I am not a conspiracy theorist, so I’ll suggest to you, what to many is, a somewhat odd theory about John F. Kennedy’s assassination: Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone, uninfluenced, and self-motivated shot and killed president John F. Kennedy. I know that my theory is not popular, as the majority of Americans, according to polls that I read, still believe to this day that there is some sort of underlying conspiracy behind Kennedy’s death.
Obviously, I disagree with the populist position, and after visiting the museum, I am as confident as ever that the Warren Commission got it right. Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin, and there is no credible evidence that suggests otherwise.
I have read about the assassination for years, so I am familiar with most of the details that are laid out in the exhibits. So passing them by with the intention of viewing them later in my visit was, to say the least, more than tempting. Once I stepped off of the elevator, I hurried directly to the spot, the sniper’s “nest” that is.
Many people have told me many times what a “difficult” shot it was. I peered through the window and onto the street where I could see the white Xs that mark the spot where Kennedy was hit, and I could see that it wasn’t a “difficult” shot at all, and it still isn’t. Seeing Dealy Plaza in photos is one experience, seeing it in person and from Oswald’s perspective is another.
Even if you’ve never fired a rifle, you will see what I and most other visitors have learned, or at least reaffirmed, that the building’s distance from the spot where Kennedy was hit and the building’s alignment with the road unite for near ideal positioning for Oswald to achieve his objective of killing president Kennedy.
My tour was a little different than most in that I was with a group that had a private reception on the seventh floor later that evening. Our speaker, Gary Mack, who also happens to be the museum’s curator, said he has spoken to hunters who are also first-time visitors to the museum. A remark he hears from them many times after they see the location from which Oswald took his three shots is “I get it.” They are, explains Mack, referring to how easy the shot was. Keep in mind that these are people who are experienced with using a rifle and doing so successfully.
Okay, so that “difficult” shot thing is off my chest. Now it’s time to talk about the rest of the museum, and there is much to say. Mostly what I have to say is that it is well worth your time. Anyone who has even a passing interest in one of the most important events in American history will appreciate this museum.
Other than a few temporary exhibits on the seventh floor, the museum exhibits are located on the sixth floor of the Dallas County Administration Building. And that’s as it should be. Most of the physical evidence implicating Oswald was found there. As you’ll see from the street, the infamous sixth-floor window on the building’s southeast corner appears to be propped open to the same height that it was on November 22nd, 1963.
The sniper’s nest is surrounded by glass. Boxes of books are stacked in what some researchers surmise is their original configuration. Unfortunately, no one knows exactly how Oswald placed the boxes. During the confusion that followed the shots, investigators moved them in order to recover Oswald’s rifle, paper bag, and spent shell casings.
Leading you to the legendary spot are thoughtful, well-researched, educational displays. If you are not the type who reads presidential biographies–or even if you are–you’ll appreciate how the Kennedy story is revealed and unfolds as you work your way to the building’s southeast corner.
As you come off of the elevator, and to your left is one of the first displays that reminds us of what those first few years of the sixties were like. Music, books, and films reflect the culture of the day. Another entitled “The Trip To Texas” explains Kennedy’s motivation for visiting Texas.
What I found most interesting, however, is the display on the investigation. A model of Dealey Plaza constructed for the Warren Commission by the FBI is near a lineup of the twelve camera models used by amateur and professional photographers who captured many of the iconic images of this tragic event.
Unfortunately, photography of the displays by visitors is strictly forbidden, and the security guards will enforce the policy. I came in with my professional-looking camera dangling from my neck, and the guards never took their eyes off of me while they stood only a few feet away.
I’m sure that some may think that this is more evidence of coverup and conspiracy. They’re wrong. It is, I suspect, vigorous protection of the material that the museum displays, much of which is probably copyrighted. I didn’t query any museum employees to find out, but I think the museum curators have good reason to disallow photography by visitors.
Go out of your way to see The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. It’s worth it. You’ll have the opportunity here to see this event through the perspective of real history. The facts and events presented without embellishment and uncertainty reveal what actually happened. Some of you may not be persuaded, but most of you, I think, will leave reassured that no person other than one man was directly responsible for John F. Kennedy’s death.