5. History’s Most Controversial Assassination continues to provide conspiracy theories
Few events in history have given rise to as many conspiracy theories as did the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Decades of investigations, hearings, books, documents, records, and interviews, have failed to come up with a definitive answer to the question: did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone? Recently, an author tallied 42 groups, 82 assassins, and 214 people accused by conspiracy theorists of having been involved in the assassination.
The bare facts are relatively straightforward. Lee Harvey Oswald, a former US Marine, became a communist, and was so enamored of communism that he defected to the Soviet Union in 1959. He lived there for a few years, during which he met and married a Soviet woman. However, life behind the Iron Curtain was not what he had imagined it would be, so he returned to the US in 1962. Oswald settled in Dallas, but found it difficult to keep a job, quitting one after three months, and getting fired from another after six months.
In March of 1963, Oswald used an alias to make a mail order purchase of an Italian rifle with a scope for $29.95, with which he tried to assassinate a retired ultra right general. That September, he travelled to Mexico City, seeking to emigrate to Cuba, but was denied a visa. He returned to Dallas in October, and got a job in the Texas School Book Depository.
A month later, newspapers announced that JFK would visit Dallas on November 22nd, and published his motorcade’s route. It would pass by the Oswald’s workplace. That day, he set up a sniper nest by a 6th floor window of the Book Depository. When the president’s open limousine drove by around 12:30PM, Oswald fired three shots, killing JFK and seriously wounding Texas governor John Connally. 45 minutes later, he shot and killed a Dallas cop, and was arrested soon thereafter for that crime.
Oswald was later charged with killing Kennedy, but he denied it, claiming that he was a “patsy”. Two days later, he was shot and killed on live TV in the Dallas Police HQ by Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner. Oswald’s murder before he could tell his story lent plausibility to the theory that the aim had been to silence him. Then Ruby died in jail of cancer a few years later. That supercharged the theory that those behind the assassination had neatly silenced Oswald, using a dying man who had nothing to lose, who did the deed in exchange for some unknown favor or to pay off a past debt.