I was sorting through old books the other day when I came upon The Search For Lee Harvey Oswald by Robert J. Groden which was published in 1995. I read much of the book and remember being impressed that, whatever may have happened, Lee Harvey Osward was obviously running scared right after President Kennedy was shot. Supposedly he even shot and killed a policeman, Officer J.D. Tippit, when he was on the lam and was hiding in a movie theatre when he was apprehended. And then, two days later, he was killed.
But was Lee Harvey Oswald really the man who killed President Kennedy. Or was it more complicated than that? Like a conspiracy. The Kennedy conspiracy. Before all the other conspiracies, there was that. Some believe in the “lone nut” theory, that is, Oswald acted alone, but many believe there were others and maybe many others involved.
So what were Oswald’s last words? As I remember his last words were, “I didn’t do it! I’m just a patsy” I thought he said that just before he was shot. But now, after looking at a video which captures that moment in time, I see he said nothing as he was being led through the parking garage, so he must have said that earlier.
According to the Oxford dictionary, a patsy is “a person who is easily taken advantage of, especially by being cheated or blamed for something.” I learned some life lessons later about how that can sometimes happen. And if Oswald was really President Kennedy’s killer, then why, after killing Kennedy, would he have immediately gone out on the street and killed Officer Tibbet, something he also denied, before trying to hide in a movie theatre. And why did Jack Ruby, the man who killed Oswald, want Oswald dead before his trial? What was Ruby’s motive? Oswald may well have been playing both sides of an international espionage game, like a wannabe double agent, but Jack Ruby was doing the same thing in Dallas; making friends with the cops that visited his strip club, buying them drinks, and then inviting them to take advantage of his illegal prostitution ring.
A lot of people were surely as glued to the TV as I was right after Kennedy was shot. At the age of fourteen, I saw Jack Ruby stick his gun in Oswald’s stomach and shoot him as he was being transferred from the holding room, where he’d been being questioned, to the local jail.
And then, eight years later, in 1971, I saw the very same thing in New York City. Not exactly the same thing of course, but there was the same dynamics to it. The guy even looked like Oswald. Everyone knew he was guilty except for me. It was very scary. I wrote down what happened that day, and I once even read that story at a writers’ workshop. I still have suggestions from the others who were there at the workshop about how to make that story better. Next time I post, I’ll try to do it justice.