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Persuasive essay on jfk

persuasive essay on jfk

In Dallas, Texas, November 21, 1963, arguably one of the world’s most tragic deaths occurred.  President John F. Kennedy was scheduled to visit many areas of Dallas because he wanted to help with the factional controversy with the Democratic Party in Texas before the election of 1964.  In the car with Kennedy was his wife, Jacqueline, Governor of Texas John Connally and his wife Nellie Connally, as well as Assistant Special Agent in Charge Roy H. Kellerman, and driver Special Agent William R. Greer (Warren, pg 20).  At approximately 12:30 p.m. central time, the President of the United States was assassinated (Warren, pg 21).

One week after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson established a committee to investigate the murder of Kennedy.  Led by Chief Justice of the United States, Earl Warren and his six members of the committee took almost a year to establish the 888 page report of the assassination.  It came to the conclusion that three shots were fired at 12:30 on November 21, 1963 by Lee Harvey Oswald from the sixth floor of the book depository building in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza.  According to the report, Oswald used a 6.5 millimeter model 91/38 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle (Warren, pg 86).  Oswald fired three shots, one of the shots missing, although it is inconclusive whether it was the first, second, or third shot that missed (Warren, pg 107).  The first shot that hit Kennedy hit him in the upper back, exited near the front of his neck, and proceeded to cause all of Governor Connally’s injuries (Warren, pg 108-109).  The other bullet that is said to have hit Kennedy hit him fatally in the head (Warren, pg 110).  Oswald then proceeded to his house by bus and taxi (Warren, pg 24).  He arrived around 1 p.m. and left his house a few minutes later (Warren, pg 24).  At around 1:16 p.m., Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit was shot and killed less than one mile from Oswald’s house (Warren, pg 25).  The Warren Commission confirmed that Oswald killed Tippet by: (1) the positive identification of the killer by two eyewitnesses and seven eyewitnesses who heard the shots and saw Oswald flee the scene with a revolver in his hand, (2) the testimony of the firearms identification of the type of murder weapon, (3) evidence that Oswald owned the murder weapon, and (4) evidence that Oswald owned the jacket that was found in the path of where the shooter was fleeing from the scene at the time of the shooting (Warren, pg 147).  Oswald then fled to the Texas Theatre.  Fifteen officers then entered the theatre at 1:45 p.m. and proceeded into the theatre with the help of Johnny Brewer, a local shoe store worker who had seen Oswald enter the theatre without paying (Warren, pg 26).  Brewer met Patrolman M. N. McDonald, who was called to the scene, and pointed out Oswald as the man who had entered without paying (Warren, pg 26).  As McDonald approached Oswald, Oswald said, “Well, it’s all over now.” and hit McDonald with his left fist in between the eyes (Warren, pg 26).  Oswald then pulled out a gun (Warren, pg 26).  Three other officers subdued Oswald and Detective Bob K. Carroll seized the gun from Oswald (Warren, pg 166).  At 1:51 p.m., a police car radioed to headquarters that they were on their way with the suspect (Warren, pg 167).  In interrogation, Oswald repeatedly denied that he had anything to do with the assassination of President Kennedy or Officer Tippit (Warren, pg 167).  He also repeatedly claimed that he was a “Patsy” (Oswald). According to the Dallas Police, the Department performed paraffin tests, which test to see if someone has recently fired a weapon, on Oswald’s hands and right cheek (Warren, pg 167).  The results were positive for the hands and negative for the cheek (Warren, pg 167).  Within 48 hours of custody and questioning, Oswald was to be transferred to the county jail (Warren, pg 184).  At 11:21 a.m., Oswald was being walked to his car when Jack Ruby emerged from the crowd and fatally shot Oswald (Warren, pg 184).  According to the Warren Report, both Oswald and Jack Ruby acted alone, and had never previously met before (Warren, pg 335).  The Warren Report concluded based on trajectory tests, the rifle, and the three empty cartridges on the sixth floor of the Depository Building among other things that:

“(1)  Oswald owned and possessed the rifle used to kill President Kennedy and wound Governor Connally, (2)  brought this rifle into the Depository Building on the morning of the assassination, (3)  was present, at the time of the assassination, at the window from which the shots were fired, (4)  killed Dallas Police Officer J. D. Tippit in an apparent attempt to escape, (5)  resisted arrest by drawing a fully loaded pistol and attempting to shoot another police officer, (6)  lied to the police after his arrest concerning important substantive matters, (7)  attempted, in April 1963, to kill Maj.  Gen.  Edwin A. Walker, and (8) possessed the capability with a rifle which would have enabled him to commit the assassination” (Warren, Page 183). 

This conclusively showed that Lee Harvey Oswald killed John F. Kennedy.

