Thursday, November 24, 2011

Down The Rabbit Hole, Part 2

You demanded it, we delivered. For months, fans of this blog have been asking for Part 2 of my seminal "Down The Rabbit Hole" commentary on the Kennedy assassination and other relevant conspiracies. Finally, like the McRib sandwich, it's here.

Lee Roy Abernathy--"John F. Kennedy, The Greatest Of All" (mp3)

Three days ago, my wife said, "I'll bet you don't know what tomorrow is." And she was right, I didn't know, but I tried to stall for time anyway with a wrong guess. Stereotypically, such a statement from a woman to her man suggests that the man is about to forget some key (or not so key) milestone in their relationship. And so why I was being mildly chastised, I went through my mental calendar and there it was: November 22nd.

"Of course I know what it is. In fact, I just downloaded a book on my Kindle on the subject."

"Oh, yeah," she said, with mild weariness, "What's the angle this time?"

"It's the girl on the stairs. She left the Book Depository with a friend and went down the same back stairs that Oswald supposedly took at the same time, but she didn't see anybody."

What happened to her, of course, is that, primarily, you've never heard of her. And neither had I until I started reading The Girl On The Stairs by Barry Ernest. And that makes us skeptical. But without cause. Our skepticism, as always, should be pointed elsewhere. Oh, yeah, the Warren Commission talked to her after months of government agents following her and showing up at her doorstep demanding that she go over her story again. Oh, yeah, the Warren Commission discredited her. Even though she begged them to conduct time tests and to interview the other woman who was with her and who, she thought, could corroborate her story.

But that wasn't what the Commission was after. They were interested in creating a narrative that would make sense to the American people, and so anything that challenged that narrative became inconvenient. And so Victoria Elizabeth Adams became inconvenient. And they scared enough that she went into hiding. And perhaps the most amazing part of the story, whether or not you're into conspiracies, is that the author Barry Ernest spent 35 years looking for her. And found her. And told her story.

You probably think he's a lunatic. Who would spend that many years on something so futile, right? Well, if you start reading the book, he sure doesn't sound like a lunatic. He sounds like a young man who started out believing the Warren Commission report lock, stock, and barrel until his position as a college student at Kent State University gave him access to the pages and pages of transcripts and documents that were behind the Warren Commission report (92% of which have since been made available to the public, though redacted; the other 8% will not be released for another 27 years. National security? Right) and he began to doubt and doubt and become fascinated with Victoria Elizabeth Adams. Until he found her and she told her story and he published it, though by the time he did, she had died.

So I'm back to the same place I always am. And, most likely, you are too. This little story intrigues me. This little story either makes you yawn or shake your head sadly. At me.

Here's another way to look at it: aren't we really all the Warren Commission? Aren't we theorists at heart? Don't we invite others who share our theories to join our ranks? Don't we spend our days sifting through the evidence and rejecting any and all of it that stands in the face of whatever theory we are currently working on? Don't we do our best to discredit the "witnesses" who do not corroborate our version of events? If we're disgruntled about our jobs or stations, we certainly aren't interested in hanging out with the gruntled, people we would deem to be naive or, worse, playing along with the powers that be for their own advancement.

Or, wait a second, maybe we're not Warren Commissioners at all. Maybe we're all conspiracy theorists looking for the hidden truths that lie behind the party line. Either way, that is our luxury. We get to play those games.

Our government doesn't. Subsequent studies of the Warren Commission tend to conclude, regardless of whether they support the Commission's findings or not, that the Warren Commission did not do enough to examine and to rule out possible conspiracies. The investigation by the House of Representatives in 1978 concluded yes to Oswald and yes to a likely conspiracy. And stopped there. Of course, the pressure was on and the money had dried up by that point.

So you have to at least wonder, don't you, what other evidence they ignored? And that's all any conspiracy theorist really wants--the acknowledgement that if you don't realize that your government is lying to you, regardless of political party, has always been lying to you, then you haven't been paying attention. But you should.

See you next year at this time. The year after that will be the 50th anniversary of the assassination. That will likely cast it under the microscope once more. Plus, party at my house. Come dressed as a character related to the assassination. I'll be the one holding the open umbrella.


Billy said...

So. Am I supposed to believe that Victoria Elizabeth Adams died of natural causes? That she just died of old age right before or after this book was published? All those Today show interviews she can't have now. Awfully convenient, isn't it?*

* -- The kind of question a conspiracy theorist can't help but ask.**

** -- Yes, I'm serving my role as the lemming/ostrich and mocking you.

Bob said...

She died of cancer in '07, but not before her story was verified by two other sources, one an accidental Warren Commission memo. Quite a powerful book, really--not much more than a man's 40 year odyssey reading the Warren Commission report and researching the National Archives as they became available and going to the sites and talking to the people that were still around, all while searching for Victoria Adams (which is also, annoyingly, Posh Spice's unmarried pre-Beckham name). What was left out of the Warren Commission report or was simply background transcripts is pretty fascinating.

troutking said...

I'm going to read this book after I finished reading Stephen King's 11/22/1963, a fun read even if it shines no light on the reality of what happened that day.

Yes! I've been waiting for this party! I will, of course, come as the big Jew in this story, Jack Ruby! (Also from Chicago).

Did you see the show on National Geographic TV last week? They scanned and enhanced all the films of the assassination and one clearly shows a "fine mist" of blood and brain matter exploding forward, which clearly negates a shot from the grassy knoll.

goofytakemyhand said...

I'll come as the other big Jew then - Abraham Zapruder.

troutking said...

Bob should come as JFK Jew #3, his nemesis, Arlen "Magic Bullet" Specter.