NO MORE SILENCE

AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY BY LARRY A. SNEED

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Like most everyone who is old enough to remember the tragic events of November 22, 1963, I recall in vivid detail what I was doing when I heard the startling news from Dallas about the shooting at the Kennedy motorcade. I was at the local Sears store during my lunch hour from high school looking at some of the newly displayed Christmas items when I overheard one of the employees mention that the President was dead. Being naive at the time, I thought that she was referring to the president of Sears. Not concerned, I walked back in the cold dampness toward school a few blocks away when I again overheard a pedestrian mention the same thing. Curious, but unsuspecting, I said to myself, why are these people so concerned about the death of the president of Sears? Who knows who he is, anyway? It was only when I reached school and saw the stunned reaction of others that I learned of the magnitude of the tragedy.

Like countless millions of others throughout the world, I spent the next three days in front of the television witnessing the details of that weekend, including the shocking murder of Lee Harvey Oswald before 61 million Americans. Having read several books on the Lincoln assassination at the time, I knew that this latest tragedy would be as momentous, if not more so, because of the added element of the massive media coverage. As a result, I didn’t want to miss anything.

But in the ensuing years, my life was absorbed in graduating from high school, attending college, finding a job, getting married, and later building a home, so the assassination remained only a passing interest to me until 1982. I had read the Warren Report and several other books about the assassination at that time, then was convinced by a friend to read the best seller Best Evidence by David Lifton in the fall of that year. From that point, I became absorbed with the subject, purchased all the available books I could find and entered into a semi-monastic period of research. Since I had completed by that time two graduate degrees and had always wanted to do extensive research on what I thought would be a manageable topic, the assassination seemed ideal: three murders in one city over a two-day period. How complicated could this be? After all, this wasn’t like researching the Second World War or some other massive endeavor which seemed beyond my scope of complete understanding. Little did I realize the complexities involved as I entered the labyrinth of the assassination.

It didn’t take long to realize that the subject was much more complicated than anticipated. Did a conspiracy exist in the assassination of President Kennedy or did Oswald act alone, as was claimed by the Warren Commission in 1964? Numerous theories were in abundance since at that time the House Select Committee on Assassinations had completed its hearings and published its multi- volume findings along with its Report in 1979. This newly released information naturally led to a flurry of books accompanied by further complexities on the subject. Undaunted, I was convinced that a thorough reading of the material, combined with an open mind, would lead me to a resolution as to whether a conspiracy existed or not, and if so, who was involved and why. However, despite some excellent writing by a number of authors who postulated a plethora of scenarios in Dallas in November 1963, it was frustrating because obviously all of them could not be correct. If a conspiracy existed, what group was the culprit: the CIA, the FBI, organized crime, the military, pro-Castro Cubans, anti-Castro Cubans, White segregationists, the Dallas police, or was it a combination of groups?...

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