It was a turkey shoot

I was not born when JFK was assassinated, but I have always been very curious about that event, not only because it changed our world but because the evidence in the case against Lee Harvey Oswald seemed flimsy at best. I am not going to try and analyze all of the different theories, nor am I going to try and de-bunk the conspiracy folks or the official findings of the Warren Commission. It only took me 49 years, but I can now say that I have visited Dealy Plaza in Dallas Texas and I have looked at the scene of the crime in person. This is my perspective of the event.

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The first thing that I noticed is the scale of the crime scene. We’ve all seen pictures and Youtube videos, but until you actually go there and look at it, you can’t imagine exactly how SMALL the area is. Many people have said “There is no way Oswald could have made that shot” and truthfully it is not that far. The Texas School Book Depository building is right on the corner and it is not a very tall building. There is a tree that partially blocks the shot, but looking at old photos, the tree was obviously much smaller 50 years ago.

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The parade route was published in the paper so that people could gather and see the president. It also gave the opportunity for one or more snipers to find hiding spots, and just looking around it is obvious that there are many places that give plenty of cover.

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Why would the route take a short jog from Main Street, onto Houston, then an immediate left onto Elm? Main Street also goes under the “triple overpass” directly next to where Elm Street goes under. The obvious advantage is that extra turn gives a greater exposure to potential snipers, whether they are on the grassy knoll, behind the fence at the parking lot, or in any of the TSBD windows. The change in route was dismissed as a necessary change because they wanted to go on the expressway, a turn that is not possible from the center lane. It’s also that same expressway that would be needed to get to the hospital.

Last year was the 50th anniversary of the assassination and many people still flock to see the spot where this event happened. Maybe it’s morbid curiosity, or maybe they just need “closure” to an event that galvanized the entire country.

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There is an “X” in the street that marks the exact spot where the limo was at the fateful moment, while plaques point out important reference points. If you stand there and let your mind drift, you can travel back in time, taking the place of any of the people who were there. The perspectives they had, the emotions that must have taken over as soon as the first (of many) shots rang out. The sorrow they felt knowing what they just witnessed.

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The fence that separates the grassy knoll from the parking lot has been rebuilt many times, but it still resembles the fence that was there in 1963. It’s a great vantage point, about 100 feet at most. Hell, I’m not a good shot and even I could have made it.

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In the end, who really knows what happened that day? Most of the secrets died back then or were conveniently written out of the history books. There is an old saying that “History is written by the victors” and it seems they have won yet again. I encourage everyone to be critical of any event and look at life with at least a basic amount of skepticism. Happy hunting in your quest to find the truth.

About hemibill

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