John F. Kennedy remains a major political icon in the American history. He was the 35th president of the country. He was assassinated on 22nd of November, 1963 (Historymatters.com 1). The leader was shot by a sniper at Dealey Plaza, Dallas Texas. His death is regarded as one of the most shocking events in the political history of the United States of America. The major reason is that the country was going through significant political changes at the time (Bugliosi 22). After the incident, a commission was established by President Lyndon to investigate the assassination. The agency was headed by Warren. The report by the commission was accepted by some sections of the American populace. However, other people sought to dispute its findings and conclusions.
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In this essay, the author explores the Warren report and some of the theories used to explain the assassination of JF Kennedy. The author analyzes the arguments made by conspiracy theorists opposed to the findings of the commission. Critical analyses of the report and the opinions of the opponents reveal that Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible. He is the one who fired the shots. The reason is that at the time the leader was killed, Oswald was around the area. Evidence places him at the window from where the crime was committed. His presence on the sixth floor of the Texas School Depository Building proves that he is the one who committed the offense.
Lee Harvey Oswald: The Man behind JF Kennedy’s Assassination
After reviewing the events that took place at the material day, the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald was the person responsible for the assassination. On November 22nd, the presidential motorcade was expected to pass through downtown Dallas. The president was to have a luncheon speech at Trade Mart (Kurtz 34). He would then fly to Austin for a reception and later attend a fundraising. He then proceeded to the Vice President’s Texas ranch. The people who accompanied him included the chief executive, the party leader, and a prospective election candidate. The motorcade was expected to restore his popularity in a city where he had lost the 1960 elections (Thompson 200).
A careful evaluation of the security aspects of various buildings was carried out. Consequently, the Trade Mart was selected. It was the preferred location for the luncheon. After this approval, the route that was selected for the motorcade was natural. It was published in the local papers. The entourage would go through the junction joining Elm and Houston avenues. It would move towards Trade Mart through Stemmons Freeway (McAdams 40). However, the motorcade proceeded towards the Texas School Book Depository. The assassination took place just after this building. An evaluation of the available evidence revealed the truth behind the death.
It is erroneous to refute the findings made by the Warren Commission. The conclusions were made after detailed investigations that brought together all government agencies (Historymatters.com 5). A review of the findings revealed some basic truths about the assassination. The basic truths, on their part, support the major conclusion of the report to the effect that Oswald killed the president. For example, the presupposition that the victims were injured by shots from the school building is factual and general knowledge. A witness reported that they saw a rifle being fired from the sixth floor of the building (McKnight 33). Another basic truth is that the bullets that killed the leader were from a 6.5 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. The weapon was recovered from the sixth floor of the Depository Building. The nature of the bullet wounds on the victims indicated that the shots came from above (Meagher 19).
The evidence provided by the witnesses was reliable. For example, it was clear that the assassin was a skilled shooter and knew how to aim at their target (Historymatters.com 45). Such skills are mostly acquired in the military. In addition, the use of a complicated firearm, such as the one recovered from the sixth floor, requires experience. Oswald’s biography indicated that he was once a military officer known for sharp shooting. Consequently, he fits the profile of the suspect.
Some critics claim that the person responsible for the crime must have been working from the Triple Underpass. However, there was no evidence to support this argument. According to the information gathered, it was clear that there were three shots. Evidence indicated that the same bullet that passed through the president’s neck must have injured Connally. Consequently, the conclusion that the bullets were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald is factual. The suspect owned a gun that was similar to the one that was used (Bugliosi 33). It was determined that he carried the rifle into the building. He was also present at the window when the shots were fired. The rifle was found hidden under cartons near the window at the south east corner. A detailed analysis of Oswald’s life indicated that he was capable of shooting at targets from that distance (Thompson 45).
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The testimonies of eye witnesses who described the appearance of the suspect further show that Oswald was responsible for the heinous act (Historymatters.com 55). For example, a witness informed the commission that he saw a slender man entering the building. The man was about 5 feet and 10 inches tall. Oswald’s height corresponds to the given description. The witness did not mention any other origins of the shots. What this means is that only one individual was involved in the shooting. That person must have been the one who was seen entering the building, and who fits Oswald’s description. In addition, it was further revealed that a headcount of employees at his place of work indicated that he was absent. As such, one is left wondering where Oswald was when he was supposed to be working. The answer is simple; he was at the scene of crime because he could not be in two places at the same time.
