May 12, 2016

The man who started the talk of the "magic bullet” and the "grassy knoll"...

... Mark Lane — author of "Rush to Judgment" — has died at the age of 89.

In the movie "Slacker" — which I was just talking about in the previous post — there's a scene where a young woman browsing in a bookstore is accosted by a JFK-assassination-theory buff whose opening line is "Hey, I see you're reading Rush to Judgment":



"Oh, that's an excellent book.... You know, you're reading one of the greatest books on the subject; it's great. Rush to Judgement has all that testimony from all the witnesses that were never called before the Warren Commission. Like Mrs. Aquilla Clemmons, who was that maid who lived on Patton Street who saw the Tippet shooting... and it wasn't Oswald that did it — of course you know it WAS Jack Ruby... This is also the book that's got the testimony of Sam Holland, you know the Prince of the Puff of Smoke. Yeah, he was up there on the overpass over Dealy Plaza and he was able to see just everything...."

41 comments:

HoodlumDoodlum said...

A local radio station interviewed former Secret Service agent Clint Hill earlier this week (he has a new book out) and the wacky morning DJs asked him about the grassy knoll theory--he said definitively that no shots came from there. Just, you know, FYI.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

(Hill was the agent who jumped on the back of the car just after Kennedy was fatally shot.)

Quaestor said...

The loonies have given up on the Grassy Knoll — much too open, too many witnesses. The REAL assassin fired from the catch basin. He was a specially recruited and trained two-foot-tall achondroplastic dwarf .

eric said...

Trump better be careful. He already has people openly threatening to kill him on YouTube. And it's been a long time since a President has been assassinated.

Plus, the media loves to stir up trouble and then blame the violence on conservatives.

Pete said...

For a great fictional take on the Kennedy assassination, give Stephen Hunter's The Third Bullet a try. (No, skip Steven King's bloated tome.) Nothing in it couldn't've happened and you'll get a fine education on rifles and ammunition. And an interesting take on motive.

Steve Uhr said...

Thanks for the clip. Very funny.

Bay Area Guy said...

Mark Lane was a doctrinaire Liberal, and, I, like most people, simply dismissed him.

But, I think I was wrong.

I'm not saying Mark Lane's conspiracy theory about JFK's murder is true.

But, it should have been put on the table, discussed soberly, not dismissed.

Lane didn't buy the Warren Report's conclusion, and he was public about it. In fact, I think he was interviewed twice by the Warren Commission. Nonetheless, on the whole, he played the long game (50+ years!) and now majority of people believe that there was a conspiracy.

Indeed, the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1979, inched the ball away from the Warren Court, finding that there "probably" was a conspiracy.

I would now place Lane in the category of a"honorable dissident."

traditionalguy said...

Knee jerk ridicule of all of the convincing evidence not fitting the single shooter from behind Warren Report conclusion is very easy to ridicule.

The History Channel series on iTunes called The men who killed Kennedy is actually convincing.

Lane was a messenger that opened a discussion. Others completed it.

DavidD said...

The whole "magic bullet" bullshit ignores the actual relative positions of Kennedy and Connally, though, so there's that.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

You need the Annie Hall clip for this post too.

Bay Area Guy said...

"Grassy Knoll" sounds conspiratorial. Nobody uses the word "knoll." Well, there was Oak Knoll Hospital in Oakland for many years, I reckon.

I went to Dealey Plaza last year, the site of the murder. The grass was not green, but brown. It's not a quite a hill, but a long slight incline of grass. Very unimpressive in person.

Take a look at the Nix film (not the more famous Zapruder film). Nix was opposite Zapruder filming (and I think even captured Zapruder -- think of 2 guys facing each, separated by a wide street, filming each other).

Nix shows very, very few people on the grassy knoll. Any shooter from the grassy knoll, would have easily been seen.

But, at the top of the grassy knoll is a fence, separating the knoll from a railroad yard/parking lot. It's easy to conceive of someone standing in the railroad yard behind the fence at the top of the knoll, shooting down at the motorcade as it approached from the front, and then bolting away in the parking lot. This person, if he existed, would definitely be hard to catch.

Not saying I buy it, just educated speculation.

narciso said...

Yes it has an interesting premise, gus russo and brian latell, provide another theory, the problem with the critique of the magic bullet is it ignores the effect of such a projectile on a moving object,

narciso said...

stephen rivele, fooled bill kurtis, into a notion with corsican shooters involved, as vincent bugliosi pointed out the would be shooters, sarti bocogni, piersanti, were all in prison on that date,

Greg Hlatky said...

