Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Long Barrels

Photo courtesy of

Rather an ominous picture, isn’t it? Rest assured these men are not carrying guitars to a gig. And they will not be toting Mannlicher Carcanos either. These are Secret Service (presumably) snipers in New York City providing security for President Obama’s visit. Of course they could be anybody’s boys. They have a discernible military bearing; short-cropped hair; no beards or mustaches; lean; all dressed in black. It would be nice to have these guys protecting you. But what if one of them goes bad? There would be nothing to stop them from picking off the head of state. I can see this as a nerve wracking situation for any president. Surely visions of Dealey Plaza must race through the mind. If there are powerful fiefdoms in our government, having those men with gun bags about you is a subtle reminder not to get too far off the reservation.

Vince Buglosi, in his mammoth defense of the Warren Commission, Reclaiming History, makes the point that if there was a conspiracy, why is Oswald not doing anything that would be associated with a plot? Such as, attending meetings with co-conspirators and so on as Booth did before the Lincoln assassination. Buglosi, the relentless cherry picker, ignores the other side of the argument--what did Oswald do to be an assassin other than buying two cheap firearms?

Apparently, not much. He is known to have visited a firing range one time. He did no research we know of in regards to range, bullet drop, wind, and other factors. As a friend who is a hunter told me, the hardest thing to do is accurately aim and fire at a moving subject. Oswald did no ballistic tests of moving targets. And evidently did no shooting experiments to properly sight the scope, which army marksmen had to use metal shims to properly align. Oswald’s notoriety for being bad marksmen-—qualifying the first time, doing not as well the second time, and barely passing the final time—is clearly documented. Even when hunting in Russia with friends he was assigned a shotgun—in the hopes he would at least be able to hit something with it.

So is there evidence or even a qualifier for Oswald being a patsy? Could he have been one considering the situation he found himself in? I think the evidence bears this out though his actions after the assassination invoke suspicion. For example, upon his arrest he denied to Dallas police ownership of the rifle yet his palm print was on it. As the police officer asks him to stand up in the movie theater he tries to strike the policeman and the tries to shoot him to boot. In his personal possessions later will be found the receipt for the money order he used to order the weapons. In another twist, the rifle requires two hands for operation and assembly since he snuck it in the building that morning disassembled. It should have been covered with his fingerprints but it was not. He must have wiped the rifle down before hiding it but that wastes valuable time in getting to the second floor lunchroom a few moments later. Or else the Dallas police did in their possession.

As you see, one can get a brain freeze in trying to come to terms with all of this.

Oswald can only be a patsy if there are other shooters. That is the Achilles heel of the whole conspiracy view of the Kennedy assassination. Any and all conspiracies in the case can only be based on circumstantial evidence. Other shooters can never be named, witnesses are often confused over what they saw and heard, and clear photographic evidence is lacking. It’s only through our peripheral vision that we see a hint of something going on that is not right. And even that is a vague look.

As usual, the rabbit trail winds its way back to the mysterious former marine and his peculiar life and final acts. Lee Oswald is not the innocent patsy as he ensnares himself in numerous lies to the Dallas police, Secret Service, and the FBI. Probably to provide cover even though this would all come out later in a trial. In the end he never admitted to any crime either against officer Tippet or the murder of the President of the United States. He even denied being on the sixth floor at the time of the shooting, stating that he was on the first floor at that time the shots rang out. Perhaps that explains his coolness and lack of nerves by those who witnessed him. Could he have had an accomplice? If so, the other shooter would be forced to use Oswald’s junk, something distasteful to a professional who would most likely bring his own gear. And maybe that is what happened. After all, Mac Wallace, a bagman for LBJ had a match on one his finger prints on a box on the sixth floor of the School Book Depository Building. The FBI would later toss the data, much to the chagrin of the veteran expert that analyzed the prints.

Ultimately, Lee H. Oswald could be the patsy; he could not be the patsy. Such a chameleon could be anything you wanted him to be. As the former CIA director Richard Helms said cryptically, “No one will ever know who or what Lee Harvey Oswald represented.”


Buglosi, Vincent, Reclaiming History;; McClellan, Barr, Blood, Money & Power;