Another credible theory is that of Jim Garrison, District Attorney of Orleans Parrish, Louisiana.  He is the only person to try someone in the murder of John F. Kennedy (JFK).  In his trial against Clay Shaw, Garrison believed that right-wing activists Guy Bannister, Shaw, and David Ferrie worked with the CIA to kill the President (JFK).  Garrison claimed that the reason these men and the CIA wanted the President dead was because they were upset with Kennedy’s plan to set up a peace treaty with both Cuba and Vietnam (JFK).  It was also rumored that Kennedy wanted to dismantle the CIA for the Bay of Pigs incident in Cuba, giving a speech on April 21, 1961 saying he wanted to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the wind" (Kennedy).  Garrison’s main suspects were Shaw, Ferrie, and Bannister.  However, Bannister died of a heart attack on June 6, 1964, within the closing weeks of the Warren investigation (JFK).  Ferrie was also dead, he died mysteriously in his apartment on February 22, 1967, less than a week after news of Garrison’s investigation was released by the New Orleans States-Item (JFK).  Garrison believed that Ferrie was murdered.  He left two suicide notes in his apartment, which appeared to be ransacked, and according to the coroner, died of natural causes (JFK).  Garrison found it unusual that Ferrie died of natural causes after writing two suicide notes, and claimed that Ferrie was extremely worried about his life after the news broke out in the newspaper.  Garrison had no choice in only being able to try Shaw with the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  During the trial of Shaw, Garrison was able to make a strong point in his “magic bullet theory”; Garrison took note of how the Warren Report claimed that one of the three bullets fired missed (JFK).  The last bullet fired clearly hit Kennedy directly in the head, as seen on the famous Zapruder film, which Garrison showed for the first time to the public (JFK).  This meant that one bullet caused the injuries to Kennedy (that did not include the fatal shot to the head) and Governor Connally.  Garrison stated that in order for this one bullet to cause all of these injuries, it would have first had to have entered Kennedy’s back downward at an angle of 17 degrees.  The bullet then went upwards out of Kennedy’s front neck to cause the other wounds found on his body.  It than hovered in the air for 1.6 seconds (The time it took from the point that Kennedy first showed signs of being shot up to the time where Governor Connally first showed signs of being shot).  While the bullet is in midair, the bullet turns right, then left, then right and left again before it enters Connally’s right armpit.  Once the bullet has entered Connally, it then goes downward at a 27 degree angle and shatters Connally’s fifth rib.  The bullet then proceeds to exit the right side of his chest.  After the bullet exits Connally’s body, it takes a right turn and re-enters Connally’s body through his right wrist, shattering the radius bone.  The bullet then exits Connally’s wrist and makes a U-turn under his wrist and lodges itself into Connally’s left thigh (JFK).  Garrison made a fair argument when saying that this is highly unlikely for a bullet to travel like that.  He also brought to the stand Perry Russo.  Russo claimed that he attended an assassination party at Ferrie’s apartment, and said that Ferrie, Bannister, and a man who said his name was “Clay Bertrand” (JFK).  He was able to point out that “Clay Bertrand” as Clay Shaw on the stand.  Russo said that they discussed the assassination and talked of a “triangulation of crossfire” as well as alibis for the men (JFK).  Garrison also showed the Zupruder film, which had never been shown to the public (JFK).  Garrison, however, was not able to use one of his key pieces of evidence.  Garrison was not able to use a fingerprint card with Shaw’s signature on it where he admitted that he used the alias “Clay Bertrand” (JFK).  Judge Edward Haggerty stated that that could not be used in the trial because Shaw’s lawyer was not present during the finger printing and questioning (JFK).  Haggerty also said that the officer administrating the finger print and question did not read Shaw his Miranda rights, and that Shaw was not aware that he could remain silent (JFK).  In less than one hour, the jury stated that Shaw was not guilty of killing the president (JFK). 

