There have been several theories over the years as to how and why President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and by whom. His political enemies did it ... the Mob did it ... his political enemies and the Mob together did it ... it was a lone gunman ... the lone gunman had an accomplice. The Warren Commission finally put together an 888-page report concluding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assassinating President Kennedy. This report has been challenged over the years, but never successfully, and the conclusion of the report still stands.
When a famous, larger-than-life American President is assassinated on American soil, people presume -- and in fact, expect -- that there is a larger plan behind it. Conspiracy theories abound. A great man must have been cut down by a great scheme. No one commonplace or ordinary could have plotted such a thing. In Oliver Stone's film "JFK", Stone alleged a cover-up, and if he were to believed, half of the population of the United States was in on JFK's assassination.
A physician I once knew said that one of the first rules in diagnosing a patient is to use the maxim, "Common things being common..." In other words, sometimes the solution to a problem is the most simple and obvious. In the case of the assassination of JFK, it would seem that yet another theory was discovered, one that indeed has been covered up, simply because it was -- common. An interesting article in this month's Vanity Fair makes public that theory, and using the principle of "common things being common" it is the theory that I think is the most believable one so far.
In 1964, Jacqueline Kennedy commissioned author William Manchester to write the official account of Kennedy's assassination. After years of Manchester's investigations and his final manuscript of the book, Jacqueline Kennedy tried to stop it from being published. The book was entitled "The Death of a President", and after initially being published, the book has all but disappeared. The tapes of Manchester's interviews with Jacqueline Kennedy, and others, are kept in a sealed vault in the JFK library, not to be opened until 2067. Here is an excerpt from the magazine article:
"Like many young couples, Oswald and Marina were obsessed with the Kennedys. Priscilla Johnson McMillan, in her fascinating 1977 account of the Oslands, Marina and Lee, reports that Marina's schoolgirl crush on the chestnut-haired president -- her mooning over magazine photographs of Kennedy strolling on the beach in his khaki pants, her insisting that Oswald translate for her any articles about the Kennedys -- was becoming a sore point in their already troubled marriage. "He is very attractive," Marina Oswald told her husband. "I can't say what he is as president, but I mean, as a man." She would flip through the pages of every magazine she could lay her hands on asking "Where's Kennedy? Where's Kennedy?" "
William Manchester concluded that JFK's assassination was the result of a lone gunman, a nondescript man by the name of Lee Harvey Oswald, and he had no grand motives. As Manchester wrote:
"In the end I concluded that the Warren Commission Report was correct on the two main issues. Oswald was the killer, and he had acted alone. ... Those who desperately want to believe that president Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy have my sympathy. I share their yearning -- if you put the murdered President of the United States on one side of a scale and that wretched waif Oswald on the other side, it doesn't balance. You want to add something weightier to Oswald. It would invest the President's death with meaning, endowing him with martyrdom. He would have died for something."
Jacqueline Kennedy agreed with Manchester's assessment, and therefore tried to stop the book from being published. After all the investigations and reports, and all the conspiracy theories and movies, wouldn't it be ironic if indeed the motive for President Kennedy's assassination were not for a great cause, but for something as common and banal as simple jealousy.
Common things being common...