In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, here's a piece from the archives, penned two years ago, about how we can all thank Jack Ruby for all the conspiracy theories.
Yes, He Did
November 22, 2011
He'd be up for parole every few years, always denied. Then he'd return to his private cell and bob back below the surface again.
Perhaps Geraldo Rivera or Barbara Walters would have interviewed him. His look would be older and gaunter as time went by. Maybe he'd be propped up by some oddballs as a sort of anti-hero, like they do with Charlie Manson et al.
Regardless, he'd have been held up as the assassin of President John F. Kennedy. He would have been the first celebrity "lone nut," as his crime happened just as TV was really beginning to take off as a medium. Maybe you'd see his likeness on t-shirts sold in mall shops such as Hot Topic.
Lee Harvey Oswald, 48 years ago today, squeezed the trigger of his Italian-German rifle and cut down JFK as the president's motorcade rode perilously slowly and past the Texas School Book Depository.
Save the conspiracy nonsense. You'll only get me started.
Oswald did it, the lone nut theory as strong as garlic, in my book.
Besides, you can thank Jack Ruby for all the conspiracy quacks.
Had Ruby---he wasn't part of a conspiracy, either---not killed Oswald during the latter's transfer from the Dallas City Jail to the County Jail, then most of the conspiracy quacks wouldn't have anything to quack about.
It was Oswald's death that opened the door to the creative genius of conspiracy "theory".
Manson, mass murder mastermind, is still alive. So is Sirhan Sirhan, the killer of Bobby Kennedy. James Earl Ray, the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr., was still kicking it some 30 years after his crime before he passed away in 1998.
None have been seriously tied to any conspiracy by the quacks.
Why? Because their existence on this planet acted as a sort of prophylactic against conspiracy talk.
It's easy to conjure up scandalous and taste-tempting tales of conspiracy when the perpetrator of the crime is six feet under.
Ruby killed Oswald but gave life to the conspiracy quacks, who, with Oswald silenced, were able to run rampant with their theories.
Think of it. Oswald, had he lived, would almost certainly have been convicted of JFK's murder. The evidence may have been partially circumstantial, but it was also substantial.
Then he would have gone to prison, perhaps still professing his innocence. But he'd have been behind bars and the trial would have happened and the conspiracy quacks would have looked even sillier than they do now.
Oswald killed Kennedy, just as he killed Dallas policeman J.D. Tippit, and Oswald's actions immediately after the president's death suggest that he committed the crimes alone and without aid.
Oswald acted instinctively, perhaps not even thinking of killing Kennedy until finding out that the president was to visit his town. Imagine Lee's heart racing once he found out that Kennedy's motorcade route placed him right beneath the building in which Oswald worked.
I believe that Oswald acted impetuously when he killed the president---maybe not even thinking he'd actually succeed. Then, Lee didn't know what the hell to do, or where the hell to go.
His actions confirm that.
After the assassination, Oswald took a bus home, grabbed a pistol and a jacket, and marched out of his boarding house in suburban Dallas.
Where was he going? What was his intent? Oswald couldn't even get out of the city. He was a frantic, panicking man, probably in disbelief that he pulled off the crime of the century.
The pistol was clearly there in case he needed it, i.e. in the case of a policeman who might try to apprehend him. Poor J.D. Tippit, who never had a chance.
If Oswald had the help that a conspiracy would have provided, then he, as the hired gunman, certainly would have been given an exit strategy, some money, and other instructions.
If I took on such a job, I'd sure as heck would want to know what was to happen to me after the fact.
Thanks to this act, the conspiracy quacks were able to run roughshod over common sense and facts
You think Oswald would consent to kill the President of the United States (wouldn't he have been paid, by the way?), then not bother to ask what the game plan was after the killing?
Flipping it, do you think his employers would hire him for the job then leave him out there to dry, potentially singing like a canary after his possible arrest?
Wouldn't they be afraid that he'd name names like he was rattling off a shopping list?
Instead, for nearly 48 hours, Oswald merely insisted he was innocent and never hinted of a conspiracy, save for his "I'm just a patsy" remark, made to reporters.
Now, either he was incredibly loyal to people in the shadows who never paid him (Oswald was barely above poverty level), or he simply didn't name names because there were no names to name.
I'm betting on the latter.
Ruby started all this nonsense. His erasure of Oswald, while good intentioned in Jack's book (he wanted to save Jackie Kennedy from the emotional stress of a trial), was the match that lit the conspiracy fuse.
Oswald would be 72 years old today. Certainly it's conceivable that he'd still be alive. Manson is over 70. Sirhan is 67. Ray lived into his mid-70s.
And by the way, Ruby did hint of conspiracy, but not until he was ravaged by cancer and wasn't in his right mind.
Ruby died in 1966.
An alive Lee Harvey Oswald, wiling away his time in a penitentiary somewhere, would have cut down a lot of this conspiracy talk just by his very existence as a living person.
Dead, he became the key figure in so many people's criminal fantasies.