Mixed Puzzle Pieces: A Short, Biased History of the JFK Community

mismatch-puzzleFor those who don’t like my rants and raves, please quit reading now.  For those who want a smile, a nod in agreement or hopefully some inspiration and back-patting, please continue.

You see, for the last few weeks, there has been a radical attempt to push the people within the JFK community  to stand by and support their claims in books, theories and hypotheses.  Moreover, it has been an “in your face” cri de coeur  from altruistic researchers to beg new interests in the case to not just believe authors, researchers or so called witnesses, but to find for themselves how true, how embellished or how fallacious said theories, remembrances or conclusions may be.

This is nothing new within this community, in fact it’s a hallmark of it,  though it may be new to the people of Facebook and social media.  For years,  beginning as early as 1964, JFK researchers fought amongst themselves.  But they also found common ground.  For the conspiracy realists, the common ground was the charade that we now call the Warren Commission Report.  There were truths in it.  There were half-truths in it.  There were obfuscations, missed evidence and outright lies in it.  Records were sealed.  Witnesses weren’t deposed.  There were all kinds of problems.  The Warren Report was the beginning of the chasm between people in the JFK case.  In my opinion, that’s what it was made to do.  The Katzenbach Memo released many years later confirmed my fears.

Before the Internet, people interested in the JFK assassination found information about it in books, the National Enquirer, Time/Life, newspapers…well, the written word.  Throughout those years and even after my grandfather passed away, my family would get phone calls from authors that included Mark Lane,  Richard Trask, Anthony Summers, Harold Weisberg and we still maintained contact with Penn Jones and Wes Wise and many others.  In 1975, Robert Groden appeared on Good Night America with Geraldo Rivera and showed his stolen copies of the  Zapruder and Nix films:  films that were never shown to the general public until that time.  Another maelstrom of interest developed and subsequently the HSCA came to be.   Groden rocked the boat in a way many at the time and even now would consider unethical, but things changed…and the JFK Community learned more through the findings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

Still researchers fought.  Whose group was better?  Which organization knew more than the other?  Whose book was a lie and whose wasn’t?

As the years progressed, the Internet came to be and those who knew how to use it got involved in JFK Forums on AOL as well as alt.net groups.  The fights raged on.  The old argument from the 60’s as to whether Oswald was in the doorway (no, it was Billy Lovelady as attested to as recently as last year by Buell Frazier to me) still popped up now and again.  Penn Jones’s studies on mysterious deaths was a hot topic.  Badgeman came into play in the 80’s and then there were the acoustical studies of the motorcycle tapes.  The backyard photos may be argued forever!

Some of the key people within the conspiracy community left. Some came to believe that Oswald acted alone. Others passed away.  The point is, they never agreed on anything.  It’s one of the huge problems this community has always had.  Oliver Stone’s JFK premiered.  Of course, with people making money from this case,  problems are bound to happen.  Egos get in the way.  People with mental health issues become experts.   Crazy theories about Mrs. Kennedy killing her husband or friendly fire abound.  But where is the proof?

As the Internet and technology progressed so did the ability to find more information and to Photoshop photos.  People who were experts in one area suddenly became pixilation experts and authorities on all things manufactured within the case. If you had a degree, even if it was in podiatry, you became an expert on the medical evidence.  This phenomena occurred in all aspects of the case and touched all evidence including film, photos, witness testimony and reports.  The only constant?  Infighting within the community.

It makes one question: Who are we to believe?

My answer:  Don’t necessarily believe the who, but weigh them against the whys, hows, wheres and whats.

People are entranced by the spectacle and unsolved mystery of the JFK Assassination. Some so much so, they become part of its history.  Also, many are reaching an age where they realize their mortality and may want to share secrets they have carried for years.  How do you decide which are which?

You ask questions.

Those of us who ask for legal evidence are not monsters, we are truth-seekers.  The truth isn’t always pretty.  Are we to wait another 52 years before we find the real truth as to what happened that horrible day?  I scream a resounding “NO”.  I don’t blame the newer researchers in the field who are tired of lies within this case and know that 52 years is too long.  They work hard to find the answers.  They don’t follow authors like me or Bill Simpich or Walt Brown because we’re nice.  They don’t listen to podcasts by Doug Campbell or Chuck Ochelli or Brent Holland because they want their 15 minutes of fame by calling in to their shows. They follow us because they check out our stories, check the footnotes, endnotes and indices of our blogs and books and verify what is being said to them and what research we are citing   They question what we posit, they ask hard questions.  They don’t believe us just because we’re nice, smart or in my case, old!   They may not do it in a way we like, but they do it.

And they NEED to do it!

Everything old is new again.  Researchers will always fight when ego, money and lies are involved.  They also fight because it’s human nature.   I suggest, in respect for the memory of President JFK who was murdered in cold blood by a conspiracy, we stay our course to find the truth. Though we may still fight like the early independent researchers did years ago, it is necessary.  If but one person begins to truly dig into the research, then we’ve done our jobs in finding another piece of the puzzle—-a puzzle that will be solved once the bad pieces that fit to another puzzle are removed.

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