The assassination of President John F. Kennedy has had countless conspiracy theories swirling around it, but now one of those have been debunked; there was only one shooter, not multiple shooters like some believed. This event was (and is) a massive fixture in American history and is still talked about and remembered to this day, almost 55 years after it happened.
“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” — John F. Kennedy
On November 22, 1963, President John F Kennedy and his wife Jackie Kennedy were in Dallas, Texas on a mission to try to unite conservatives and liberals in the state (times sure haven’t changed). Trying to unite the parties in Texas was not the only goal he had in mind; he was also starting to campaign for his second presidential term.
He was traveling down the streets of Dallas with his wife, Jackie Kennedy, in his presidential motorcade. He was sitting in the backseat of his presidential convertible as they drove through the streets of downtown Dallas. At 12:30 his motorcade drove in front of the Texas School Book Depository. Suddenly, shots rang out as President Kennedy was struck once in the neck, and then once in the head. We have included a short documentary about his assassination, but there may be some graphic images, so viewer discretion is advised.
At 1:00 P.M. President Kennedy was announced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas. The shooter was a man named Lee Harvey Oswald who had just started working at the Texas School Book Depository. It is believed that he fired from the 6th floor of the Depository, but was later found and apprehended after a massive manhunt began. Days after the assassination of President Kennedy, Oswald was being transferred to jail where he was murdered by a local business owner.
List of Assassinations and Attempts
Here is a list of the attempts to assassinate, as well as the “successful”, assassinations. You will notice some have an (x2) or (x3). Those signify how many attempts were made to assassinate a president. We also italicized the president who had attempts made on them before they were ultimately assassinated.
|Presidential Assassinations and Attempts|
|Assassinated||John F Kennedy|
|Attempt (x2)||Abraham Lincoln|
|Attempt||William Howard Taft|
|Attempt (x2)||Franklin Roosevelt|
|Attempt (x2)||Harry Truman|
|Attempt||John F Kennedy|
|Attempt (x2)||Richard Nixon|
|Attempt (x2)||Gerald Ford|
|Attempt (x2)||Jimmy Carter|
|Attempt||George H. W. Bush|
|Attempt (x4)||Bill Clinton|
|Attempt (x2)||George W. Bush|
|Attempt (x3)||Barack Obama|
1 or 2 Shooters?
The assassination of JFK was a national tragedy that affected millions of Americans. To this very day, we still discuss it and can feel the impacts of it. Now, the president is not allowed to ride in a convertible vehicle, and secret service has really buckled down on protecting the president and their family. Since President Kennedy’s assassination, the United States has not had another presidential assassination.
This event is also well-known because of all the conspiracy theories that surround his assassination. There are so many theories, from it being an inside job so Lyndon Johnson could become the president, all the way to the idea that there were 2 shooters. We know that Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy, but conspiracy theorists believe there were two shooters; Oswald and then someone on a “grassy knoll”. This was due to the Warren Commission (whose sole mission was to determine if there was a bigger plot or not) and the U.S. House of Representatives’ own investigation that said there was a second shooter. Researchers, however, have said that there was only one shooter. So what is the real story?
“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” — John F. Kennedy
The answer to that question has been found through a new study. There was only one shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald. This new study traced the bullets and the bullet trajectory to the Depository fired from Oswald’s rifle. This was determined through video recordings of the assassination, as well as the president’s wounds. When the President was shot, his head flew forward, giving investigators the clue that he was shot from behind. This “grassy knoll” area was not behind the motorcade, it was off to the side of it.
Researchers were able to determine trajectories thanks to Abraham Zapruder, a civilian who happened to film the assassination. We have included this video, but viewer discretion is advised since this is very graphic. In the video, you can see the movement of President Kennedy’s head when the bullet struck him. Since his head moves forward it indicates that he was shot from behind, whereas if the second shooter were on the grassy knoll his head would have had sideways movement, based on where that is located.
Other Conspiracy Theories
One of the biggest, and maybe even most important, questions is this; was there a bigger plot or conspiracy surrounding the death of President Kennedy?
There was a study done by FiveThirtyEight that found that a whopping 61% of Americans that believe there was a bigger conspiracy surrounding the assassination. Along with the second shooter on the grassy knoll, the other theories range from a mob hit to LBJ plotting the conspiracy to become president.
“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” — John F. Kennedy
Is it possible the vice-president was behind the murder of the president? After 55 years it is very hard to say, especially since Lyndon Johnson has been dead for 45 years. The government’s investigation also cannot be fully read through and investigated since President Trump refuses to release all the information found in the investigation. Could that be the smoking gun for conspiracy theorists? Maybe, maybe not. A lot of information was recently released (information about both JFK and Martin Luther King Jr.), which you can check out and read here.
Regardless of whether or not you believe the conspiracy theories, this presidential death shook the nation, but lessons were learned from it and new steps have been taken to be safer. Since this happened, there have been attempts on different presidents, but none have been successful. Our methods of investigating deaths have also progressed in the past 50 years, so now investigators can get considerably more information about attempts and deaths.