Stop It Already With Your Ridiculous JFK Conspiracy Theory

OswaldIn order to hold on to their beliefs, conspiracy theorists have devised a number of crazy ideas over the past 50 years to explain the assassination of President Kennedy.  Most of them have no basis in any kind of objective reality.  But the one that troubles me most, simply because it is founded on the denial of obvious facts, is that Lee Harvey Oswald could not have committed the crime because Oswald himself was incapable of making the shots that killed Kennedy.

Fact:  In December of 1956, Oswald achieved the rank of “sharpshooter,” the second-highest designation of marksmanship in the U.S. Marines.  Nearly 3 years later, in May of 1959, his marksmanship score lessened, however, he was still officially labeled as a “marksman.”

Oswald may not have been the world’s best shot, but according to Sgt. James Zahm, who was in charge of the marksmanship training unit, “In the Marine Corps, he is a good shot, slightly above average.”  But when compared to the average male in the United States, “he is an excellent shot.”  Shooting Kennedy on November 22nd 1963, Zahm said, “was an easy shot for a man with the equipment he had and his ability.”  (Posner 2003:20-21)
Of course, facts don’t often sway one who has their mind made up.  During a friendly discussion I had with a conspiracy theorist recently, in which I put forth these exact arguments, I was told that “even a marksman would have had difficulty hitting a moving target,” a reference to the moving JFK limo.  His response was begging to be slapped down.

It is indisputable that President Kennedy was shot.  No conspiracy theorist I know of denies that.  He was shot twice, in fact.  So clearly it must not have been that difficult to pull off.  Maybe for someone like myself who has never fired a rifle in his life, but certainly not for someone with the ability of Lee Harvey Oswald.

But don’t take my word for it.  The facts are easy to find.


15 thoughts on “Stop It Already With Your Ridiculous JFK Conspiracy Theory

  1. It is obvious you haven’t fired a rifle. The president was shot at three times. Oswald’s first shot at 30 yards, the easiest missed by a mile. That suggests the rifle was no good. No one could shift position to shoot down Elm Street and hit a moving target at a greater distance with such a weapon.

    • And yet, Oswald did exactly that.

      Basic psychology would suggest the first shot was missed because his emotions were at their peak. People often “choke” in a big moment, but are then able to regroup and perform better. Nothing mysterious about the first missed shot at all.

      Pretty sure I’m going to be more comfortable taking Sgt Zahm’s word over yours when it comes to Oswald’s skillset and weapon, being he was the head of the Marines Corps marksmanship training unit, and you are…most likely not.

      But then, like I wrote in the post, I dont expect things like facts to make you change your mind.

      See ya!

      • Shooting at a target or a human being is not that way. A guy who barely qualified as a marksman two and a half years before and hasn’t shot the rifle he is using in seven months, will not hit the target on shots Two and Three after missing Shot One by a mile. Especially anyone using that rifle and sight. Don’t rely on me. Look at the Warren Commission report on the rifle found at the Sixth Floor Depository window.

    • “Shooting at a target or a human being is not that way.” That’s special pleading, which is a simple fallacy of logic. Besides, the first shot missed but the the next two hit. So it DID happen just the way I said. Remember, a “barely qualified marksman” in the Marine Corps marksmanship training unit is considered “an excellent shot” among the average public. It’s not BB guns shooting tin cans in the backyard.

      “Don’t rely on me.” Why would I rely on someone who uses logically invalid arguments? Instead, I’m going to rely on the head of the marksmanship training unit who said that, for Oswald, killing Kennedy “was an easy shot for a man with the equipment he had and his ability.”

      • About a month ago I posted in four blogs on wordpress about the assassination.
        I no longer practice law, but having looked at this issue, I believe today if the case went to trial that Oswald could be found not guilty. Indeed, at trial the prosecutor may be unable to establish Oswald’s ownership of the Sixth Floor weapon.

      • Michael,

        Granted, it was a mock trial, but were you at all persuaded by Vincent Bugliosi convicting Oswald against Gerry Spence’s defense in the 80s? Another mock trial went on in June, I believe. Verdict 9-3 in favor of guilt. Again, mock trials, second wasn’t unanimous, but is it at least worthy of considering in your opinion, or no?

        I’ll check out your blogs on JFK sometime, thanks.

    • No firearm is so inaccurate, save the blunderbuss, that it would miss a limousine from 45 yards. It wasn’t the quality of the rifle that caused it to miss.

      • If a rifleman shoots and misses at 80 feet and misses, which he should be able to do with a pistol or a revolver, he checks the weapon.
        He will check the weapon because he has not fired it for seven months. Because the weapon may not be clean. The sight will be off.
        And if the weapon is fine after looking, the rifleman wonders what’s wrong with me.
        Most hunting circumstances do not end with a kill. They end with a miss. The psychology is the same. It becomes more complicated and less capable if the rifleman is mentally ill, in some fashion.
        We know Oswald beat Marie, his wife. He has violent impulses, which instantly cause him to lose control. That is why the first shot is so important.

  2. Once I saw a 12 year old girl shoot an arrow through the center of a Lifesaver candy. While I do not recall the actual flavor of the candy, I remember that the arrow shot so fast that I could not see the center of the Lifesaver being actually pierced. I therefore assumed that a 12 year old could not have performed the feat due to obvious inexperience and thus, a conglomerate of archery sports conglomerates and candy magnates must have had a hidden ninja off in the bushes to accomplish the task and fool me and my fellow onlookers.

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