ferried weapons to Castro in the 50’s too, but actually, none of that matters much. What does matter is the fact he walked onto camera in the basement of Dallas police headquarters, drew a 38 caliber Colt Cobra (PDF) from his coat pocket, and shot the only suspect in the killing of a US President in the gut (at left courtesy Wikipedia), killing him. As a reader, you have to let all this sink in for a moment. Now forget for a moment all the conspiracy theories you ever heard on this. Forget anything your heard about Jack Ruby’s connections to the mob, the CIA, the FBI, forget the long gunman, the grassy knoll ideas, forget all that, and consider what kind of mind set it takes to do what Ruby did.
If he was not crazy, or if he was not some zealot patriot (which seems highly unlikely), then what motivated him to waltz in and kill the only man implicated in a miraculous killing like this? Remember though, the “who stood to gain the most” too. Jack Ruby was found guilty of killing Lee Harvey Oswald and sentenced to the death penalty, then his conviction was overturned and he was scheduled for a new trial. Ruby developed lung cancer, supposedly while incarcerated, this later killing him theoretically. I say theoretically because Ruby claimed at one point he had been injected with cancer cells.
This matters less than his summoning the men appointed by President Johnson to take him back to Washington, where ostensibly Ruby would tell the whole truth of the JFK assassination. You probably never heard this part of the story amid all the other “conspiracy theories” generated. I know you never heard anyone suggest Ruby and the commission were in negotiations, rather than interrogations though. Ruby killed Oswald on November 24th 1964, he died in prison January 3rd, 1967. Now please read from when Chief Justice Earl Warren and then Congressman (later president) Gerald R. Ford interrogated Jack Ruby beginning at 11:45 a.m., on June 7, 1964. Then please read my conclusion. I quote only a portion below, follow the link to the rather lengthy discourse.
Chief Justice WARREN. I think it is powerful, yes I do. Of course, I don’t have all the information that you feel you have on that subject. Mr. RUBY. Unfortunately, you don’t have, because it is too late. And I wish that our beloved President, Lyndon Johnson, would have delved deeper into the situation, hear me, not to accept just circumstantial facts about my guilt or innocence, and would have questioned to find out the truth about me before he relinquished certain powers to these certain people.
If you read the testimony, no doubt you were puzzled too by some aspects of it. As I said, reading it last night for the first time, the sincerity, alarm, and absolute cryptic nature of discourse in between a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a future President of the United States, and a strip club owner from Dallas, I simply cannot be the only one stricken by the irony and more. To the point though, when I said “cryptic” there, I meant truly cryptic.
Reading along with Ruby’s rambling mentions of Kennedy, the Jews, Mrs. Kennedy, the so called “beloved” LBJ, somehow it occurred to me; “What if this is not a testimony, what if Ruby is getting assurances from these men?”
Let that sink in.
Complex dialogue or even events sometimes, these can be understood by breaking them down to their simplest forms. To do that with the Ruby-Warren conversations, all we have to do is ask; “What was Ruby after, and what were Warren and Ford after?” On the face of it, Ruby seemed to be desirous of saving his own life, being rescued to Washington, out of the hands of some ultra powerful hidden hand. As for Warren and Ford? They seemed intent on learning more truth, as it were. Couldn’t this have been handled over the phone?
Ruby must have made stipulations to get Warren and Ford, the other interesting players too, in that jailhouse room. He had to have threatened to blow the whistle, one way or another. The simplicity of these words is drop dead (excuse the pun) easy. Ruby wanted a record of assurances, Warren and Ford wanted assurances for the president, not the people. I think the document you just read is a contract of sorts. It’s a contract where the voice of “LAW” in the United States of America “certifies” to Jack Ruby that certain things will be taken care of. I also think a future president signs and seals this “deal” both cryptically and in reality when Ruby calls on him for comment in the conversation.
