Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Quiet Sunday morning in Dallas

Recognise this building? No? It's the Book Depository in Dallas, from where JFK was shot. The sixth floor window in the middle (ie one down and on the corner) is where it happened. Kennedy was shot from the back after his open top car turned left in front of this building and headed down an underpass. Lee Harvey Oswald, a known Cuban sympathiser and established marksman bought the rifle used in the shooting for $12 mail order. Having finally visited this place after hearing the claims and counter-claims for 25 years, it's pretty simple. From the sixth floor window, you get a great view of the road. And Kennedy suspected it might happen. "All you need to kill the President of the United States," he told an aide only days before he was shot, "is a tall building and a rifle."
This being the reason I was willing to go to Dallas anyway, I satisfied my curiosity and went away convinced Oswald did it. Why Jack Ruby shot him in the police station at the other end of town I didn't get clear in my head. The spot where Kennedy's brain was blown away is marked with a painted 'x' in the road: it's weird to drive over it without anticipating the moment the shot was fired.
There are few other reasons to visit Dallas other than to see the Book Depository: the centre is a deserted wasteland, like most of these 'historic' 1960s US cities (ie the ones you remember from the newsreels of dogs savaging civil rights protestors in Birmingham, Alabama and so on.)

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