Mariah Morgan English 111. 353

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Mariah Morgan

English 111.353

Mrs. Brittany Cowan

November 21, 2014

What Really Happened To John F. Kennedy

Two weeks after the shooting of President John F. Kennedy, a poll showed that 52 percent of Americans blamed something larger than Lee Harvey Oswald for the President’s death. A decade passes and a second poll is done which puts the number at 61 percent. The belief in this conspiracy has grown over time (Walker). The list goes on and on when asked to name all of the alternative reasons behind Kennedy’s assassination. Some of the alternative beliefs are the grassy knoll, the umbrella man, Lyndon Johnson, the belief of a second shooter, and the belief that the government had set someone up to do the dirty work. With all of these questionable alternatives, it’s hard for me to believe that anyone has not put a lot of thought into them. There is something more than the mainstream belief that John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated by the lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald.

The most commonly known theory is the grassy knoll. The grassy knoll is known as the area where an unidentified gunman was standing that over looked the motorcade. This gunman was believed to be the real assassin (Knowles). The Warren Commission, who were a group of investigators hired by Lyndon Johnson, gave the conclusion that the President was shot by lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository (Reitzes). After the shots were fired, chaos broke loose on the grassy knoll. Spectators fell to the ground in fear. Cops were running after one another trying to figure out what was going on, and people began running after them because they thought they were chasing a suspect (Reitzes). With all of this commotion, it was very easy to get mixed up and confused about what had really happened. One suspicion was a young African American couple who were sitting on a bench a good ways from the road Kennedy came up. The couple was reportedly eating lunch and drinking cokes, and just before shots were fired, they were said to have repositioned themselves in strange stances (Reitzes). The couple very well could have repositioned themselves so what makes them any more suspicious than someone else who moved right before the shots? Yes, I agree that it is very hard to blame someone for moving; however, photographs from the day of the shooting reveal that the position that the male was in seconds before the shots was him leaning on his elbows placed on the retaining wall with something larger than a coke bottle in his hands (Reitzes). What really happened on the grassy knoll that day is still very unclear, but this mysterious activity helps me to think that it wasn’t just Lee Harvey Oswald.

On a large list of mysterious activity that took place on the day of the shooting, one of the most suspicious spectators was the umbrella man. Many photographs of the scene reveal a man standing near the motorcade with a black opened umbrella. The thing that made this so suspicious is that he had this umbrella opened on a perfectly sunny day. Other than to block the sun, why would someone need an opened umbrella? Some theories about this man were that he was a conspirator to the assassination, signaling Oswald or another assassin. Another theory was that the umbrella he was holding could have been some type of sophisticated weapon (Organ). This suspicious man was later revealed to the Dallas press as Louie Steven Witt. No further investigation was done by the Warren Commission even after knowing the man’s name (Reitzes). So what is so suspicious about a man holding on opened umbrella above him on a sunny day? Spectators reported to the Dallas press that the umbrella that the man was holding was much larger than any ordinary umbrella. Some even reported that the umbrella looked hard to hold up with one arm as they saw the man struggling with it throughout the beginning of the motorcade (Organ). Investigators later stated that the umbrella had the appropriate length and width to be a type of disguised weapon (Organ). The idea of this man having a disguised weapon plays a huge role in this conspiracy for me because it makes it easier to believe when hearing the spectators talk about his struggle to hold it.

A popular theory for one to know about is the mysterious deaths of people that took place within a few weeks after Kennedy’s assassination. The list of people who died right after Kennedy’s death is an impressive list. It included Oswald's landlady, two newsmen who wrote about the case, one of Jack Ruby's (the man who killed Oswald while in custody) lawyers, the cab driver who gave Oswald a ride following the assassination, one of Jack Ruby's strippers, the husband of another stripper, the brother of an eyewitness to Oswald's slaying of Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit approximately fourty-five minutes after the assassination, and TV game show fixture Dorothy Kilgallen (reitzes). One might say that there was no connection to the assassination; however, I find it interesting that all of these people who died shortly after the assassination had some kind of connection to the shooter, or were people who knew things that they probably weren’t supposed to know.

In conclusion, I have given you three main theories that John F. Kennedy’s assassination was something larger than lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald. If the information that I have given you doesn’t encourage you to do some research of your own, then I am not sure what will. When pieces of evidence come together in a murder case, the evidence should come together clean without many questionable pieces. That was clearly not the case with this assassination. That is why I believe that John F. Kennedy died from something more than a simple assassination.

Works Cited

Knowles, Elizabeth. "Grassy Knoll." HighBeam Research, 01 Jan. 2006. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

McAdams, John. "Newsgroup." JFK / The Kennedy Assassination Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.

Organ, Jerry. ""Smoke" on the Grassy Knoll in the Wake of the JFK Assassination." "Smoke" on the Grassy Knoll in the Wake of the JFK Assassination. N.p., 2000. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

Patterson, Thom, Ed Lavandera, and Jason Morris. "One JFK Conspiracy Theory That Could Be True." CNN. Cable News Network, 18 Nov. 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

Reitzes, David. "JFK Conspiracy Theories at 50." NC Live. N.p., 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.

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