Cheryl Pappas


Archive for November, 2013

The 50th JFK Assassination Anniversary and the Power of Questioning

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Robert F. Kennedy once said that where something is perceived to be wrong in our country, “people should be angry enough to speak out”.

It seems clear that there are fewer American citizens than ever before who dare to “speak out”.

Rather, as in regard to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, those who question the official findings of the Warren Report are routinely marginalized as conspiracy wackos.

On this 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, I am reading with great interest the responses of the American people regarding the ongoing debate over whether Oswald was the lone killer of President Kennedy, or what exactly his involvement really was in the killing.

Even though, according to noted forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, 85% of Americans do not believe the findings of the Warren Report in asserting that Oswald was the lone killer, a great many people are irritated, if not enraged, that there is continued heated discussion and contention expressed about who killed Kennedy on this mournful 50th anniversary.

The psychological need to wrap things up and to delete troubling unanswered questions is a worthy subject to consider.

The ferocious need to throw reasonable unanswered questions into a history bin and be done with it is a curious thing.

We can understand the desire to feel personally safe and secure.

When the temperature of these normal security anxieties overheat, and the media often has a hand in jacking the thermostat up to frighten people, it is understandable that denial becomes an ever more vicious weapon of necessity.

Apparently, this need to not be stirred or deeply psychologically unsettled was the country’s gift to the Warren Commission.

I say this because of the key unanswered questions that political scholars, such as T. Jeremy Gunn, director of research and general counsel on the 1992 Assassination Records Review Board, as well as such respected historians as Gerald McKnight of Hood College, and David Wrone, emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens point, continue to raise.

I certainly have no clue or evidence on this case, but I find the desperation to leave it unquestioned a great fascination of our times.

I was 9 years old on November 22, 1963.

My clearest memory is of watching, live, on real-time television, Jack Ruby killing Lee Oswald.

I could not stop saying that the event was not “real”, by which I meant that I saw the set-up of Ruby’s access to Oswald, as well as the two guards on either side of Oswald positioning their bodies away from Ruby and his gun on Oswald.

Now, that’s a lot to inhale and perceive as a 9 year old.

I was haunted by this.

Yet I have to believe that this dramatic event, in the midst of the main event of the killing of JFK, was gleaned in this same way intuitively by others.

Who knows what this might have generated if people in power had closely sought answers to Oswald’s killing, beyond the apparently rather thin investigation into Jack Ruby, his life, and possible motives and entanglements with the assassination.

Being both cursed and blessed with a non-stop questioning mind, I

remain today filled with fresh questions.

Why are Americans so unwilling to seek clarity about important events that appear to be left unexamined?

Is denial a human defense that has become epidemic in our country?

Is denial the only hope for some to escape the deeply troubled state of terrified unknowing?

Most importantly, why have we stopped questioning and where does this state of unquestioning lead us?

As the tribute screenings unfurl on network television this 22nd of November, let’s see how much time and energy will be spent in the telling of the official lone gunman story.

How many unanswered questions will be presented and honestly pondered in the media coverage on the event of John Kennedy’s death?

Why is it considered wrong to keep questioning an essential American story when the facts are as riddled as Swiss cheese?

Will questioners always be consigned to belonging to a mentally unstable or naïve group of outsiders dismissed with names like “conspiracy theorists”?

Why not respect those people who dare to question and who refuse to be bullied away from healthy truth-seeking?

I can’t help but think about how this wrap-up of the 50-year-old criminal tragedy reflects our current society’s habits of turning away from questioning and demanding the truth from the government right now on so many issues.

Further, how we as a people are distracted to the point of stupidity by celebrity feuds and fashion rather than encouraged to use our brains to think and question.

For those of us obsessed with the freedom that comes from knowing the truth, especially when we are asked to believe a lie, we won’t stop asking questions.

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