John F. Kennedy and the Second Gunman

The National Archives today are due to release somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 never-before-seen documents along with the full versions of at least 30,000 other redacted documents that had previously been released all pertaining to the November 22, 1963, assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. As new findings emerge from these documents, I thought it would be a good time to present a few facts about the "second gunman".

For those who aren't JFK conspiracy buffs, the "second gunman" refers to the theory that aside from the man who was arrested and charged with the murder, Lee Harvey Oswald, there were two or more gunmen who shot at JFK as his convertible limo drove through downtown Dallas, TX. The Warren Commission, the government panel that was given the authority to investigate the matter, concluded that there was only the one lone gunman, Oswald, who acted alone.

Here are a few facts about the so-called "second gunman":

  • The second gunman isn't just the fabrication of some lunatic, a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives called the United States Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that there was a high probability that there was a second gunman. This was based on acoustic analysis that continues to be debated.
  • The second gunman may have lurked in the grassy knoll (as seen in the picture above), not far actually from where Abraham Zapruder, creator of the famous "Zapruder Film" was standing.
  • The TV show X-Files had its own take. As they depicted it, there was indeed a second gunman except he wasn't in the grassy knoll. Instead he shot Kennedy through a storm drain while crouching in the sewer. A young "Cigarette Man" was the shooter. Oswald was his patsy
  • "Umbrella man" refers to a guy who was in standing on the sidewalk as part of the crowd gathered to see the president as he drove by. His name was Louie Steven Witt. As the president's car came near, he raised his open umbrella and lowered it, which as conspiracy theorists will insist, was a signal to the gunmen to shoot. Admittedly, the notion of some guy in Dallas holding an open umbrella on a sunny day is a little weird, the reason Witt held the umbrella was a little less dramatic: he was trying to heckle the president
  • Although there are some compelling theories based on evidence as to why there had to be a "second" gunman, subsequent and recent scientific acoustical analysis makes the existence of a second gunman seem unlikely.

Whether a second gunman exists is a quick way for the most crackpot of conspiracy theorists to show that there was more behind President Kennedy's assassination, but that's not the case. The existence of Jack Ruby, if anything, may be proof of a bigger thing going on. When it comes to the second, the end only tangible conclusion we can methodically arrive at from any discussion of the existence of a second gunman is that Lee Harvey Oswald was a damn good shot.

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