Friday, November 22, 2019

Not Fade Away

The author at the scene of the Tippit shooting in 1985 (left) and 2019 (right). [Photo: DKM © 2019]


It’s been more than thirty-four years since my first trip to Dallas and during a recent visit in September I noted not only how much had changed, but how much was literally gone.

At Elm and Houston, the scene of the president’s assassination, the Dallas County Records Building and the Criminal Court Building are in the middle of a massive face-lift. Dealey Plaza itself, designated in 1993 as a National Historical Landmark, has been altered over time to accommodate visitors – some of those alterations have effectively changed the landscape. Rented scooters littered the sidewalks on my recent visit, marring the beauty of the plaza.

I couldn’t help but notice that Tenth and Patton, the scene of the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit in Oak Cliff, has taken the largest toll. On my first visit in 1985, the neighborhood, for the most part, looked as it did in 1963. On subsequent visits to the area over the next thirty-four years, I witnessed the neighborhood slowly vanishing, one building at a time. Today, it is unrecognizable – except for two dwellings, which are original to the time.

The vanishing landscape

Now, Tenth Street ends abruptly just west of Patton; no longer connecting with Crawford. Tennis courts have been erected on the northeast corner of the intersection, where three houses once stood. W.H. Adamson High School has largely taken over two-square blocks of property, demolishing the entire neighborhood northwest of the shooting scene. The homes where numerous eyewitnesses lived – Helen Markham, Barbara and Virginia Davis, Ann McRavin, Frank Cimino, and C. Frank Wright are all gone.

Along Oswald’s escape route, only ‘The Gentlemen’s Club’, Marr Brothers, Dudley Hughes Funeral Home and the former Ballew Texaco Service Station (now Santos Mufflers and Radiators) buildings remain. The rest – Dootch Motors, Johnnie Reynolds Used Cars, two antique furniture stores (leveled in 1964), Dean’s Dairy Way, and the Abundant Life Temple are all gone.

Many of Oak Cliff’s old haunts – including Austin’s Bar-B-Cue at Hampton and Illinois – have long ago disappeared. The barbecue where Officer Tippit moonlighted on Friday and Saturday nights was eradicated in 2007 to make way for a CVS Pharmacy.

No one expects everything to last forever, but it’s disheartening to see places you’ve known or have significance in your life to vanish in your time. I suppose it’s depressing because those vanishings are a reminder that one day, we too, will pass.

The perpetual drumbeat

While the landscape has changed, one thing that remains constant in this ever-changing world is the drumbeat of conspiracy in the Kennedy assassination.

When I got hooked on studying the assassination back in 1975, the events of Dallas were still classified a ‘current event’. Research was done in libraries, correspondence transmitted by letter via the U.S. Postal Service, and interviews were conducted in person or by telephone with the actual participants of November 22, 1963. Research papers were held ‘close-to-the-vest’ until every stone had been overturned and when the work was finally revealed, the arguments made were supported with citations so that others could verify and hopefully accept the work.

The Internet and social media have changed all that. Today, researching the Kennedy assassination is not about facts at all. It’s about who can globally broadcast the latest tidbit first. Whether it’s a new cockamamie theory or a fourth-hand story about a “new witness”, the focus is inevitably on the so-called ‘researcher’ and who can make a name for themselves. In short, it’s all about ego.

Newsflash! There’s not much left in a fifty-six-year-old murder case that has arguably gotten more attention (including two official government investigations) than any other single moment in history!

I truly wonder what these Johnny-come-lately ‘researchers’ are expecting to find?

Forum trolls

One visit to any Kennedy assassination forum (take your pick) where discussions about the case continue ad nauseam tells you all you need to know about the state of affairs fifty-plus-years after the fact:

  • The same questions asked over and over again (and answered over and over again).
  • Discussions that begin innocently enough; then quickly disintegrate into name-calling.
  • A wasteland of supposition, innuendo, and myth that is accepted as fact
  • A demonstrative left-leaning bias that excludes any individual person or thought that dares to challenge the left-leaning status quo
And perhaps the most important observation:
  • Not one single, verifiable new fact about the assassination has ever been revealed on one of these forums. Not one!
That fact, and that fact alone, has kept me from participating in most of those forums. Simply put, there’s nothing new to learn; and as such, for serious researchers (perhaps more old-school than new), those forums are a colossal waste of time.

Now, of course, there are a few exceptions – forums where logic and reason tend to rule and where an honest effort is made to disseminate true facts – but these forums are far and few between.

Eventually, everyone interested in the case discovers where the “action” is and, through no fault of the moderators, the forum becomes infiltrated by the stupid who ruin a good thing. Soon, someone decides to start a “new” forum, where reason and logic will once again reign, and the cycle begins again.

There are some thoughtful individuals with good intentions who frequent these forums with the hope of offering facts instead of craziness. Unfortunately, they are soon overwhelmed by the foolish who see it as their duty to prove just how “smart” they are by driving these unwanted heralds of reason and logic from the forum. They usually succeed.

I used to tangle with people on these forums. No more. It took me some time to realize that they didn’t really want to hear that their thesis was all wet and didn’t hold up under scrutiny. (I get it, who does?) I eventually came to the conclusion that everyone has to make their own journey – from madness to reality – or not.

