Jack Gordon was in an eighth-grade study in upstate New York when he heard the news that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. That the day changed the course of American history is a matter of intense discussion this week leading up to the 50th anniversary of the Nov. 22, 1963 assassination. It definitely changed the course of the life of Gordon, a professor, author and JFK assassination researcher.
Public attitudes on the assassination have evolved over the past 50 years. At the outset, there was much buy-in to the notion advanced early by Dallas police and later by the Warren Commission that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. Then came intense scrutiny of that idea as a whole cottage industry grew up around the various conspiracy theories that had pro-Castro, anti-Castro, Russian, Chinese, mob entities and others involved in one way, another or in various combinations together.
To Gordon, the answer is in the details, “particularly the details of the medical evidence.”
“I really believe the key to the Kennedy assassination is looking at what the Dallas doctors identified at the Parkland Hospital while they were working on President Kennedy. If President Kennedy’s body had remained there, and the autopsy had been done there, a lot of these unanswered questions would have been answered. But everything changes when that body goes to Bethesda Naval Hospital, and a very incomplete autopsy is done,” Gordon said.
Gordon does think there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. His view of the shooting was that it involved at least two shooters, that at least six shots were fired, and most distinctly that Oswald didn’t have anything to do with the assassination.
“The conspiracy to me is a triangle. If you drew the triangle, and you put the map of Cuba in the middle of the triangle, the three corners are organized crime, CIA and anti-Castro activity, not pro-Castro activity. All three were really irritated at President Kennedy going back to the Bay of Pigs, further ticked off by what he chose to do for the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Gordon said.
The early endorsements of the Warren Commission report into the assassination started to come into question in 1966 as the 26 volumes of exhibits and testimony started to make their way into college and university libraries. The now-infamous Zapruder film didn’t hit the airwaves until 1975, 12 years after the assassination.
And the questions will linger, though Gordon wonders aloud how much attention the JFK assassination will continue to get after the 50th anniversary has come and gone.
“Will there be as much attention at the 52nd anniversary, the 53rd, the 54th? That remains to be seen,” Gordon said.