A Curious Honk and Conspiracy

You all know my opinions on conspiracy theory. If they exist they mean the investigator didn’t investigate or was thwarted. Nevertheless, criminal conspiracy is commonplace. It basically comes down to 2 or more agreeing to break the law and trying to bring it about.

The Kennedy assassination is saturated with conspiracy theories. Culprits abound. Motives are bizarre.  It’s all strategy and no logistics. No one can come up with any rational excuse why a cabal would want to assassinate the president and then do so in a most public manner as well as along a parade route.

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But that one point remains, and the Warren Commission admitted it causes people to consider conspiracy– Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected and arraigned assassin, about 2 days later before he was safe in county jail.  Not only this, Ruby tried to get close to Oswald the very night of the assassination before there was any arraignment for the assassination. That’s pretty quick. Ruby knew at least 50 cops. (The Warren Commission thought that was a conservative estimate). Ruby knew how it worked. After something as big as this, the police would drag in all kinds of flotsam and jetsam. But Ruby is there and ready to assassinate Oswald hours after his arrest. He must have been sure they have the right man.

The Warren Commission could not explain how Ruby got in the basement of the police building to shoot Oswald. They elected to believe the obvious that he came from the Western Union office direction along Main Street. (He had a receipt on him saying he had been there just minutes before at 11:17 a.m. and made a purchase.) This was despite the testimony of the police officer guarding that entrance saying he checked all people who passed and Ruby wasn’t one of them.

JFK Assassination Bullets
Oswald photographed by the hordes of press as he is moved back and forth through the hallways of the police station for questioning.

Ruby’s ties with the police were well known. He gave them free coffee at his joint when they were on duty; deals when they weren’t. Small time stuff. Small time protection. But cops chatter. Intentionally? I don’t know. But even if a cop told him they got a suspect, this doesn’t equate to certainty that they got the right man. How would a mere cop on the beat know for sure?

But the Warren Commission all too often says “No evidence could be found” for whatever they couldn’t explain or didn’t want to accept.  That begs the question, what leaves evidence? For instance, in the case of Oswald leaving his rented room at 1026 North Beckley, the Warren Commission says there is no evidence he had an “escape” route planned out. Does that leave evidence?

Beckley-Oswald2

It’s now a part of the Oswald tour. Google Earth even lets you go inside!

Evidence and clues are not the same thing. I think it highly unlikely that Oswald went to all the trouble he went to shoot the president from the Depository window and had no escape planned. All of Oswald’s actions are clues. Together they tell us he had a plan.

His plan is not evident only because Oswald was intercepted and the plan was not carried out.

Let us go back to that afternoon, November 22, 1963.

It is a fact that around 1 p.m., about 30 minutes after the assassination and a few minutes after Oswald arrived at 1026 North Beckley, his boarding residence, that a Dallas police car passed in front of the residence and the landlady, Earlene Roberts, heard its horn honk several times. She saw that it stopped. It was not the patrol car she was familiar with. She did not recognize the occupants. She thought it was car 107 or 106. (In one FBI account a typo or the result of misspeaking listed it as car 207.) It is a fact that the car numbers she mentioned were at the Depository or no longer in use.

Dallas police car

Light and shadow make it difficult to read the number of the car. Earlene Roberts thought it was 106 or 107. Curiously, J.D. Tippit’s car was no. 10.

The Warren Commission did not clarify what this meant. We do not know if these cars answered the calls to go to the Depository or if they were proven to be at the Depository at this precise time. It is curious that of all the Dallas police cars, the numbers she listed should be those that were at the Depository and not on some other routine duty.

In any event, there was a Dallas police car that passed in front of 1026 North Beckley around 1 p.m. The driver honks several times. It then presses on.

Shortly thereafter Oswald leaves. Earlene Roberts sees him standing by the bus stop, but it appears he does not take the bus. About 15 minutes later he is about a mile away seen crossing 10th Street about to step on the south side curb to walk along the sidewalk to Denver Street. Officer J.D. Tippit, Car No. 10, pulls up to the curb behind him. Oswald walks up and leans over, leaning arms on the door by the window. They chat. Oswald stands back. Tippit gets out casually and by the time he is by his front headlight (on the driver’s side of course) Oswald starts blasting with his .38 snub nose S&W.

revolver

Oswald does not continue to Denver Street, but he is observed walking back to North Patton. Near the corner he unloads 4 empty shells and reloads. He walks to Jefferson, then walks through a gas station and ditches his gray jacket behind an old Doric building (later the Revival Temple) in the alley. Though no more witnesses after this, he apparently walks back to Jefferson and heads to the Texas Theatre, again in the opposite direction of Denver Street.