Liberals have to invent a conspiracy because they can't accept that Kennedy was shot by a pathetic Marxist loser (I know, a triple redundancy).

Phil 3:14 said...

Damn Trad guy,
Hoping otherwise, you just continue to fill out the stereotype.

rcocean said...

funny movie. but the best thing about the boomers dying off and getting old is that we never have to listen to their constant jabber about the JFK assassination.

Mark Lane was a commie who started to all the "Who REALLY killed JFK?" nonsense. He wanted to divert attention from the fact that a commie with Castro connections killed JFK over his anti-Castro policy.

narciso said...

I pointed out, the big whole in the center of that program, and did I leave out the mute 'witness' to the shooting.

Lane was following 'thomas buchanan' and joesten (sic) who were following soviet desinformatya

David said...

Read Lane's book but Posner's Case Closed and Mailer's Oswald's Tale are the two best I have encountered. Mailer's book has pretty much slipped out of consciousness but it was outstanding.

narciso said...

actually phillip shenon turned up some interesting details, from the late charles thomas who related octavio paz's wife's revelations among others,

David said...

" the best thing about the boomers dying off and getting old is that we never have to listen to their constant jabber about the JFK assassination"

Born in 1943 I am not a Boomer but the JFK assassination had a huge impact. More on the nation than on me. It's been a long time since I encountered anyone who wants to talk about who killed Kennedy. I know what I think but I avoid the topic as fruitless especially because so many people don't know diddly squat about it but that does not stop them.

When I was 14 it had been 57 years since McKinley was assassinated. My oldest grandchild is 14 and it's been 53 years since Kennedy was shot. She pays Kennedy's death about as much attention as I did McKinley's, which was very little.

narciso said...

some of those details here,


http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_spectator/2013/11/philip_shenon_s_a_cruel_and_shocking_act_stunning_reporting_in_new_book.html

Bay Area Guy said...

One final thought:

For years, I did think JFK was shot by a pathetic little Marxist (Oswald). In fact, I still think Oswald shot him or worked with others to shoot him.

But here is the singular fact that gives me pause.

In October 1963, about 1 month before the murder, Oswald got a job at the Texas Book Depository - the sniper's nest.

So, after the murder, when the police rushed the building, Oswald could say, "Hey man - I work here" (which is essentially what happened)

A pathetic little Marxist getting a job at the future murder site is either the unluckiest coincidence in the history of America or a product of coordination.

Jon Burack said...

By coincidence we just watched "In the Line of Fire" last night. I've long been of the opinion Eastwood's character expresses - "I never did care much about any of that." You can ask a billion "whys?" about that day and every one of them proves someone's concocted scenario. Of course you can ask a billion "whys?" about every day in the lives of every one of us. But why?

eddie willers said...

A pathetic little Marxist getting a job at the future murder site is either the unluckiest coincidence in the history of America or a product of coordination.

Or a crime of opportunity. As someone above mentioned, read Posner's "Case Closed".

It really was a silly little communist as Jackie said.

rcocean said...

"or a product of coordination."

It was the CIA, man. Jfk wanted to stop the Vietnam war, so they killed him man. they killed him.

rcocean said...

Or Hoover, or the Mob. Or Nixon.

The second shooter man, the magic bullet, the grassy knoll, Stone tried to tell the truth but the CIA kept people from seeing the movie for what it was.

rcocean said...

BTW, we don't really know what the Cubans told Oswald when he visited their embassy prior to the assassination. Its possible that the Liberals big hero Fidel, ordered a hit on JFK - in retaliation for JFK ordering the CIA to assassinate Castro.

But on 2nd thought, that's just a crazy conspiracy.

The CIA were ones who really killed Kennedy.

narciso said...

the real story is more interesting.


http://cuban-exile.com/doc_451-475/doc0451.html

Laslo Spatula said...

Long story shortened but not by much: you might just want to scroll past.

Dad was a bridge engineer, and a voracious reader of History. Book shelves floor to ceiling, packed and over-packed.

As a kid i came across a paperback of Lane's "Rush to Judgment." Dad had notes written in the edges, cross-referencing other books, which were also on the shelves. Conspiracy books, yes: Warren Report: Yes.

