"President Kennedy's assassination was the work of magicians. It was a stage trick, complete with accessories and fake mirrors, and when the curtain fell, the actors, and even the scenery, disappeared...The plotters were correct when they guessed that their crime would be concealed by shadows and silences, that it would be blamed on a madman and negligence." -- James Hepburn, Farewell America
"It's pretty heavy, huh?" -Lyndon Johnson, after being presented with the hefty Warren Commission Report by Chief Justice Earl Warren
When I came across prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi's, Reclaiming History; I said to the salesperson who guided me to the tome, "It's pretty heavy, huh?" The clerk smiled knowingly as if to get my reference, I hope...I thought to myself why would Vinnie (Bugliosi) spend, as he claims five plus years writing a book that after 1600 some pages triumphantly declares, "Oswald did it!!!". In his increasingly testy and defensive style he boldly if not patronizingly announces that he is in fact reclaiming history and in the bargain he absurdly and summarily dismisses a virtual library of meticulous and overwhelmingly compelling research by the most serious and sober scholars, authors, journalists, archivists, historians, scientists...who just happen to have come to radically different conclusions than the esteemed prosecutor.
Upon turning to virtually any page of his "history" one major glaring reality becomes more than clear: Mr. Bugliosi is a prosecutor first and foremost...presenting his "case"...which should in any reasonable reader's mind disqualify him as a true, let alone objective historian:
Even to the masses of us who are not lawyers it is almost jokingly obvious that in the classic technique of his trade there is a torrent of evidence ignored, ridiculed, distorted, re-interrupted and when needed he laughingly draws the most ludicrous conclusions and makes mindless ill-informed guesses about the who, what and whys of Lee Harvey Oswald.
The so-called "mainstream media" in general and depressingly predicable fashion, of course embraced Bugliosi's assault on reason with the glee of ancient archbishops reviewing 1600 pages of a book verifying there "belief" that the world is indeed flat!
So what are we to make of the thousands of pages of theories, counter-theories...facts chasing facts, a Japanese beetle jar...that jug of motor oil filled with bugs...a physicist's nightmare of neutrinos in a rodeo in the fifth dimension...I sift through those pages and I begin to feel like Boo Radley watching Two and Half Men in Esperanto. It's like watching a David Lynch film projected on rain clouds in a Tasaday village.
I was taught the truth will set you free...unless of course you want the truth about who killed JFK.
Like all of you, I have a beautiful wife, a house in France, and a career in show business. You might know me from the critically acclaimed and therefore doomed series Homicide: Life on the Street or from one of my television specials or Law and Order: SVU or perhaps my political commentary or one of my books, or one of my personal appearances in a nightclub near you...I don't know! Just leave me alone! But anyway, just like you, I would rather live my life than sit around thinking nasty thoughts about who killed JFK.
So it behooves me to settle one irrefutable reality about the "crime of the century": IT WAS PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR OSWALD TO HAVE SHOT PRESIDENT KENNEDY!!!...There I said it: with no apologies to the likes of prosecutor Bugliosi. Let me explain this pesky fact once and for all. The prosecutor likes to boast that he is virtually the only person on earth to have read the entire 26 volumes of the Warren Report. He fails to mention his willfull, startlingly lax examination of the contradictions and omissions in the report.
After President Kennedy's head was exploded, Lee Harvey Oswald was discovered on the second floor of the Book Depository building drinking a Coke. His presence was verified by his boss, Roy Truly, and motorcycle patrolman Marion Baker. According to the Warren Commission, the three men's encounter was reenacted in two "tests" by the commission: in the first, Baker (walking!) reached the second floor landing in 1 minute, 30 seconds. In the second test; in his words: "at kind of a trot"; he finished the course in 1 minute, 15 seconds...to "time" Oswald's movements Special Agent John Howlett of the Secret Service (in another rigged "test") carried a rifle (there were three rifles found in the Depository on November 22: a German Mauser, a much joked about Italian Mannlicher-Carcano, and a British Enfield Rifle; but that's another story) from the "nest" and "placed" the Carcano on the floor near the site where it was actually found. The truth is the murderer hid the rifle, which would take longer than to "place it on the floor". The reality is (as Mr. Bugliosi knows full well if he "read" the Report as he claims) the Warren Commission reenactments of Baker's reaction times were done at a slower speed than his actual movements, according to Baker's own testimony he ran from his motorcycle and into the depository quickly but the reenactments had him purposely go slower to meet the needs of the Commission's desire to create the impression that there was time enough for the assassin to do his dirty deed. Let us now consider what Oswald was alleged to have accomplished, by some miracle, with his rickety ass misaligned bolt-action relic of a rifle: fire three bullets, with deadly accuraccy (of which one was "magic": a theory concocted by Arlen Specter, at the behest of the Commission, that manages to suspend the laws of Newtonian physics!) squeeze out of the sniper's nest, wipe off the gun, go to the opposite end of the sixth floor, zigzagging and dodging stacks of books, wedge the weapon between two of the stacks, run down four flights of stairs (with landings, actually making it eight flights, I visited the Book Depository) then, according to page 679 of Volume XXV1 of the Commission's Hearings and Exhibits...exhibit No. 3076 quoting Officer Baker's deposition: "on the second floor where the lunchroom is located, I saw a man standing in the lunchroom drinking a Coke"; Oswald appeared completely calm and not the least out of breath or nervous at his chance encounter with patrolman Baker and Roy Truly (who remember ran up just one flight of stairs) in reality surely getting them there in more like SIXTY TO SIXTY FIVE SECONDS ladies and gentlemen: Therefore to repeat: IT WAS PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR OSWALD TO HAVE SHOT PRESIDENT KENNEDY!!!
THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT!
In conclusion I would have the distinguished prosecutor ponder two quotes:
"Let General de Pellieux allow me respectfully to point out that a piece of evidence, whatever it may be, cannot have any value and cannot constitute scientific proof before it has been subjected to cross-examination..." -- Fernand Labori, defense attorney at the trial of Emile Zola. Paris, February 17, 1898
And finally: "There is a certain nobility about facing up to the truth..." -- Oxford scholar Richard Dawkins.
P.S. I highly recommend Josiah Thompson's masterpiece Six Seconds In Dallas: A Micro-Study of the Kennedy Assassination, Published by Bernard Geis Associates-Distributed by Random House, l967; The Oswald Affair-An Examination of the Contradictions and Ommissions of The Warren Report, By Leo Sauvage, Published by The World Publishing Company 1966; and the most compelling, incredibly revelatory book ever written about the murder and all it's labyrinthian logistics and mysteries, Ultimate Sacrifice, by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann, Published by Carrol & Graf 1966.