Oswald map 2

Although this area has been renovated, the alley (marked by the yellow arrow) remains. Oswald did not walk down it to the Doric building but came to Jefferson and then went back up to ditch his jacket. Witnesses did not see him leave.  This is all in the opposite direction of Denver Street were he had been heading.

The rest is not of interest in this post.

What is of interest is the fact that a police car cruised in front of Oswald’s residence, honks and leaves, and shortly thereafter Oswald leaves and apparently walks to a part of town nearby. He doesn’t run or hide from a police car when J.D. Tippit pulls up. Indeed he walks up and chats. Was it not the car he expected?

The Warren Commission didn’t follow through to determine what police car was in the neighborhood. There was simply no evidence one had been on North Beckley.

The exact quotation:

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Because Oswald simply went to the Texas Theatre and sat there the Warren Commission must have deduced that he had no escape planned out. This most certainly fails to consider the shooting of J.D. Tippit minutes before, which was most certainly not preplanned. Oswald’s behavior thereafter is inconsistent. He walks down to Jefferson merely to walk back to the alley behind the Doric building, there to leave his jacket and walk back to Jefferson.

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Oswald’s route, with witness locations marked, from the Warren Commission report.

Where was Oswald going initially?

We have only this chain of events: a police car stopped in front of the house and honked several times, then moved on. Oswald soon leaves. He backtracks to North Patton. He makes no attempt to avoid Tippit. He shoots Tippit. He flees and leaves his jacket behind a building. He walks back down to Jefferson and enters the theater. He is gunned down in the basement of the police station by Jack Ruby less than two days later, a man who knew lots of police and whose exact entry into the police basement is not confirmed. Ruby is certain they had the right man. No efforts are made to trace who could have been the police officer/s on North Beckley at 1 p.m. November 22, or no officer responds to the efforts.

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The Warren Commission made the classic mistake of considering evidence rather than looking for it. They acknowledged clues which indicated conspiracy, but did not follow these through. They repeatedly said “there is no evidence.”

Jack Ruby was suspiciously certain even before Oswald was arraigned that Dallas police had the right man. This, too, caused the Warren Commission to be suspicious as it indicated to all that there was some kind of conspiracy.

But it should not be the fact that Ruby killed Oswald that should cause suspicion; it should be the fact that Ruby was certain the very night before the press conference. There he was already, ready to kill Oswald if he got the chance, and yet Oswald had not been charged or arraigned for Kennedy’s assassination. It was scuttlebutt. Newsmen had known he was the suspect. Certainly, once again, many average cops at the station knew, but for Ruby to take all this as proof is quite remarkable.

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Jack Ruby. The Warren Commission said there was “no evidence” he had been involved in a plot. We must therefore accept that they considered it coincidence that a police car honked in front of Oswald’s room before he quickly left, that Ruby had many police contacts, and that he got into the police station basement unobserved.

But “there is no evidence” that Ruby acted in concert with others. Thus we must accept that he came to the Western Union, bought a money order for 25 bucks, with a time stamp receipt at 11:17 a.m. and somehow got into the police basement a block away from there  unseen.

The Warren Commission said that Ruby’s behavior before the assassination indicates “there is no evidence” that he was involved in a plot, but what exactly would indicate evidence?  What does it look like to be in a plot?

The horn honking police car is of far more interest than Ruby. And of even more interest than a police car honking its horn outside the assassin’s rooms is the fact the car could not be traced. There was, once again, “no evidence” that a police car was in that part of town and on that street at that time. But it most definitely could have been ascertained. A questioning of all officers should have been done. This would have revealed what officer was on North Beckley, stopped and honked his horn. There are many reasons why a cop might do this– perhaps he was stopped and trying to get a dog out of his way. But there is no excuse for not following through on this and determining the car and officer. It should not have proven too difficult. If all officers were asked, an officer clearly did not wish to remember.

Tippitcar

Tippit’s car on 10th street. At 12:54 p.m. that day he responded to his radio position call saying that he was at 8th and Lancaster. There was more than enough time to cruise past 1026 No. Beckley on his patrol and still be around 10th at 1:15 p.m.

If this is not suggestive of conspiracy, then there is only one logical explanation. It was J.D. Tippit. His car was No 10. With glare and distance Earlene Roberts might have thought there was another number after the zero. He honked his horn, perhaps to get a dog out of his way or. . . .?  He then drove off and within 15 minutes stopped Oswald on 10th Street.  He is the only Dallas police officer who could never come forward to qualify the incident before North Beckley for the obvious reason he was dead.

If one does not accept it was conspiracy, one must accept it was Tippit going about his beat.

*         *          *

For 25 years Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

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