Another possible theory of who killed Kennedy would be the Mafia and the CIA.  The Mafia had a connection with the Kennedy’s because John’s father Joseph Kennedy was rumored to be involved with the Mob.  However, during Kennedy’s presidency, the Administration was persistently trying to end organized crime.  Robert Kennedy was prosecuting the Mafia twelve times as much as Dwight Eisenhower’s Administration was (“Robert F. Kennedy - A Life's Work”).  It is rumored that the Kennedy Administration may have been receiving money during their campaign in exchange for White House positions.  However, the Kennedy’s were cracking down on the Mob, which would have easily upset the Mafia. It is even said that during the election, the Mob of Chicago was said to have fixed the election in Chicago so that Kennedy could win Illinois electoral votes (Hodgson).  They felt betrayed with all of the Kennedy prosecutions, and had a reason to be mad with the Kennedy’s.  The Mob was also said to have been working with the CIA to help assassinate Fidel Castro (A.P.).  This would have allowed the Mob to assassinate President Kennedy and the Mafia would have had someone to cover it up for them; the CIA.  The CIA had reason to eliminate Kennedy as well.  Kennedy blamed the CIA for the failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion, and planned on having the CIA dismantled (Kennedy).  The Mafia had six people (Jimmy Hoffa, Carlos Marcello, Sam Giancana, Johnny Roselli, Charles Nicoletti, and Santo Trafficante Jr.) that the House Select of Assassination say could have killed Kennedy (Krajicek).  It is said that Teamster Leader Jimmy Hoffa had closely worked with the CIA to kill Castro (A.P.).  If he was the leader of the group that killed Kennedy, he would have no problem in getting the CIA to cover for him.  Further information that the Mob could have been involved was that it was said that Jack Ruby was an associate of Mobster Sam Giancana (Bonnano).  As recently as 2006, the FBI released information that Carlos Marcello confessed to the assassination (Waldron). 

The most interesting portion of this theory is the story of former CIA/Mafia hitman James Files.  Files is currently serving a thirty year jail sentence for attempted murder of an officer.  In a 2003 interview, Files told his story of the Kennedy assassination.  In the spring of 1963, Files was approached by Nicoletti, who told him that they were going on a drive (Files).  On this drive, Nicoletti told Files of a plan to assassinate President Kennedy (Files).  According to Files, the plan had come from the CIA and Giancana, and Nicoletti was chosen to carry out the plan (Files).  In the months leading up to the assassination, many different locations were considered, and it was decided that Dallas was the best place (Files).  Files was at first not supposed to be a shooter, he was to serve as an aid to Nicoletti with weapons and to help survey the area (Files).  Files went to Dallas a week before the assassination.  A day after his arrival at the Lamplighter Hotel in Dallas, Lee Harvey Oswald arrived at the hotel (Files).  Oswald and Files shared the same “controller,” David Atlee Phillips, who was a CIA officer (Files).  Files claims that over the next five days, he and Oswald spent the time together, also claiming that Oswald took a photo of Files, which he was able to provide (Files).  Files said that they test fired the weapons and checked the scopes at an abandoned field (Files).  According to Files, he fired the guns and Oswald picked up the shells (Files).  Nicoletti arrived in Dallas two days before the assassination and informed Files that the CIA wanted to abort the assassination, but that they were going to carry it through anyway (Files).  Nicoletti then asked Files to be one of the backup shooters, and he agreed (JFK Murder Solved - The Confession of James Files Nicoletti gave him three rules.

1.  He wasn’t supposed to fire unless it was absolutely necessary.

2.  He was not to shoot Jacqueline Kennedy.

3.  The other shooters were aiming for Kennedy’s head, and he was to shoot him in the head if they were not able to (Files).

Files claims he chose the grassy knolls as his shooting location, wore a reversible jacket to look like a railway worker, and stored his weapon in a suitcase (Files).  He claims that when Kennedy had come right in front of him and he heard the shots, he saw that no one had hit Kennedy in the head (Files).  Files aimed for his right eye and fired, firing the fatal shot (Files).  He said that he then packed the gun, bit the shell casing, and left the casing sitting on the fence, and walked away (Files).  He then walked to an arranged meeting place, which Files claims was a car garage, drove a car with Nicoletti and Roselli, dropped them off at a gas station, and drove himself to Chicago (Files).  He further claimed that Oswald did not fire at the President or officer Tippit (However, he never said who killed Tippit), Nicoletti was the other shooter and was firing from the Dal-Tex building, Jack Ruby was at Dealey Plaza the day of the shooting, and claimed that Kennedy was hit in the head twice because his shot and Nicoletti’s head shot were in a split second of each other (Files).  Whether or not his story is valid is still a mystery.  There are still several questions that need to be answered.  How was Oswald involved with the CIA and the Mafia?  Why was he framed?  Plus, Files made it sound like he was the only one that was at the grassy knoll.  According to Lee Bowers, who was in the train control tower, two men were behind the fence at the time of the shooting (JFK).  If one of them even was Files, then who was the other guy?  Files had no reason to lie about this story, he was already in jail.