When I was a young adult I believed conspiracies. Note: my Father's notes indicated no conspiracies, just in-depth cross-referencing with an occasional judicious question mark.

So I took a couple of days off work. Drank heavily at a party Sunday, left Sunday evening to Dallas from Modesto, California. Fast-forward: I was back in Modesto Thursday morning, incoherent and wise.

First thing I learned: sleep deprivation coupled with alcohol is a bitch.

Second thing: got pulled over twice in Dallas by the Police, and they were the nicest cops I ever have met.

Pulled over the first time on my way south into Texas. Cali plates, ponytail, dangling earring, open bottle of Bushmills on the back seat in plain sight. Also, me: ferociously handsome, yet glazed.

The officer asked me what I was doing so far from home; I said I was going to your Dallas to see the Schoolbook Depository. He took a look at my papers, nodded, wished me a great visit to the Great State of Texas and advised me that I would be better off driving the speed limit on the rest of my way.

Generous, him.

So: the Schoolbook Depository.

Stood in the area glassed off by the window. Smaller scale than I had ever envisioned.

Watched the traffic make the turn, lazy, easy.

Fuck. I could make that shot.

Knoll, Overpasses: no way. Harder shots, nowhere to hide, despite decades of stories to the contrary. The conspiracy stories only make sense if you haven't actually been there.

From that window I could've blown Kennedy's brains out with an Italian mail-order Mannlicher-Carcano Nerf Gun. If I had pulled my dick out from behind the Grassy Knoll I would've been spotted by a dozen people. Of which some might have reported me to the police, I don't know. Some people are live-and-let-live about naked dicks.

I then took a sideways woozy nap on the Grassy Knoll, stared upwards through closed eyes, cars rumbling by, memory.

On the way home I was stopped by a Texas officer who told me I had a headlight out, and that it was illegal to drive in Texas without functioning headlights.

I asked him where I might find replacement functioning headlights at two AM.

He said not anywhere around here. But that he was going to get on the highway going the other way. Not that this was to mean anything. Except: Good Luck, God Bless.

Wink wink.

And: Cali plates.

Did I mention how cool the Texas Police were?

Drove on home. Chain-smoked, saw electric dinosaurs and shadow bats in the Mojave Desert. I had the radio on a non-station blasting non-station static to stay awake and was beating the shit out of my thigh to stay awake and get a few miles more, a few miles more, a few miles more.

This doesn't even cover the asshole Cop in Albuquerque or the Denny's at the border.

So: that was the short version.

And.

Oswald did it.


I am Laslo,

gadfly said...

@traditionalguy said...
Knee jerk ridicule of all of the convincing evidence not fitting the single shooter from behind Warren Report conclusion is very easy to ridicule.

Hell yeah, Trad guy, Trump's buddy, David Pecker, over at National Enquirer, has provided irrefutable proof, using Warren Report pictures, that Rafael Bienvenido Cruz y Díaz was one of the shooters that killed JFK. There simply is no doubt that Ted Cruz's father was with Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans prior to the shooting.

"You know his father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being shot," Trump said Tuesday on the Fox & Friends program, 14 hours before the Texas senator dropped out of the race. "The whole thing is ridiculous."

Curious George said...

Laslo Spatula said...

So: the Schoolbook Depository.

Stood in the area glassed off by the window. Smaller scale than I had ever envisioned.

Watched the traffic make the turn, lazy, easy.

Fuck. I could make that shot.

Knoll, Overpasses: no way. Harder shots, nowhere to hide, despite decades of stories to the contrary. The conspiracy stories only make sense if you haven't actually been there."

Exactly what I thought when I was there.

damikesc said...

Mark Lane was a damned loon. He was also in tight with the People's Temple.

Rusty said...


Fuck. I could make that shot.

Down and away at less than 100 yards?
Must have been nerves that caused him to flub the first two shots.
There's a word for you, Althouse. Flub.

Roughcoat said...

Posner convinced me. But I had already arrived at his conclusion. I.e.: one man, acting alone = Lee Harvey Oswald.

BTW, Oswald had an easy shot. Three well-placed shots with a bolt-action rifle at that (short) distance against a slow-moving target was quite within the capabilities of any decent marksman. Not hard at all.

CWJ said...

Agree wiuth Laslo, curious, rusty and roughcoat.

