JFK Assassination Tour

A private JFK assassination tour was something I dug up on the internet. Our guide, Robin Brown, met us at 10 a.m. in Dealey Plaza next to the Book Depository.

We had two choices of transportation, either Robin’s large air-conditioned SUV or a 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible replica of the car JFK and Jackie had been in on that fateful day.

Dallas in August? It didn’t take long to decide against the convertible. I’m sun adverse.  I even purchased a white umbrella to shade me in both Waco and Dallas.

We dropped Bronson off at The Happy Hound, then grabbed a quick breakfast near Dealey Plaza.

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The Happy Hound build out was pretty jazzy.  Note the dog bone ceiling and hand painted view of the sea.

Robin was waiting when we arrived a couple of minutes after ten. He ushered us to two shaded park benches and asked us what our interest in the assassination was. Neither of us is intensely fascinated, but like all Americans alive in 1963 we remember it vividly.

Robin then told us a bit about himself. He was nine when Kennedy died. At nineteen he saw the Burt Lancaster movie Executive Action, and his interest in conspiracy theories ignited.

Robin and I were seated side by side on one bench, Jim across from us on the other. Robin stated, “Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill Kennedy.” I glanced at Jim and saw an incredulous look cross his face. The same look he gave me when I hired a pet psychic and suggested a ghost tour.

I gulped, thinking, “It’s gonna’ be a long three hours.” I’d paid nearly 300 dollars for the excursion, and clearly, Jim wasn’t happy about the arrangement.

We sat on those benches for two hours while Robin explained the dynamics of the conspiracy. Jimmy’s ass isn’t as padded as mine. I could see him getting restless. Finally, Jim suggested we move.

Robin led us to his large van, turned on the A/C and continued the lecture. After another hour he suggested we walk to Dealey Plaza, while he pointed out certain places like the two X’s on the road where the first and second shots hit Kennedy. He had us study the sixth-floor window of the Book Depository from the vantage point of the first “X.”

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Note the picket fence on the left of the diagram, as well as where Zapruder was standing on a plinth while filming the motorcade.

From that point, looking back, it seemed unlikely the shooter could have seen the motorcade through a large live oak tree growing between the Book Depository and the place JFK was shot. The Warren Commission stated that tree would have been bare in November. But in Texas, live oaks drop their leaves in early spring.  That sixth-floor window was behind Kennedy.

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The Warren Commission stated Kennedy’s murder happened when he was shot in the back of the head. The Zapruder films show Kennedy reacting to the first shot by grabbing himself on the throat. The second shot blew out the back of his head, so must have hit him in the forehead. His skull and brains are what Jackie, in shock, climbed onto the rear of the limo to retrieve.

Later, a doctor who had worked on Kennedy stated in an early interview outside Parkland Hospital,  the neck wound was an entry wound.

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Further, eyewitnesses put Oswald on the second floor of the book depository moments before the shooting. How could he have galloped upstairs, aimed, pulled off three shots in seconds?

Then there was the “magic bullet.” That is some convoluted tale about one bullet smashing through Kennedy, then hitting Connelly.

Two factors transform the single–bullet theory into the magic bullet theory:
The necessity for the slug to have changed direction twice: on entering President Kennedy’s back, to come out of his throat, and again on exiting his throat to hit Governor Connally close to his right armpit. The “magic bullet” theory asks us to believe the same unlikely trajectory.

Connally, for the rest of his life, questioned the single bullet theory. In 1966, he told the press, “I am convinced beyond any doubt that I was not struck by the first bullet,” and added, “but just because I disagree with the Warren Commission on this one finding does not mean I disagree with their overall findings.”

The ten-month investigation by the Warren Commission of 1963–64 concluded that President Kennedy’s murderer was 24-year-old ex-Marine Lee Harvey Oswald and that Oswald had acted entirely alone.

Many witnesses that day heard shots coming from behind the grassy knoll, which was bordered by a picket fence. Further many witnesses heard lots of shots, not just three.

Who might have profited from Kennedy’s death?  Several people.  J Edgar Hoover and Andrew Dulles loathed Kennedy. Hoover was due for mandatory retirement at age 70. He asked Kennedy to waive the ruling. Kennedy wouldn’t.  Meanwhile, Dulles, CIA head, had been fired by Kennedy. He too had an ax to grind.