I believe that the Warren Report is incorrect in saying that Oswald acted alone in the shooting. I believe that Garrison was able to rule out the Warren Report in his allegation. I find it very unlikely that Oswald would have been able to get off three shots in what the Warren report states was 7.1-7.9 seconds (Warren, pg 112).  Even if he was able to reload the rifle that fast, it would take longer than that for him to take aim again.  I also believe that Garrison’s “magic bullet theory” also can disprove the Warren Reports conclusion. Based on allegations of men such as James Files and Perry Russo, I believe that it was the Mafia, the CIA, and the anti-Castro right wing activists Garrison mentioned (Clay Shaw, Guy Bannister, and David Ferrie) were involved in the assassination.  I believe that the Mob, with the help of Shaw, Bannister, and Ferrie were able to frame Oswald with the murder of the President.  When Oswald was caught and kept denying it and calling himself a “Patsy”, the Mafia got worried and had Jack Ruby murder him.  Ruby was the perfect man to kill Oswald, he had pulmonary embolism, and died on January 3, 1967, so he already knew he wouldn’t spend the rest of his life in jail, he would die (Jack Ruby:  Biography). I also believed that is why Ferrie was killed.  He knew what the Mafia was capable of doing, and he knew if he said anything he would be eliminated, and I believe he was murdered by the Mafia.   In conclusion, I strongly believe that James Files and Charles Nicoletti were asked by the CIA to assassinate the President.  I believe that Shaw, Bannister, and Ferrie’s job was to provide the weapons and find someone to frame, and they chose Lee Harvey Oswald, who was the perfect man to frame.  He was involved with the Soviet Union and Cuba, the United States main enemies of the time (JFK).  Oswald had also tried to murder Major General Edwin A. Walker, so it was easy to believe that he was capable of murdering the President (Warren, pg 380).  Files was standing behind the fence of the grassy knoll, and Nicoletti was in the Dal-Tex building.  When Nicoletti was not able to get off the shot, Files took the fatal head shot.  They escaped and were successfully able to frame Oswald.  Oswald was caught and repeatedly claimed he was framed, and the Mafia had Jack Ruby kill Oswald.  The CIA was able to cover up the true story of who killed Kennedy.  The CIA would be forced to cover it up, because even though the mafia carried out the assassination, the CIA formed the original plan.  If they were to further investigate and prosecute the mafia members that committed the murder, than the origin of the attack would easily be traced back to the CIA.  Garrison was able to link Bannister, Shaw, and Ferrie to the assassination.  Bannister was already dead.  When word got out through the press of Garrison’s allegation, Ferrie became worried.  Ferrie was killed by the Mafia to silence him.  When Garrison’s trial against Shaw failed, the Mafia, the CIA, and the anti-Castro right wing activists (Shaw, Ferrie, and Bannister) successfully assassinated President John F. Kennedy.

Works Cited

A.P. "CNN - CIA Offered Mafia 0,000 to Kill Castro - July 1, 1997." University of Delaware. 1997. Web. 21 Nov. 2010. <http://www.udel.edu/leipzig/texts2/cnn03077.htm>.

Bonanno, Bill. Bound by Honor: a Mafioso's Story. New York: St. Martin's, 1999. Print.

Files, James.  "JFK MURDER SOLVED - THE CONFESSION OF JAMES FILES." Welcome to JFK Murder Solved. 2003. Web. 21 Nov. 2010. <http://www.jfkmurdersolved.com/confession2.htm>.

Hodgson, Godfrey. "Sam Giancana." Spartacus Educational - Home Page. Web. 21 Nov. 2010. <http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKgiancana.htm>.

"Jack Ruby : Biography." Spartacus Educational. Web. 21 Nov. 2010. <http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKruby.htm>.

JFK. Dir. Oliver Stone. Perf. Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, and Jack Lemmon. Warner Bros., 1991. DVD.

Kennedy, John F. "John F. Kennedy Press Conference - April 21, 1961 (Part 3)." Interview. YouTube. 21 Apr. 2010. Web. 21 Nov. 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkUcZ1j74kk>.

Krajicek, David. "The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy — Lee Harvey Oswald — Crime Library on TruTV.com." TruTV. Web. 21 Nov. 2010. <http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/terrorists_spies/assassins/jfk/7.html>.

Oswald, Lee H. "Lee Oswald Claiming Innocence." Interview. YouTube. YouTube, 6 May 2006. Web. 21 Nov. 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZYAIiErTNg&feature=related>.

"Robert F. Kennedy - A Life's Work." The Kennedy Way . 2002. Web. 21 Nov. 2010. .

Waldron, Lamar, and Thom Hartmann. "A Legacy of Secrecy: the Assassination of JFK - RN Book Show - 9 December 2008." ABC. Web. 21 Nov. 2010. <http://www.abc.net.au/rn/bookshow/stories/2008/2438955.htm>.

Warren, Earl. Report Of The Warren Commission: The Assassination Of President Kennedy. Rep. New York: McGraw-Hill Book, 1964. National Archives and Records Administration. Web. 21 Nov. 2010. <http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/warren-commission-report/>.

Past Winning Essays - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.


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