“Nestor Chylak killed Kennedy,” was a graffiti I found scratched on a wooden school desk almost 50 years ago. It lodged in my brain because it seemed to neatly satirize already rampant assassination conspiracy theories. I didn’t know who, if anyone, Nestor Chylak was. (A baseball umpire, I just now learned by googling; he had no (known) connection to JFK.)
It’s easy to see why so many people disbelieve the official Warren Commission story. It does seem unlikely that such a messed up twerp like Oswald could have pulled off hitting a moving target so far distant. But the real joker in the deck was Jack Ruby, shooting Oswald on live TV (I was watching), defying reasonable (non-conspiracy) explanation.
Facts are the grist of the conspiracy mill; with bushels of them you can pick out a select few and string them together to concoct whatever tale you want. The JFK assassination entails bushels of facts, factlets, and factoids. And it becomes even easier when you include non-facts.
I recently heard radio interviews with authors of two new JFK conspiracy books. One said Nixon knew Ruby, who had worked for him during the HUAC days. The other said Ruby knew Oswald.
Now, this sounded interesting. I haven’t read either book, so don’t know what evidence is adduced. But I do know “facts” can be asserted without genuine evidence. Anyway, it made me read a bit about Ruby, whose involvement had always seemed so puzzling. Well, his working for Nixon circa 1950 just makes no sense. At that time Ruby was a no-account nobody, a million miles from Washington or Nixon. His knowing Oswald also seems implausible because they inhabited totally different worlds.
What is true is that Ruby had contacts with some big mobsters. However, that all related to issues with the strip clubs Ruby ran. Meantime, he was such an unreliable low-life that it’s hard to imagine entrusting him with any role in some high level plot to kill the president. Or even Oswald.
So why on earth did Ruby shoot Oswald, if not to silence him and cover up some big conspiracy? That idea screams out at us; and yet, this would merely have substituted Ruby as the link to the conspiracy, as weak a link as Oswald himself. Again, if there were some deep conspiracy involving LBJ, the CIA, the Secret Service, the Mafia, etc., would they have relied upon such bozo creeps as Oswald and Ruby?
And can we believe that all these necessary participants (it could not have been the work of just a few): a) agreed to join in such a great crime, with huge personal risk but in many cases nothing to gain; b) executed a convoluted plot so flawlessly that the most intensive of investigations failed to reveal it; c) which plot, incidentally, supposedly required several additional murders; and d) managed to keep all this secret over decades?
Read Tim Weiner’s book, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, and then consider whether such a huge government plot could have succeeded so masterfully and secretly.
Sherlock Holmes said that once you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Oswald alone killed Kennedy with two lucky shots. Ruby killed Oswald in a bizarre act that cannot rationally be understood. That’s the improbable truth.