Alex Grant – Contributing Writer
Paul Debole, an Assistant Professor of political science, shares his theory about the John F. Kennedy assassination.
What is it about conspiracies that intrigue people so much?
I think, to a large extent, people want to know answers to the unknowable. I don’t know what it is. We all want to know: is it true? Is it not true? What’s the story behind it?
Was there a particular moment that made you become more skeptical?
I remember JFK was shot and a few years later his brother [Robert Kennedy] was killed. That seemed a bit odd to me and I started questioning things a little bit more.
What aspect of the JFK assassination itself did you initially find strange?
I think I always found it odd that the shooter [Lee Harvey Oswald] got killed the next day. It’s convenient. Any avenue of finding out the truth was foreclosed and you have to look for other sources to find out what really happened. It just seems to me that it’s a little too convenient to me that that would happen.
When you’re talking to someone about JFK, what are your go-to points that support a conspiracy?
I always look at frame 313 of the Zapruder film. That’s the big one I hang my hat on. There’s also the fact that I don’t believe Oswald could have gotten off three shots in that amount of time, by himself. I’m not a cop but there are so many coincidences around the JFK assassination that I find it hard to believe that the stars would all align for such a bizarre series of events. Certainly, the fact that Oswald defected to the Soviet Union in 1959 or 1960 and comes back [to the U.S.] with no problem.
The government never approached Oswald?
The CIA debriefed him but it was a couple months later. Why wouldn’t you strike while the iron is hot? Memories change, perceptions change. It’s just strange that they had this huge intelligence source and no one could get around to interviewing him.
It does seem like Oswald is the perfect patsy to pin this on.
And those were his words! The government has this asset that led back to Russia and made people question whether or not he was a Russian agent. Maybe he was a Communist all this time.
How would history have changed if JFK had not been killed?
I love to play ‘what if?’ games. Nixon certainly wouldn’t have been elected president in 1968. If we didn’t have Nixon, we wouldn’t have had Carter. Without Carter, we wouldn’t have had Reagan. It’s kind of like a domino effect. It’s nice to turn history on its ear sometimes.
Why isn’t information like this more widely known?
The information is out there but what you have are a bunch of facts that mean nothing by themselves. When you start putting them together it starts to get clearer, like a puzzle. You just can’t tell what the picture is from all the pieces spread out.