The sixth floor
by John Ring
I went to Dallas with three friends last August. While deployed to Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, Louisiana, we wanted to visit the former Texas School Book Depository, which is now a museum on the assassination of President Kennedy which took place on November 22, 1963.
Of the four of us, I was the only one who believed that Lee Oswald acted alone on that day, that he was the one who fired three shots from the corner 6th floor window.
The other three believed in a conspiracy--- but that was as far as they would agree. Was it the CIA? Was it disgruntled Cubans? The Far Right? The Mob? They couldn't agree.
If you believe it was a conspiracy, Dealey Plaza is the place for you. Peddlers sell it. There are Grassy Knoll T-shirts. There are newspapers (for $5) that talk about manhole covers, The Umbrella Man and a third, fourth or (egad) even a fifth shooter. Selling a conspiracy is big business in Big D.
The Museum itself is tastefully done, objective and chilling all at once. This is a Fair and Balanced museum you make up your own mind. The 6th floor is 96 X 96 and has been redone but two areas are as they were on November 22, 1963 at 12:30pm--- the window from where Oswald shot from is closed off with the stack of books in place that shielded him from potential co-workers and the escape path of Oswald by the stairway where he ditched his Mannlicher-Cancarro Italian rifle is the same as it was that day.
We went to Dallas on a Tuesday and were part of about forty people on the 6th floor. Amazingly, several people who were watching videos of broadcasts from Dallas that day and seeing the exhibits were overcome by their emotions.
Among the exhibits, you learn a lot of things.
When Oswald was buried, members of the press volunteered to serve as pallbearers because no one showed up to do it. His body was exhumed in 1985 (at two in the morning) to determine if it was actually him and not a Russian imposter it was Oswald. The "curtain rods" that Oswald supposedly took into the Depository that Friday were never found after an extensive search. When Dallas detectives found two IDs on him (Lee Oswald and Alex Hidell) and asked which one he was, Oswald smirked and said, "You figure it out."
Employees working at the Museum were all from Dallas. All watched JFK's motorcade that day. Before it was converted to a museum, it was used by Dallas County for office space. Many residents of Dallas wanted the building torn down.
After we toured the Museum, we took the obligatory walk along Dealey Plaza. We walked up the Grassy Knoll, where we met a guy named Jerome hawking T-shirts. Jerome didnt have a vested interest in your theory of the assassination; "I just work for a guy who wants me to sell these," he said. We went behind the picket fence, where the fatal head shot of JFK was allegedly delivered from. (Noteif you watch the movie Executive Action, the fatal shot comes from the gun of Nells Oleson, the kindly store owner and henpecked husband of Little House on the Prairie).There's graffiti all over it, mostly from die-hard conspirators. It's bolted down so would-be souvenir seekers can't carry it off by sections.
An "X" is on the pavement of Elm Street, marking the location of where Kennedy was fatally hit in his limousine, which is Frame 303 of the famous Abraham Zapruder film. The now-famous Dallas dressmaker stood on top of a cement block when he shot his 26 seconds of film history. People routinely run out onto Elm Street, dodging traffic, to have their photos taken at this historic spot.
In our group, no one changed their minds as to who did what to who. That isn't surprising. A poll was taken of The Zephyr staff and only John Stiles admitted that hes changed his mind over the yearsWhats interesting is that the conspiracy believers cant seem to agree on who orchestrated such a masterful job of executing the order, carrying it out and keeping complete secrecy for over four decades. (see sidebar).
The answer to who shot Kennedy is still debated across the country. The conspiracy theories have had legs for over 40 years but nothing has been proved, in spite of Oliver Stones outrageously fictitious movie JFK.
The answer is simple. A disgruntled, left-wing loser named Lee Harvey Oswald fired those three shots and killed a President. The first one missed, striking the pavement. The second one wounded Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally. And the third one tore out a good chunk of Kennedys head.
Oswald was at the Depository. It was his rifle. He fled the building (this was not a suicide mission). He also killed a police office before being captured.
He was a nut. But he made history.
A poll was taken of Zephyr writers and contributors with this simple question:
Do you believe that Kennedys assassination was carried out by. . .
If you select "B" identify who the culprits were
Heres the results.
Norm Winick Conspiracy, the Mafia
Mike Kroll Conspiracy, right-wing elements of CIA/Military
John Ring Oswald
John Stiles Oswald
Bob Seibert Conspiracy, exiled Cubans that supported Bay of Pigs
Caroline Porter Oswald
Alun Thomas Conspiracy, the Mafia
Peter Schwartzman Conspiracy, the CIA
Bill Monson Oswald
Steve Buck Conspiracy, the Mafia
Paulette Thenhaus Oswald
Carl Tannert Conspiracy, the CIA
Bill Flick Conspiracy, the Mafia
Lynn McKeon Oswald
Gayle Keiser Conspiracy, CIA/Secret Service
Bruce Weik Conspiracy, FBI