After the verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial came in, Americans heard a new phrase. The term "jury nullification" explained how a jury comprised mostly of African-Americans could let a black man go free, even though there was overwhelming evidence pointing to his guilt. Imagine if there was a videotape of Simpson brutally slaying his wife Nicole and Ron Goldman. Many believe, even with such evidence, the jury still would have found the former football star innocent of the murders.
The same can be said about the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Even though there was a film of Kennedy taking the killing shot, the American public was told not to believe their eyes. It was similar to a mid-1960's movie starring Walter Matthau and Robert Morse, titled "A Guide for the Married Man". Morse played a character who was adroit at cheating on his wife and he was teaching Matthau how to have an extramarital affair without getting caught. One of the major lessons Matthau had to learn was; if ever found in a compromising position, do one simple thing...deny, deny, deny.
That has been the modus operandi for those who have defended the findings of the Warren Commission for over 45 years and they use a simple mantra to back up their logic. They say, if there were a conspiracy, no one could have kept quiet for this long. Could you call this "conspiracy nullification" or did they ascribe to the time-tested method of deny, deny, deny? There have been many people who claimed Kennedy was a victim of a coup d'état on November 22, 1963. The problem is no one has been willing to listen--besides over 70% of the American public.
But, for a moment, let's concentrate on the title of this series, "Could Conspiracies, Including the Kennedy Assassination and Others, Survive in Time of Internet?" Therefore, pretend we have a time machine that allows us to go back to November 22, 1963. The Internet has existed in some form since the 1980's. Today many cell phones have the ability to take not only pictures, but have camcorders which allows users to record events as they unfold. What would have happened, if this technology existed on that fateful day?
To begin, thousands of those in Dealey Plaza would have been recording what, to them, was a special moment in history, although they did not know just how special that moment was. Then, shots suddenly ring out. Mayhem rules the scene, as hundreds or even thousands pull out their cell phones and begin to record the events unfolding before them.
There are not only detailed pictures and videos of the presidential motorcade, but there are thousands of images possessed by witnesses which depict the scene from all different vantage points. There are those who take pictures that can be digitally-enhanced of the Texas School Book Depository from top to bottom. There are those whose cameras are focused on the presidential motorcade as Kennedy is first struck in the neck and then takes the fatal head shot. There are photos of the hill and the fence which would be a perfect point of concealment for possible conspirators.
In this media-obsessed society, citizens run home and put their images on the Internet for the world to see. Indeed, even if the FBI attempted to confiscate cameras, as they did on November 22, 1963, many have already transmitted their photos and videos to their home computers and those of friends to guarantee their safety. In this world, possible conspirators may have been spotted behind the wooden fence which borders Dealey Plaza from the railroad yard which lies just beyond. Another hundred witnesses may have caught a killer firing from a curbside drainage grade, where many believe the fatal shot, which virtually blew the 35th President's head apart, came from. It would have been a situation conspirators could not have controlled. However, the conspirators would have known this and, if our imaginary trip back through time were reality, Kennedy would not have been targeted in Dealey Plaza on that day.
But let's say the conspirators went through with their plot any way. Before long, those who believed things weren't kosher would have been setting up blogs and web sites, questioning what happened to the President. The chatter would have been at a din. Journalists, like Bob Schieffer and Dan Rather would have been forced to address the possibility of a conspiracy, rather than dismissing it at hand. Perhaps Oswald would have been seen in a completely different light. Some may have found Oswald was indeed working covertly for the FBI or CIA in an attempt to uncover the plot against the President, as many suggest.
It is possible Oswald's relationship with individuals like the mysterious character David Ferrie would have become public knowledge. Questions would have been asked about how an individual, who supposedly defected to Russia, could be moving freely around Dallas and, in fact, working in a building which just happened to lie along the route of Kennedy's motorcade. Information may have surfaced regarding the fact Oswald spoke nearly-fluent Russian to the point where Marina, his wife, upon first meeting him did not recognize he was an American.
Gun enthusiasts would have gotten into the act as well. They quickly would have researched what was allegedly the killing weapon--an antiquated Mannlicher-Carcano rifle made in Italy--which Oswald allegedly obtained through a mail order catalogue. Would gun enthusiasts have pointed out the bolt-action relic would have been probably the worst possible weapon to use for the job? Remember, there were many veterans of World War II around who were well-educated in the use of firearms and their capabilities.
And then there's the e-mail chatter...millions of communications from forensics scientists, former members of the Secret Service, members of the Dallas Police force, brain surgeons, ballistic experts, crime scene analysts and those dreaded simulations. Besides questions from average Americans, the press would have been forced to entertain the question of conspiracy.
The new President of the United States would have been faced with some very different scenarios as well, in his attempt to blame the killing on Oswald. Lyndon Baines Johnson's appeal to the media to downplay the possibility of a conspiracy for the sake of world peace would have fallen on deaf ears of media executives, like Bill Paley of CBS.
The same scenario would have been played out over and over, during the weekend's events and afterwards. Would the Warren Commission have been willing to essentially ignore vital evidence regarding Kennedy's assassination? Would the fact key witnesses in the conspiracy were being killed by the dozens been kept a secret from the American people? Would then-Warren commission counsel Arlen Specter have had the nerve to come up with the single-bullet theory--which without proves a conspiracy took the life of John Fitzgerald Kennedy?
We have only touched on the assassination itself. After Jack Ruby silenced Oswald, e-mails would have deluged the Internet with reports from those who knew Mr. Ruby when he was a small-time outfit wanna be in Chicago.
Unfortunately, at the time, innovators in the military and gifted scientists were just dreaming of the impact micro-circuitry would have on the world. There were no cell phones in Dealey Plaza the day the world was changed. We were left with grainy films of perhaps one of the most important moments in American history. But we can dream, can't we? And with those dreams, can come a different perspective on how the killing of a president was achieved before the eyes of the American people.
CAPTIONS FOR PHOTOS:
Left: John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States
Middle: Second from left, the mysterious David Ferrie, possible co-conspirator in Kennedy assassination
Right: Jack Ruby silences alleged Kennedy assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.
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