Upon becoming President, Johnson waived Hoover’s retirement age.  Hoover was still in office upon his death in 1972.  Further, Johnson appointed Dulles as one of seven commissioners of the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of the U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

The appointment was criticized by some historians, who have noted that because Kennedy had fired him, and Dulles was, therefore, unlikely to be impartial in passing judgment. In the view of journalist and author Stephen Kinzer, Johnson appointed Dulles primarily so that Dulles could “coach” the Commission on how to interview CIA witnesses.

Also, Kennedy had signed executive order to begin pulling troops out of Viet Nam. Big money wanted the war to escalate. With Kennedy out-of-the-way and corrupt Johnson in office, escalation would be likely.

The most damning evidence of a cover-up to truth remains the Zapruder film. Buried until Robert Groden brought it to light.

Groden is the first independent individual to get his hands on a copy of the famous Zapruder film documenting the moment when a bullet entered the president’s head. Groden has spent almost a half century producing books, pamphlets, and videos arguing Kennedy was killed by more than one shooter.

He goes to Dealey Plaza every fair weather weekend and works from a table by a banner that says, “Grassy Knoll.” He and his assistant are always a hit, drawing big crowds from among the tourists who throng the plaza most weekends.  He happened to be there on the day of our tour.

Robert Groden

Some of his books have been bestsellers. He has consulted on movies and documentaries including Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie, JFK. In 1976 he was the chief photo-optics consultant to the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations, whose findings included the suggestion that more than one assassin probably was involved in the killing of Kennedy.

The tour that was to last three hours went on for six. There was no charge for the extra three hours, and Robin declined a tip. He truly is dedicated to bringing the truth to light.

At the end of our tour, we were both convinced Oswald, if involved, was not the only person in on the assassination.  And best of all, Jim had dropped the “Holy Smokes, my nutty wife has gotten us into yet another weird situation” attitude.  Yay, me!

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The rooming house Oswald lived in at the time of JFK’s murder.

 

 

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The theater where Oswald was arrested.

 

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Another puzzling fact is that only Clint Hill, Jackie’s security detail, made a move.  Not one other secret service man lifted a finger. Odd.

If you want to do a bit of research check out The three hobos, and the two Oswalds.  

Fascinating stuff.

 

 

Waco. The Silos!

We were told to arrive very early at the Silos. Otherwise, we’d meet long lines and stand in the oppressive August heat. We bounded (Lie. Hobbling is more our morning style) out of bed. Sucked down a cup of La Quinta coffee and headed to Happy Hounds, Bronson’s play-date for the day. Dropped the kid off and he never even looked back. He must have been ready for some canine companionship.

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Front door, Happy Hounds.

 

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Lovely greeting from the other kids at daycare.

 

While driving to the Silos, I suddenly remembered I’d left my engagement ring, as well as my mom’s engagement ring, in our hotel room.

My mother’s ring has enormous sentimental value. Daddy sold his blood while getting his masters degree at the University of Michigan. He wouldn’t buy food. Every blood earned nickel was saved to purchase that ring.

As for my engagement ring–I adore it and the man who gave it to me. We raced back to the room where I found both rings snuggling safely in their secret hiding place. (I’d tell you what that secret place is, but then I’d have to kill you.)

We arrived at the Silos shortly after their nine a.m. opening. Jim dropped me off by the bakery while he went to find parking. I opened my white umbrella–an Amazon purchase in anticipation of Waco and Dallas sunshine–and stood to wait for Jimmy.

But the bakery beckoned me. Just a peek? I had no money so even if tempted couldn’t purchase a gluten free goodie. It turns out there were only three GF options–all cookies. If they’d offered cupcakes, I would have waited for my bank, Jim, to show up. I would have purchased a devils food with buttercream frosting delight and eaten every darn carb laden crumb. But it wasn’t to be. Joanna, my thighs thank you.

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The exterior of bakery.

 

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Exterior of Shops

 

The place is divided into different areas.  Shopping housewares, shopping garden, shopping bakery, playing, relaxing, eating food purchased from trucks.

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The place seemed busy-ish to us. Employees told us it was a VERY slow morning. Jim and I checked out the shopping. Every square inch has Fixer Upper styling. Almost each shopper was busily gathering items for purchase.

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Cute way to display paint colors and wallpaper.  I will remember this for the next time I open a store.

 

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I tried to interest Jim in a giant “Demo Day” hammer.  He prefers an easy chair and the newspaper.  Go figure.

