Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT A CONSPIRACY THEORY. I don't want to see any comments claiming that it is. It is not. A conspiracy involves premeditated planning. There was none in this case.
We are in the month of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK. And, conspiracy theories abound, because many people believe that the official story is flawed. When any "official" story appears to have logical inconsistencies, conspiracy theories sprout up to attempt to explain the discrepancies.
There is a movie now out on the Reelz network, called, JFK: The Smoking Gun, based on the book Mortal Error, by Howard Donahue and Bonar Menninger (St. Martin’s Press, 1992), which asserts that Oswald acted alone, without help, - but - that the bullet that actually killed the President came from an AR-15 held by a Secret Service Agent, George Hickey, in the car behind him.
David Hinkley wrote in his review:
McLaren doesn’t come off as a conspiracy theorist or an agenda-crazed obsessive. He comes off as a detective building a case.
Here is McLaren making his case, on KTLA-5.
Before you dismiss this, take a look at this video.
Bill James, of baseball fame, wrote a terrific book, Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence (Scribner, 2011). One of the many crimes he looked at was the assassination. He, too, dismisses the craziness of the CT's that claim that Oswald had help:
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Obviously it is beyond the scope of this little book to sort out the facts of the Kennedy assassination. If you were to read one book a month about the Kennedy assassination, you could read them all in about twenty years—you could, at least, if the assassination buffs would stop writing them. The two books that I would recommend to you—not having read them all, obviously—are Case Closed, by Gerald Posner (Anchor Books, 1993) and Mortal Error, by Howard Donahue and Bonar Menninger (St. Martin’s Press, 1992).
Citing Posner's definitive book, which James calls "a systematic rebuttal of the specious material which forms the bulk of the other 200-plus books," James convincingly argues that Oswald acted without help. There was NO conspiracy. After summarizing Posner's main points, James writes:
I think it’s a wonderful book, and I feel that Gerald Posner has accomplished a public service in putting it together, granting that in my case he is preaching to the choir. But although I have the highest regard for Case Closed, and a genuine appreciation for Posner’s effort in writing it, that book ultimately does not win the contest to convince me. It finishes a strong second. The winner is Mortal Error, by Bonar Menninger, which is based on the work of Howard Donahue. [emphasis mine]
After meticulously going over the material that McLaren has made into this movie, James continues:
On first hearing this theory, almost no one believes that it could be right. It sounds like just another helium balloon by someone who watched too many Mission: Impossible re-runs as a child. But I have read Mortal Error carefully, and I have to tell you, if there’s a flaw in his argument, I don’t see it. Unlike the conspiracy theories, which are almost universally based on conversations which took place in Russia in 1961, in New Orleans in 1962, or in Tampa in 1972, the Donahue analysis is based primarily upon a detailed, careful study of what happened in Dealey Plaza on November 22. The key points of his argument can be sorted into three classes:
2) Circumstantial observations of the critical ten seconds.
3) Circumstantial observations after the fact.Donahue is a ballistics expert who has testified in many criminal cases in that role.
James notes that when he first read Mortal Error,
"Well, he could be right, he could be wrong, I’m not a ballistics expert, and I don’t see how anybody can really claim to know.” Later, however, after reading Posner’s book, after watching a couple of documentaries which include copies of the Zapruder film, I returned to the analysis, and my reaction was different: not merely that Donahue could be right, but that he actually was.The situation is not as complicated as the language in which it must be stated. If you can wade through the math until you get an intuitive feel for what the argument is about, you can figure things out.
You may not agree with this, but it does explain a lot. It would explain why a call to Washington to report the assassination called it an "accident." It would explain why within seconds, people at street level smelled gunpowder, when Oswald fired from 4 floors up. It would explain why Oswald is recorded as having said "I did not kill the President," and "I'm a patsy." Why? Because, if this is correct, he was looking through his telescopic sight, attempting to line up a shot, when he saw the President's head blow open.
You, the reader, are welcome to roll your eyes, and dismiss this all as yet another CT, when, in fact it is not. I will just add that the 3 most dangerous words in the English language are "I know that." When we say "I know that," we cut ourselves off from any learning.
As Wallace Baine notes:
The Hickey theory is not a conspiracy theory. It is the opposite. And, on a larger scale, it tells us something entirely different about how the world works. That sometimes, stuff just happens for no good reason, and unspeakable tragedy is a result, that there is no grand design, for good or ill. Most of the things that happen to us, good and bad, are the function of random dumb luck and cosmic accidents.