Who Really Killed Kennedy? - Joe Rogan and Michael Shermer


5 years ago



Michael Shermer

7 appearances

Dr. Michael Shermer is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, host of the podcast "The Michael Shermer Show," and a Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. He is the author of several books, the most recent of which is "Conspiracy: Why the Rational Believe the Irrational." https://michaelshermer.com/


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The other aspect with conspiracy theories is cognitive dissonance. That is, we want the size of the event to be matched by a cause that's equally of that size. So, the analogy I use is, you know, the Holocaust, the worst genocide in human history caused by the Nazis, the worst regime, political regime in human history, there's a match there. Right. But if you say something like, you know, JFK, the leader of the free world, brought down by who? The Harvey Alswell? Just some nobody? You know, there's this mismatch or 9-11, this huge thing by 19 guys with box cutters. Do you think that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone? Yeah. Do you really? What makes you think that? All of the evidence and none of the evidence against anybody else and all of the evidence against particularly him. Gerald Posner's book, Case Closed, and then the attorney, what's his name? That was the Manson attorney. Yeah. He is a massive book where he lines up every single one of the arguments by the JFK conspiracy. For example, conspirators make a big deal about how Oswald got a job at the book depository building, which just happened to be where the parade, just happened to be where the parade route was going so he could have a clear shot. So, it was Posner that tracked down when the White House determined even when Kennedy was going to Dallas, let alone what the parade route would be, and Oswald already had the job there. That's just chance. So, he knew in advance, bro. That's right. He knew the... Do you think it's possible that Oswald was in cahoots? No. No. No. Why do you think that? What about the magic bullet theory? Well, that's been settled by the fact that the way it showed in the videos is that the two seats are like this and that the bullet has to do this. Well, in fact, the seats were like that and that Connolly was down here... Well, you're explaining this in audio form. Just when you're saying it's like stadium seating. One's elevated above the other one. That's right. So, the bullet actually does... When it passes through the neck, through Kennedy's neck and then hits Connolly's shoulder, it is already moving down. I think it hit his wrist. It fractured his wrist. Right. This has been tested and tested and tested. Well, sort of. Here's my issue with it. There's a couple issues. One, on the pro side, the idea that bullets will take a straight path is ridiculous. I've talked to hunters that have shot animals in the front and had a bullet come out the same side they shot it. It ricocheted off bones and came out like the front of the animal. Like, bullets take weird paths. When they hit things in particular, so do arrows. They take... As a person who's well-versed in firearms and shot animals and hunted, you don't... Sometimes the bullet goes straight through and sometimes it hits bones and wacky things happen. Things deflect. But on the negative side, they always distort. Bullets always distort, particularly when they hit bone. What bothered me was that they found that bullet in Connolly's gurney when they brought him to the hospital. They just conveniently found this bullet. Aha! We have it. This is the bullet. It matches the same rifle. The common rifle, yeah. But it wasn't pristine. It was flattened. Barely. If you look at that bullet, that bullet is nothing like a bullet that's hit bone. When bullets hit bone, they mushroom. They balloon. They bend. They distort wildly. They don't come out looking like that. They come out looking like that when you shoot them into water or when you shoot them into feathers. They don't come out looking like that under normal circumstances when they shatter the bone of two different people. Well, do you know that for sure? No, I do not know that for sure. But one thing I do know a lot about is... I know quite a bit about what bullets look like when they hit things. I've looked into this pretty extensively and I've talked to a lot of people in law enforcement, military, hunters. And none of them believe that that bullet hit bones, shattered bones, and came out looking like that. Is it possible that that bullet was the only bullet ever in the history of the world that did do that? Yeah, it might be. Okay, so we're getting kind of caught up in the weeds of the anomalies. What about this? Just the bullet. Oswald himself had attempted to assassinate a general named Walker six months before. With his rifle and a handgun and he went over to the house. He took a shot through the guys. When he saw him at the desk, took a shot, missed him. He told his wife about it. I'm a revolutionary. I'm trying to start something here. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Oswald was innocent. I'm not. I mean, and I think it's very possible that Oswald did shoot at the president. He might have even hit the president. It's also very possibly that some other people were involved as well. Who? I don't know. See, this is the problem. But wait a minute. Why is it a problem? If you don't know who they are, just because you don't know who they are, doesn't mean they didn't exist. Okay, but why do we need to postulate extra people? Because of all the gunshots that happened in the short amount of time. The fact that the reason why they came up with the theory of the magic bullet in the first place, because they had to account for a bullet that hit a curb underneath the overpass. Do you know that, right? Yeah. Okay. There's, there's, there's, okay. Do you know why they came out with them? Yeah, I've been there. Do you know why they came up with the- But it's short. I mean, it's right there. You can hardly miss. The point, the point, well, it's not, that's, that's sort of true. Yeah. It's not a far shot. And he was a pretty good marksman. A Posner tracked down his- We're not talking about that. We're talking about the reason why they came up with the magic bullet theory in the first place. Do you know why? Well, I thought it was because of the, the alignment of the seats. No, because they had to attribute three shots. They had to figure out, and one of them, they were, they were thinking, well, all these wounds came from three bullets. But then they found a bullet that had hit the curb on the underside and the guy checked into a hospital because he was hit with a ricochet. All right. So there's a curb that they proved was hit with a bullet. There was a bullet hole in