Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"Sic Semper Tyrannus"

Vincent Bugliosi has labored mightily for 20 years and delivered a mouse with his: 'Reclaiming History' An in-depth look at the assassination of President Kennedy. He needlessy and heedlessly destroys many a forest with his best-selling volume of almost 1700 pages.

He shrieks throughout his pages that there was no conspiracy to assassinate J.F.K. and that a lone nut did the job on a bright autumn Dallas day in 1963. I don't question the fact that there was one gunman, one gun and one finger on the lethal trigger. Such was also the case at Ford's Theater in 1865. But only an idiot can really believe that Lee Harvey the Oswald alone planned and executed this elegant assassination and his escape so brilliantly.

And Oswald did escape. He was not captured at the book depository or anywhere near it. And though he was captured in a somewhat irrelevant circumstance, he also escaped interrogation and trial and the revelations that might well have come forth.

Despite all the facts and conjectures that the Warren Commission and thousands of books and articles that have espoused, one fact stands perfectly clear. Every political assassin in history has claimed credit for his act. Sane or crazy, they have all publicly shouted, death to the tyrant, in one form or another, at the time of the crime. They proudly proclaimed their motive.

But not Oswald. He was imprisoned with a soft smirk on his face. What did he know, or at least think he knew, at he was led, shackled to his cell? Maybe he knew the fix was in. Maybe he knew he had done his job, brilliantly at the trigger, less brilliantly at the getaway plan. But I think he expected to get his due. From whom? Jack Ruby? Whatever, he didn't expect a bullet in the gut as Jack Ruby wiped that smirk off his faced. And the grimace on his face at that moment is more a look of shock at betrayal than one of physical pain, which it was too soon to feel.

Bugliosi was a good prosecutor. The kind that would build a strong case before going to trial. But no prosecutor goes to trial not believing the defendant isn't guilty. Prosecutors have to believe that they are right, so right that they can shape and/or ignore evidence that doesn't agree with their concept of guilt. That is what Bugliosi does with this book, and the obsequious claque of praising book reviewers that render their verdict in his favor are as ignorant and mindless panel of jurors as might have found favor with Hanging Judge Roy Bean.

This lone juror would like to ask the prosecutor one question. The answer to which is the essential requirement of guilt. Mr. Bugliosi, what was Lee Harvey Oswald's motive? What was his payoff and who was going to provide it? Without addressing that question satisfactorily, you are only wasting trees.

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