If you read, no doubt you’ll take note that Ruby refers to Lyndon Johnson three times. He calls Johnson a “wonderful president”, a “beloved president”, and “our president” successively. I know, you are right now saying “thin, too thin,” but read this dialog over and over again. The course Jack Ruby attaches over and again sentiment like LBJ believing in righteousness and justice, he refers to “his people” being saved from torture and mutilation over and over again. Then Warren assures him the president, the whole Warren Commission will ensure “his people” are not harmed. The curious nature of all that is in the Ruby-Warren testimony here, along with 1000 other mysterious variables, it just boggles the mind after a while. Reading on into the dialog Ruby demands a lie detector test, one which ended up being as mysterious as all the rest of the JFK data.
Inconclusive, for a myriad of reasons, not even experts agree if Ruby passed or failed when taking the electronic test. It’s as if Ruby was sealing a deal to secure the safety of his family or siblings. And threatening siblings and more, this and other assurances were probably motivation for someone like Ruby to kill Oswald. Of course it will take some serious investigative genius to piece back together the snaking connections and evidenciary trail that led up to and away from John Kennedy’s assassination.
Nowadays too, the young people probably could care less, like most Americans even farther back, these days Miley Cyrus is a genius (back then she’d have been shunned and jailed to boot), the NSA can burn the Constitution (back then the President would have been accountable), Google can take over Wall Street, for all anybody cares, just for God’s sake keep my smartphone charged. I guess the question should be asked though; “How might things have been?” That is, if Camelot had not ended. Changing something so dramatic in history, maybe this is a video game youngsters would be interested in? If Jack Ruby dealed to hide Kennedy’s real killers, then…
A Separate Human Reality
Well, 57,000 American soldiers, instead of dying in the rice paddies of Southeast Asia, would probably have had 100,000 children, created companies, shopped at Ben Franklin, manufactured cars, sold insurance policies, you know, lived. It seems pretty certain Lyndon Johnson would never have been President, or even Vice President had Kennedy won a second term. The arms race, the space race, the Cold War, the whole complexion of our world now, it would be a separate reality. Spiro Agnew is never Vice President, he cannot be convicted of tax evasion and bribery. Warren Commission notable Gerald Ford would never have become president. George H.W. Bush might certainly have never become head of the CIA, or president, nor his son president, and so on. Later Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the “rootin tootin” cowboy of Shock and Awe in Iraq, he might have been resigned to some lesser fate than entering the circle of power in Washington, his sidekick wild man Vice President and weapons procuring Dick Cheney might not have had to call President Obama a liar, the “what ifs” are actually impossible to calculate.
Summing up, the coincidences in between all these names and events, leave a trail of breadcrumbs to a world today still rife with subterfuge, forced ignorance, poverty, hate, and greed. Like the so-called Dark Ages, when Camelot (or Rome) fell, what replaced it’s future was dark, though many do not see it. After all, does the mole curse the darkness? The point being here, we all have to care, or just be basal, cruel, fully limited beings on this tiny blue dot in space. Don’t we have any dreams any more? Or do those dreams end at Walmart, end in turning over our heritage to the Waltons, Bushs, George Soros, or some scallywag none of us have ever heard tell of?
Gun runners Ruby and Oswald, Oswald George H.W. Bush (at left one of his Zapata oil rigs) acquaintances like George de Mohrenschildt (people you never heard of), Zapata Oil and other corporate names might never have been heard. Even the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, these and others would in all likelihood, never have taken place. If Kennedy had not been assassinated President Barack Obama may not have had to justify hanging the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Poppy Bush’s neck. For all we know there might be one United World now.
Lastly, I want to say this as an America as guilty as you for doing nothing; “Does the JFK assassination affect you now?” Did someone you know get killed in Vietnam? Maybe somebody you know was among the tens of thousands paid to build stuff in South Vietnam by the RMK-BRJ construction conglomerate created during the war to profit? Or, did a body bag from Iraq arrive with your loved on in it? Are you homeless, in despair, or did you hope we’d be on Mars by now? Are you starving in Mogadishu, scared in Cairo, displaced in Gaza, fearful in Syria?
You didn’t have to be, you know? We believed in a better place than we all live in now way back in 1963, but Camelot was stolen not by just a crazy lone sniper holding a dilapidated old rifle. We knew that all along, since I was a kid, and here we are half a century later at square one, and too the world is very different now as it was at JFK’s inauguration.