Monday, December 27, 2010
John Wilkes Booth vs Lee Harvey Oswald
(Update from previous article.)
Over the years you all have most likely read the list of amazing coincidences between Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy’s lives and deaths. Lincoln’s secretary was a Kennedy and Kennedy’s secretary was a Lincoln, and so on. However, after reading Michael Kauffman’s American Brutus I am convinced that there are more coincidences between their alleged killers, John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald than the Presidents themselves. American Brutus is an excellent book on the Lincoln assassination, focusing on the life of John Wilkes Booth and the resulting plot. I recommend it for students of the Kennedy assassination as well as it accurately plots how conspiracies operate and how to keep coconspirators quiet. While reading it I began to notice a trail of coincidences between the lives of Booth and Oswald that parallel one another to an amazing degree.
Coincidences like this are interesting to ponder but ultimately lead to nowhere. Maybe just mathematical flukes, or maybe the nature of reality is different than what we know. One can have the sense that these trivial deeds are signposts—markers—to history. The assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy were pivotal in American History. But why are the events and deeds of Booth and Oswald so similar? Could assassins have a similar psychological makeup, allowing them to have similar life experiences? Quite possibly so. Maybe it all looks significant and really is not, just a way our brains organize data and patterns we discover in the world. It remains an interesting mystery, never the less.
Arrest records. Prior to their famous deeds, both Booth and Oswald were arrested and jailed for pity crimes. In early 1863 a provost marshal in St. Louis arrested Booth for making anti-government remarks, briefly detained, paid a fine and let go. In the summer of 1963, Oswald was arrested for a scuffle on the streets of New Orleans, briefly detained, posted bail, and let go.
Undelivered speeches. In Booth’s day the main debate was over slavery. Booth wrote a speech on the issue, a rough draft with spelling errors, which he never delivered. Oswald’s issue for his time was communism vs capitalism. He also wrote a speech about this subject. It was a rough draft, with spelling errors, which he also never gave.
Both men accidentally shot themselves. As Booth was examining his stage manager’s pistol, he noticed some rust on the barrel. When he went remove it with a pocketknife, the gun accidentally discharged wounding Booth in the thigh, narrowly missing an artery. He took weeks to recover. While in the Marines, Oswald accidentally shot himself in the upper left arm with an unauthorized .22 pistol. This resulted in the first of his two court-martials he would receive. (The second being an altercation he had with the sergeant that turned him in for the accidental shooting.)
Scars on necks. Booth had a tumor removed off his neck shortly before the assassination. Oswald had a mastoid operation as a child which left a three inch scar on the left side of his neck.
Both men used aliases. Booth used John Boyd while on the run after the assassination; Oswald used Alek Hidell and had a Hidell ID in his wallet at the time of his arrest.
Both men spent their last days living alone. And estranged from the women in their lives. Booth in a hotel away from his girlfriend; Oswald in a rooming house separated from his wife and children.
Booth and Oswald were both killed by a single gun shot. Booth by a rifle shot to the neck. Oswald by a pistol shot to the abdomen.
A "junior" in the family. Booth had a brother named Junius after their father. Oswald had a brother named Robert after their father. Both of them were older brothers.
Autopsy Photographs. Booth and Oswald’s bodies were autopsied; both were photographed. Booth’s autopsy photos have never been released.
Family member named June. Booth had brother named Junius but he was called in the family by his nickname, June. Oswald’s first daughter is named June.
Miscellaneous: Both men were southerners. Both have six letters in their middle names. Both have a total of 15 letters in their three names. Their middle names are derived from relatives. Both were mortally wounded before their trials. Both men were involved in assassinations of Presidents on a Friday. Both were survived by their mothers. Both were in their 20‘s. Both had their fathers die when they were young. Both were widely traveled.
Kauffman, Michael, American Brutus; Bugliosi, Vincent, Reclaiming History; Armstrong, John, Harvey and Lee; Baker, Judyth, Me and Lee, The Warren Report