Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Jack Ruby: Mob Hitman?

by DALE K. MYERS

Salvatore (Bill) Bonanno, whose appointment by his father, Joseph Bonanno, to the second most powerful position in the Bonanno crime family in the mid-1960s touched off what became known as the “Banana Wars” and led to the exile of the Bonannos to Arizona, died last Tuesday, January 3, at his home in Tucson at the age of 75.

Besides being a “made” member of his father’s crime family, Mr. Bonanno was also a writer and occasional television producer, and gave extensive interviews to the author Gay Talese as the subject of Honor Thy Father, Mr. Talese’s 1971 account of the Bonanno family.

Bill was also very talkative along the way about the JFK assassination. Bill claimed that Kennedy was done in by the Chicago, New Orleans and Miami families without the knowledge of the others, and that the big clue was Jack Ruby, a Giancana Chicago hanger-on who was conveniently dying of cancer.

Too bad no one told Ruby he was part of the big plot. As everyone who is familiar with the facts knows, Jack Ruby was still at his Oak Cliff apartment on the morning of Oswald's murder at the time Dallas police chief Jesse Curry told the press the night before that Oswald would be transferred. Either Ruby was pretty cavalier about his pre-ordained appointment with destiny (as sketched out by Bonanno) or he wasn't involved in the so-called mob "plot" at all. Given the facts surrounding Ruby's eventual encounter with Oswald, it would seem Bonanno got it all wrong.

As we know, Ruby left his apartment with his beloved dogs later that morning (around 11:00 am - nearly an hour after Oswald might have been transferred) for a ride to the downtown Western Union office so he could send a $25 money-gram to one of his strippers. After waiting in line, Ruby finally got the money telegraphed at 11:17 a.m. Leaving the Western Union office, Ruby walked one block to the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters where he shot Oswald in a spur of the moment at 11:21 a.m.

It's pretty obvious from the timing of the events that Ruby couldn't possibly have planned to shoot Oswald and consequently couldn't possibly have been involved in a mob plot to rub out Oswald, no matter what Bonanno or anyone else claims.

I remember a college-aged student one time asking me after a lecture on the subject some twenty years ago whether or not I had considered that Ruby might have been tipped to the exact time of Oswald's transfer by inside police sources. I explained that Ruby was not in a position at the crucial time to receive a phone call.

"Couldn't they just have paged him?" the student asked.

I laughed then, though today I suppose the student's question might involve a cel phone, a GPS device, or some other modern technological marvel.

Times sure have changed, but one thing that will never go out of fashion is the willingness of a great many people to believe the impossible - especially when it comes to the Kennedy murder.

2 comments:

johnt55 said...

I agree that Ruby was small potatoes to organized crime, but Oswald was less than three blocks from Ruby's apartment, and heading in that direction, when he gunned down Tippit.

Even then, Dallas was a large city with 700,000 residents sprawled over a large area and this fact seems more than a coincidence.

Dale K. Myers said...

This is an old argument that carries no weight given the circumstances.

Oswald's direction of travel at the time of the encounter with Tippit could have taken him to thousands of destinations, none of which would be Ruby's apartment, which was 1.3 miles away (i.e., six blocks - not three) and southeast of Oswald's direction of travel).

More importantly, there is no evidence (even after 45 years) that Oswald knew Ruby, which eliminates Ruby's apartment as a possible destination.

Bottom line, no one knows where Oswald was headed when he encountered Tippit - but one thing seems certain; it wasn't Ruby's apartment.