Hamilton Alumnus Lectures on JFK Assassination
Dr. Jack Gordon '72 returned to the Hill on November 4 to speak on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Gordon has lectured on the two Kennedy assassinations and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King for more than 25 years, and has been a consultant for PBS, NOVA and 20/20. This month marks the 40th anniversary of the death of JFK, and Gordon said that many documentaries and specials will revisit the event. Gordon pointed out, however, that these major news sources will continue to endorse the Warren Commission's lone assassin theory, as they have since the report was issued 39 years ago, despite significant evidence to refute the findings of the commission.
The publicly available evidence directly contradicts the Warren Commission's theory on the assassination, according to Gordon. He said that the most important part of the case against the Warren Report is the discrepancy between the statements of the doctors at Parkland Hospital in Dallas and the official autopsy reports from the Bethesda Naval Hospital. This disagreement is part of what Gordon called "trajectory chicanery," the debate over entrance versus exit wounds and the number of bullets involved.
Gordon went over photographic documentation of the assassination, including the famous Zapruder film. When viewed frame by frame, and in conjunction with photographic evidence from other angles, it can be seen that the timing and angles of the shots are not as they were reported in the Warren Commission report. Specifically, the theory of a single "magic bullet" that hit both President Kennedy and Texas Governor Connelly is refuted by the timing of events in the film.
The theory of an additional shooter on the now infamous "grassy knoll" was discussed at length. In addition to the evidence for this theory provided by the angles and timing of the shots, Gordon discussed the many eyewitnesses who believed the shots came from the railroad yard at the top of the grassy knoll. Gordon said that he believes that there was gunfire from at least two angles, and that possibly as many as six bullets were fired - all contrary to the lone gunman, three bullet explanation of the Warren Commission.
In conclusion Gordon talked about many of the suspicious occurrences during the investigation that lead him to believe in a significant cover-up of a conspiracy. He proposed a three-part conspiracy between low-level CIA agents, organized crime and anti-Castro Cubans, and showed how and why this conspiracy would be covered up at the highest levels of the CIA and FBI. Gordon defended his beliefs by saying that though JFK conspiracy theorists often get lumped in with people who believe in UFOs, there is definitely evidence that the Warren Commission's report was intentionally false. He said that because of the lack of a formal structure for an impartial investigation, and the reluctance of news sources to seriously discuss alternate theories, the only way we may know the truth now is through the death bed confessions of those involved.
At the end of his presentation, Gordon answered questions from the enthusiastic crowd, many of whom said they were now sympathetic to a conspiracy theory. The event was sponsored by the Campus Activities Board.
-Caroline O'Shea '07