All about History is, for my money, the best of the new arrivals in the burgeoning history magazine market, and this month they haven’t skimped on marking the 50th anniversary of John F Kennedy’s assassination. There’s not only an account of the assassination but an assessment of Kennedy’s achievements and legacy, plus a review of assassinations through history. It’s all good reading, and conspiracies are left to rest in peace.
November’s History Today, the best of the established magazines, counted JFK among its subscribers. Peter Ling, in Killing Kennedy: Cock Ups and Cover Ups, assures readers that this was the reason behind his assassination, before going on to chronicle a catalogue of failings by investigators that would have shocked those who had birthed forensic science decades before.
This is the 50th anniversary, and historians generally agree that it marks Camelot’s sad end passing from current affairs into history. Sharing that view is Colin McLaren, who has been sucked into the Deeley Plaza industry as have many before him. In the Channel 5 documentary JFK’s Secret Killer: The Evidence he brings into the frame George Hickey, who many people, myself, have never heard of before.
When I saw JFK’s Secret Killer I thought, "that’s it!" McLaren’s theory explains the many enduring contradictions and explains cover ups of the sort that, according to Jesse Ventura, breed conspiracy theories. What is most elegant is that he leaves room for what Karl Popper – in Conjectures and Hypotheses – are the marks of authentic theories: unintended consequences.
Then I discussed the programme with a friend who’d served in the forces and had experience with weapons similar to those mentioned and with how bullets behave, and who was not impressed with this or any other theory.
In the end I agree with one thing McLaren says: it’s time to close the door on this assassination. Let’s let the man and his brief shining moment rest in peace.
Killing Kennedy: Cock-Ups and Cover Ups - Peter Ling, History Today, November 2013
JFK's Secret Killer: The Evidence Channel 5 - available until 10 December 2013
JFK conspiracy theories abound, despite a lack of evidence - Scott K. Parks, Dallas News, 17 November 2013