At this writing, I'm eagerly waiting with all the conspiratorial kooks for today's scheduled release of scads of previously secret documents pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. This is going to be fun. No, I don't expect that  this laying-bare of huge mountains of mostly bureaucratic gobbledygook is going to […]

 

At this writing, I'm eagerly waiting with all the conspiratorial kooks for today's scheduled release of scads of previously secret documents pertaining to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

This is going to be fun.

No, I don't expect that  this laying-bare of huge mountains of mostly bureaucratic gobbledygook is going to significantly alter the judgments long embraced among people on all sides of the controversy.

Folks on my side — the sensible people, we could call them — think the terrible episode in Dallas unfolded pretty much the way the official investigation (“The Warren Report”) said it did. And we don't expect to have our minds changed by the stuff released today. We have no good reason to disbelieve the official account of how Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, fired a rifle from a 6th-floor perch and thereby fatally wounded John Kennedy in a passing motorcade.

On the other side (or sides,  as it were) is a loosely organized — and shrinking —  army of theorists who see the Kennedy assassination as part of some vast conspiracy or another. I say this army is shrinking mainly because it's earliest and most prominent members are getting pretty old or dying off. But no matter the size of its ranks, the army of theorists likely will react to today's release pretty much as one would expect. They'll find reason to double-down on the conspiracies they envision.

A sizable majority of Americans living today aren't old enough to remember the shooting of Jack Kennedy. It  happened 54  years ago next month. My god,  I was a mere 21 years old back then. Next month, I turn 75.

I should also note that the kind of history you know only by having read or heard about it is not the same as the history you lived through. (Of course, the converse also is true in a sense: Just because you lived through, or perhaps even witnessed, a certain event doesn't necessarily give you special insights. Good cops usually depend on far than the stuff they get from eyewitnesses).

In a few months, the American public will have digested news about  the materials in today's release, but it probably will take a few years for this new stuff to have been sufficiently absorbed to produce a few new books.

In the final analysis,  there's also something good to say about the role of conspiritorialism. It often becomes a part of history itself, depending usually on the durability of the theory, no matter that it's true or false.