It was further revealed that Oswald killed a Dallas police officer on patrol 45 minutes after the assassination. Two eye witnesses saw him. Another seven heard and saw him leave. Cartridge cases also tied the man to the crime. It was concluded that they were similar to those in a firearm found on him. His jacket was found along the path leading away from the site of shooting. After 80 minutes from assassination and 35 minutes from Tippit’s killing, Oswald tried to kill another police officer when he was been arrested. All these incidences point to a man capable of killing.
It is a fact that evidence from one eye witness can be biased. However, in this case, the commission had nine eye witnesses who gave evidence pointing to one direction. One can be wrong, but it is hard for all nine to be biased. As such, it is very likely that Oswald was the culprit. He was brave enough to accost police officers with a rifle. In addition, his attempts at running away point to a guilty conscience. One cannot run away from the police in a democratic nation like the U.S unless they are afraid. In addition, the fact that the shots came from the direction of the underpass does not mean that whoever was behind the rifle was positioned there (Meagher 39). If that was the case, the president’s driver would have spotted the shooter.
The Far-Fetched and Wild Claims of Opponents of the Warren Commission and Conspiracy Theorists
Most critics are of the opinion that there was a conspiracy behind the assassination. Oswald could not have killed the president and the police all by himself. Furthermore, killing the suspect deepened the mystery (Hurt 24). However, it is erroneous for the opponents to make such allegations. There was enough evidence to link Oswald to the killing. As such, his killing was insignificant (Lifton 30).
The conspiracy theorists further claim that the only evidence used to link Oswald to the crime was the rifle he owned. They argue that the other pieces of evidence did not provide bases strong enough to convict him. They claim that he was working for the Soviet Union and the Cubans as a lone gunman (Kelin 125). The critics hold that more gunmen were present at the time of shooting. They argue that another shot was heard from somewhere inside the building. It is also likely that various rifles were used (McKnight 101). They also argue that Oswald could not have carried a rifle on the day before the assassination. Three people who saw him claimed that he was not armed (Kurtz 203). Furthermore, he was not on the sixth floor when the shootings occurred. He was seen by the two witnesses on the second floor at the time of the last shot. The critics continue to argue that Oswald could not have used a rifle on the day of the assassination. A paraffin test revealed no traces of gunpowder on him (Lifton 30).
A balanced look into the arguments made by the critics reveals various inconsistencies with known facts. For example, eye witnesses saw Oswald kill the police officer. Whether people saw him carrying a rifle or not is insignificant. The Commission found that on the material day, he carried cartons, which he claimed contained rods (Historymatters.com 45). Consequently, it is probable that he was ferrying a rifle. The report does not mention any paraffin tests performed on the suspect. In any case, there was no need for such evaluations since Oswald was arrested with a rifle. His wife also confirmed that he owned one.
An evaluation of the Warren report indicates that Oswald assassinated the president and wounded Connally. He was at the scene of crime. There was no evidence to show that the suspect was affiliated to the FBI or the CIA. In addition, the commission did not establish any relationship between Oswald and Jack Ruby. As such, the commission’s conclusion that the suspect was acting alone is factual. No evidence was deduced to show that external agents tried to help the man commit the offence. As such, he is the lead and sole character in the conspiracy script favored by the opponents of the commission. The decision to transfer him to a county jail in full view of the public can only be explained as poor judgment on the part of the police. His death was not planned. Consequently, he remains the only suspect in relation to the murder.
Bugliosi, Vincent. Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, New York, NY: Norton & Company, 2007. Print.
Historymatters.com. Warren Report. n.d. Web.
Hurt, Henry. Reasonable Doubt: An Investigation into the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1985. Print.
Kelin, John. Praise from the Future Generation: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy and the First Generation Critics of the Warren Report, San Antonio, Texas: Wings Press, 2007. Print.
Kurtz, Michael. The JFK Assassination Debates: Lone Gunman versus Conspiracy, Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2006. Print.
Lifton, David. Best Evidence: Disguise and Deception in the Assassination of John F Kennedy, New York: Signet Book, 1992. Print.
McAdams, John. Kennedy Assassination, New York: Free Press, 2004. Print
McKnight, Gerald. Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why, Kansas: Kansas University Press, 2005. Print.
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Meagher, Sylvia. Accessories After the Fact: The Warren Commission, the Authorities and the Report, New York: Vintage Books, 1967. Print.
Thompson, Josiah. Six Seconds in Dallas: A Micro study of the Kennedy Association, New York: Bernard Geis Associates, 1967. Print.