 

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The interiors are all about shopping. Exterior offers a giant fake grass play area, lined with black and white bean bag chairs to accommodate spectators. There are many picnic tables as well as bunches of food vending trucks. Few were open.

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All of the merchants were local Waco restaurants. We wondered how the Gaines’ and the vendor’s split the monies. Do they rent space and also give up a percentage to the Silo business?

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This was my favorite because my parents always wanted an Airstream.

 

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We stood for a bit and watched families play on the faux grass. We sauntered around to suck in the atmosphere. We had driven from Palm Harbor, Florida to Waco for this experience. We owed it more than half an hour. By 11 a.m. we decided it was time to push on.

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The big rusty silos in this shot aren’t open to the public.  We were told there are future plans for them.

 

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As we left the Silos a bus-load of little kids got dropped off at a play yard next door.  Presumably, they were going to climb into those big plastic balls–each had a tube down the center–and roll sweatily around, then let another kid climb into the clammy cylindar and have their turn.  I was so glad not to be ten years old.

 

Next stop was the LaSalle Shoppes. Sixty-five vintage shops under one roof. My goal was to find buttons for the scarf I’m making. I hit pay dirt! Eight buttons and I got a discount. Whoo Hooo.

Then, because of all the wandering and button shopping, we were hungry. We had lunch at Cafe Cappuccino. An omelet with cream cheese and bacon for me, two eggs over easy/sausage/hash browns/toast for Jim. He has abandoned our “low to no carbohydrate” diet since the road trip began. He gets a hall pass since he does all the driving.

We then moved on to Spice Village. Located in a 1908 warehouse building in downtown Waco, Spice houses over 80 individual shops in a fun atmosphere. We thought we’d recognize many from Joanna’s televised shopping adventures. We didn’t. Nor did we buy anything.

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If I had bought anything at Spice Village, it might have been this.

 

At that point, Jim had just about enough shopping for one day. We went to the Waco Suspension Bridge. The bridge is often featured in opening scenes of Fixer Upper. It’s a beautiful landmark and was the first bridge across the Brazos River serving as crossing on the Chisholm and Shawnee cattle drives. What most impressed me were the beautiful bronze sculptures. A herd of thirty cattle being driven by two cowboys astride horses.

I studied the steer for a long time, trying to sort out how many sculptures had been created. There were duplicates, but the placement was carefully orchestrated to keep clones from being obvious.

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This little-painted rock was perched on the historical marker by the bridge.  Curious if it was glued on, I picked it up.

 

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Here’s what the other side said.  I chose not to keep/give/re-hide.  I turned it around and left it for some other curious traveler.

 

Then we decided we needed coffee to wake us up enough for MORE FOOD! We went to Common Grounds, the eclectic coffee shop near Baylor Campus and a quick walk from our hotel. The proprietors are the proud owners of one of the season two Fixer Upper homes. I remember that episode was the one where Chip ate a cockroach. Yum.

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Dinner was at George’s, and supposedly the locals love it. We found it underwhelming.

This morning Jim and Bdog let me sleep until 8:30. Fabulous. We poked around, drank some unfortunate La Quinta coffee, went to Honda dealer for new key-fob battery, and then had breakfast at a different Cafe Cappuccino location. Jim repeated his yesterday’s order. I added spinach to my cream cheese and bacon omelet. A green veggie now and again won’t kill me. I hope.

Today we only had a two-hour drive from Waco to Dallas, so I figured we might enjoy a little vintage button hunting on the way. I found a dandy antique store in some Podunk town along the way. I told Jim the place had GREAT Trip Advisor reviews. I chose not to mention there had been only two reviewers. Likely the owner and her sister.

No buttons. After that, I shut up and knit.

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This has grown tons since I snapped the photo. By the time we get to Liberty, Missouri I might be finished!  I hope these are, in fact, the colors Melinda requested.

 

Tomorrow we have a three-hour private tour of the Kennedy assassination route. After that possibly the Bush Presidential Library. Bronson has another spa date.  He will be well worn out when we pick him up at the end of the day.

For some reason, he has been off his feed since we began the road trip. I wish I could say the same for us. Oink.

For dinner tonight, Jim has located an excellent Italian restaurant nearby.  Yay!  More food!  Tomorrow we tour Dallas.  The day after that eight hours in the car to Liberty.  We began listening to our second Stone Barrington romp this afternoon.  Stone got laid before chapter three was over.  That man has stamina.  By the time we reach Liberty he may need to be put into traction.