Recollections of my visit to Dallas, November, 1999.
I did not expect the sensation of strangeness that overwhelmed all of my other impressions upon setting foot in Dealey Plaza.
Initially, there was the matter of compressed scale. EVERYTHING so much smaller, more compact, and closer together than the visions implanted in my mind. The film and photographs from that day were made with wide angle lenses which tend to expand space. Being physically there is as though I had been transported to some small stage set. When I looked down from Oswald’s perch I realized he could have thrown a grapefruit out and hit Kennedy (if only he had).
Secondly, is the furthered mystery towards the questions of “how” and “why”. As the space contracted, the lack of logic in the official explanations EXPANDED. When I looked out that window it was easily apparent that what is stated as the angle he took was not the best shot -- that instead would have been as the open limousine APPROACHED the Book Depository, NOT after it turned onto Elm Street to proceed AWAY. Like many have speculated, I sensed that the perfect angle was from the Grassy Knoll, under the shade trees, with the fence for cover, and the easy access to the rail cars just a few feet away that would have made a perfect escape. Oswald had a clear view of that area from another window on the 6th floor. As Oswald later said: “I’m a patsy.” It was another shock to realize that it was literally around the corner that days later he was shot and killed by Ruby -- something that, as a young child, I witnessed live on television.
All of the memories rushed in: the confusion, the displacement, the lack of understanding, the lack of explanation, the lack of anything that made sense. The surreal.
Maybe Oswald did do it alone, but on November 23, 1963 disillusion started its creep. The investigation was botched, and badly. Slowly expanding shockwaves spread through our culture. Mass disrespect and distrust for authority grew. The sense of the proverbial wool being pulled down was palpable. My own sweet Grandmother, as easy-going and disinclined to controversy a person as you can find, twenty years ago, gave me another shock: in an off-handed remark made while watching yet another memorial re-broadcast of the events of that day would say “none of us ever believed it was anything but a conspiracy.”
There is so much in life that is un-knowable. But the notion that explanation for this murder WAS knowable and yet clearly now will live on as an everlasting mystery . . .