One thing that doesn't get mentioned often enough is target acquisition. It's a motorcade. In which car is the President? Where is he sitting in the car? This is not trivial, and from Oswald's location the motorcade was coming directly toward him. So looking from slightly above, he was in an excellent position to identify the President before the car made the turn. The turn itself is greater than 90 degrees so the slow motorcade would be even slower as he aimed his rifle. With the car now traveling away from him, he had a rising target straight ahead of him. Very well thought through. Seeing it in person makes all the difference.

Behind the fence at the grassy knoll? No meaningful concealment. No margin for target acquision. And a deflection shot to boot. No pro would set himself up in those conditions, much less make the shot.

James Graham said...

Mark Lane's book was a success.

He made a lot of money, which is why he wrote it.

The same reason he represented mass murderer Jim Jones.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Probasbility Zero?

To take care of the eventuality that Lee Harvey Oswald, who thought he acting at the behest of KGB, would succeed and get captured, and might talk when lawyersd regularly used by the Communist Party refused to represent him, the conspirators had lined up a lawyer for him in advance: A former New York State Assemblyman by the name of Mark Lane.

When Oswald was killed, he didn't want to give up the job.

wholelottasplainin' said...

"A pathetic little Marxist getting a job at the future murder site is either the unluckiest coincidence in the history of America or a product of coordination."

*****************

LOLZ! It was only because that "pathetic little Marxist" GOT A JOB in a building that LATER BECAME a murder site BECAUSE he LATER committed a murder there.

Your inanity reminds me of the Steve Martin "Inspector Clouseau" movie, where Clouseau asks, "What are the chances that the murdered man landed in the street, EXACTLY inside that chalk outline surrounding his body"?

Here's another puzzler for you: what are the chances that Lou Gehrig would die of "Lou Gherig's disease"???

Sammy Finkelman said...

"A pathetic little Marxist getting a job at the future murder site is either the unluckiest coincidence in the history of America or a product of coordination."

*****************

LOLZ! It was only because that "pathetic little Marxist" GOT A JOB in a building that LATER BECAME a murder site BECAUSE he LATER committed a murder there.

-------------------------------------------------------------

If the assassination was a conspiracy, the people who arranged the parade route had to be part of the conspiracy.

That turns out to be.....Governor Connally.

From my Protoblog in 1994:

====================================================================================

Date: 12-08-94 (22:57) Number: 675 of 951
To: ALL Refer#: NONE
From: SAMMY FINKELMAN Read: HAS REPLIES
Subj: THE OVERLOOKED SUSPECT Status: PUBLIC MESSAGE
Conf: SAMMY ZONE (9) Read Type: GENERAL (+)

If there is a conspiracy it belongs somewhere else than where people were
looking: Who picked the motorcade route.

We know John Connally even lied to get it. The event was originally supposed to
be at night. The reasons for wanting the Trade Mart sound specious. There was a
report in the Dallas News that Connally had flown back to Washington to try to
get the trip cancelled - but was it true, or was it planted as a alibi?
=========================================================================

If you want to know what I am talking about, read the footnote atnthe bottom of page 25 of "The Death of a President" by William Manchester.

Now of course Connally being a necessary part of any conspiracy does not rule out a conspiracy, because maybe he was part of a conspiracy and didn't know it!

He could have bene manipulated by his old college roommate, Eugene Locke, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Texas Democratic Party, who had persuaded him to resign as Secretary of the Navy (by the way theer's this conspiracy theory that Connaly was the target because supposedly Oswald blamed him for his discharge from the MArines or something) Locke was a Dallas lawyer in the pil business and therefore could have herd of Oswald from George D Mohrenschildt the only person who knew he had shot at General Walker. Of course if this is so, there must have been an original, better assassination plan. but maybe the original assassin(s) backed out.

Eugene Locke used to boast of his connection to to Lyndon Johnson so muuch so that he acquired the nickname "Lyndon Jr." He later on became Amnassador to Palkistan, and deputy ambassador to South Vietnam, leaving just before the Tet Offensive, (which may explain the wrong figures for enemy troops) and then persuaded Connally not to run for re-election as Governor in 1968 so he could run for Governor, but he lost badly in the primary.

If there was a conspiracy, Johnson probably didn't know about it either. He may have bene manipulated into trying to get Connally out of the car with the president, but, inasmuch as he was not told the true reason, he gave up, and Connally got shot.

Sammy Finkelman said...

I didn't menton anything here about the possible connection of Bill Clinton, or his friends and mentors.

Sammy Finkelman said...

* Locke was a Dallas lawyer in the oil business.