The young and naïve

You can forgive the young and naïve who are just starting out on their journeys. Like many of us years ago, they have succumbed to the lure and fascination of the coolest hobby anyone could ever have. They find themselves asking the same questions we did:
  • Was Oswald a victim?
  • Was he caught up in an intelligence operation not of his own making?
  • What if it happened to me?
  • What if I were framed for a crime I didn’t commit?
  • Wouldn’t I fight with every fiber of my being to fight the injustice?
  • And with Oswald dead, shouldn’t I fight on his behalf?
  • Isn’t that what I would want?
The old-timers

But what about the old-timers who have been on the journey for a good part of their lifetime? I often wonder:
  • Haven’t they figured out that the evidence shows that Oswald isn’t the victim, he’s the perpetrator?
  • Haven’t they figured out that a committed leftist assassinated our president in order to elevate his own ego and that his act contained little regard for the effect it would have on the future of the United States of America?
  • Haven’t they figured out that Oswald got what he wanted – fame and notoriety?
  • Why haven’t they finished the journey?
  • Why haven’t they been able to reason their way out of their own arguments?
Many people begin their study of the assassination suspecting a conspiracy. I certainly did. That’s no secret. Gradually, however, I uncovered flaws in my own thinking through laborious research and study, and eventually changed my mind, largely through my own diligence.

Many others who ventured down the same path I did, did not. In my view, they remain stuck in a quagmire of their own making; a place which truth and logic are unable to penetrate. I can only hope that one day they will find a way out.

The new vampires

In addition to the young & naïve and the old-timers, there is a new generation of ‘researcher’ – the bloodsucking vampire – who has discovered the assassination case and has found it to be perfect vehicle to feed their own insatiable ego. These vampires grew-up with a world view that hinges on social media like and dislikes, friends and unfriending, and a belief that all things are free to them.

They don’t give one good goddamn about the sweat equity of others; the years of dedication required to establish personal relationships with witnesses, police officers and the family of the deceased; or the monetary costs involved in performing decades of research. They have landed in the world and, as they see it, everything is theirs for the taking.

For them, so-called “researching” it is all about stealing the lifework of others to fast-track their own social media personas and to feather their own infantile egos.

They join a long conga-line of other self-absorbed individuals who have come and gone without nary a whisper about their own accomplishments for the simple reason that they have none.

What can one say about such bloodsuckers who regurgitate lies about the JFK assassination or the Tippit murder – hurtful lies that they know for a fact cause pain and heartache to surviving members of the slain policeman’s family – and pass those lies off as truth, as if those lies hadn’t been debunked long ago? That’s not what I call a search for truth; that’s called the spreading of disinformation. And it’s hurtful, to real people. And when their lies and disinformation are pointed out, they claim, “I didn’t know!”

I didn’t know 

I didn’t know? Every time I hear that phrase, I think of Mr. Hand (played by actor Ray Walston) in the 1982 comedy “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”.

In the film, Mr. Hand confronts classroom stoner Jeff Spicoli (played by Sean Penn) about his perpetual tardiness and asks, “Why are you always late?”

Spicoli replies with a doofus smile, “I don’t know.”

Astounded, Mr. Hand writes “I don’t know” on the blackboard. Mr. Hand giggles at the phrase and its implications, and says, “I’m going to leave your words on this board for all my classes to enjoy, giving you full credit of course, Mr. Spicoli.”

Spicoli stupidly responds, “Well, alright!” as if it’s a compliment.

Mr. Hand can only shake his head in wonderment and disgust.

“I didn’t know.” Really? How could anyone doing real research on the assassination not know? Thirty-years ago, that excuse might’ve worked, but today, literally every bit of information is at one’s fingertips. It’s called a cell phone and it connects to the Internet – I-N-T-E-R-N-E-T. (In fact, I used this ingenious invention to look up the scene I recalled from Fast Times to get the quote right. See how it works?)

No folks, the reality is not that they don’t know, it’s that they don’t want to know. You see, the truth ruins the big ego party and everyone is going to go home. Boo-hoo.

These self-absorbed vampires deserve what they’ll eventually reap. It’s called Karma.

Ripped off

It’s no secret that people in the so-called research community monitor what I write and what I’ve done. I don’t monitor them; they monitor me. People send me information on occasion. Sometimes it proves useful; most of the time it doesn’t.

I don’t steal from others. When I wrote my book, “With Malice: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Murder of Officer J.D. Tippit,” or when I write my blog articles, I give credit where credit is due with a full, professional citation (not some half-assed crap designed to hide where I got it).

I’m proud of what I’ve written, proud of my research and proud of the work I’ve done over the years on this case. I don’t accept or trust anyone else’s work on this case without fully scrutinizing and vetting it first. And I don’t talk about anything I haven’t fully vetted. I don’t have a reason to steal information from anybody about the Tippit shooting or the Kennedy assassination. They need to steal it from me. And they do.

I’ve been ripped off some many times it’s pathetic. References to my work, without citation or acknowledgment, have appeared on the Internet and in published books. In many cases, my citations (I know it’s my citation because they used my format) are used to get around citing my book or my work or mentioning my name. It’s an old trick. Photographs that appeared in my copyrighted book and on my copyrighted website (and nowhere else) have appeared on other Internet websites and in published books without permission and in violation of Intellectual Property laws. The theft is so transparent, it’s sickening.

I could bitch and complain more, but what’s the point? Those naïve few who continue to hide behind ‘Fair Use’ laws, or think they can violate Intellectual Property laws without consequence, are certain to get a big bite taken out of their arse.

Not fade away

While there are a few bloodsucking nincompoops that populate the so-called ‘research community’, I am grateful and blessed to have the many intelligent followers that give due consideration to what I have written about a case that I have spent the better part of a lifetime working on. It was my great pleasure to meet several more of them during my recent Dallas trip.

They are the champions of truth, and as such, will ensure it not fade away.