the, the granite or whatever the fuck the curb's made out of. It hit this guy. He went to the hospital. So he was hit with a ricochet. So they knew that one bullet had not hit the president. And so they had to attribute all of these wounds to one bullet now. They had one bullet that landed into his neck, another bullet that hit him in the head. And so how did these three bullets cause a wound on Connolly as well? Then they came up with the magic. There's the bullet. Look at that bullet, bro. But you have to look at the, at the end. It's flattened if you look at it from the end. No, it's not. Look at this. Under no circumstances do I feel that this bullet could hit a wrist and still not be deformed. We proved that by experiments as a chief consultant in wound ballistics for the U.S. Army who supervised tests for the Warren commission. Here's the thing. I don't, I don't necessarily think that there was some grand conspiracy, but I do think it's entirely possible that someone took that posthumously, took that rifle and wanted to pin it on Lee Harvey Oswald definitively. Look, there's people that do things when they know someone's guilty and they plant evidence. Mark Furman did that with OJ Simpson. They found his glove. They planted evidence. And there was one of the reasons why OJ got off because there was some sort of conspiring to make it look like he was, you know, it was the evidence was a clear path. They could have just taken that rifle and look, could have been that Oswald did it alone. It's possible, but also could have been that some other people were shooting at him too. It could have been that they had decided to have Oswald be a part of this. And when Jack Ruby ran in and shot him, that doesn't look a little suspicious that some guy with ties to the mob gets right up to this guy who just shot the president and shoots him. Like why? He's never shot anybody before. Do it publicly. Posner talks about Ruby's character and who he was, major Kennedy supporter, running with some bad dudes, some bad hombres there in Texas. And he was a gun owner. Security wasn't anything like it is now. He really could just walk right in like he did. It's possible, but it's also possible that that guy owed something to the mob. And this is what they told him to do. He's going to get rid of that guy. No one's going to care. They're going to be happy. Fuck that guy. He just shot the president. Who knows? It seems like people want it to be one way or the other. And they want this case closed option. It doesn't have to be that way. I mean, Lincoln was assassinated by a conspiracy and that was evident pretty quickly afterwards. And they rounded him up. World War I was launched by a conspiracy with the assassination of Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian group of, called the Black Hand, a group of nationalists. Well, we already talked about the Vietnam War too, the Gulf of Tonkin incident. That's right. False flag. So these things do happen. They're all false flags. There are conspiracies to assassinate foreign leaders. Hitch wrote this book on Kissinger as a war criminal. That all the shenanigans we were doing in South America with dictators there, were back in this dictator because he's a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch versus this guy. And we're going to assassinate Castro, all the stuff that came out that Johnson tried to cover up that came out in the Pentagon papers about Kennedy plotting to have Castro assassinated. That's a kind of conspiracy. So this, absolutely this does happen. The question is, did it happen in that particular case or this one or here? And the evidence, in my opinion, after reading, particularly Gerald Prozner's book, Case Closed, it's, there's a funny internet meme that went around last week of a guy that dies, goes to heaven and God says, you've been such a good fellow your whole life. I'll grant you one, which you can ask me anything. He said, all right, who killed Kennedy? And God said, it was Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone using his own Carcano rifle. And the guy goes, this goes higher up than I thought. That's funny, man. Did you ever read David Lifton's novel or a book about it rather? Best evidence. Best evidence. I didn't read the whole book. When I was researching this back in the 90s, after the Oliver Stone film came out, because after that, when that came out, I thought, man, if only half of this or 10% of this is true, it's definitely a conspiracy. But then there are websites dedicated to everything he got wrong there. And well, he made people up like the general, the Donald Sutherland character, that guy doesn't even exist. He just used him as a theatrical tool. Yeah. Very distorting film. But film is such a powerful medium. Yeah. It's hard to overcome that. Well, that movie in particular, I mean, you got Kevin Costner, who's the good guy. Everybody's in there. Everybody loves it. Yeah. I mean, that is a Jack Clemon and Walter Mathau. It's a crazy movie. Yeah. And it really has you believing that there's some sort of a conspiracy. Back into the left. Back into the left. People love, well, here's the thing about that though. I've looked at that over and over again. Yes, it is back into the left, but the spray kind of comes out of the front. Yeah, it does. Yeah. Yeah. It kind of comes out the front. And one thing that does happen when people or things get shot is you have nerves and nerves react and things do weird results in your body. If you get hit by something, it doesn't mean... Well, like the front one where his hands come up like that. Well, he's grabbing his neck, apparently. That was the other thing was there was a difference in the autopsy results from Bethesda, Maryland versus in Dallas, Texas. Dallas, Texas, they attributed the throat wound to a frontal shot that something hit him in the front. And then the Bethesda, Maryland, they said that it was a trach wound. They opened him up to clear his breathing pathway. And then the conspiracy theorists would say, why would you clear the breathing pathway of a guy who doesn't have a brain? His brain was shot out of his head. There's a lot of shenanigans. I just don't like when people say they know one way or another. We Harvey Oswald acted alone. How the fuck did you know? There was a bunch of... There was also bullet fragments in Connolly's wrist that weren't missing from the bullet itself. The bullet itself, whether you think it's pristine or not, it's still, it's not missing a lot of fragments. And there's fragments in Connolly's body that you could detect on an X-ray. There's X-rays in his wrist. You could see the little pieces of the bullet. I don't know what the explanation for that is. Exactly. That's my point. But the fact that I don't know, I'm not the world's expert on this stuff. People want to clean it up. That's what I don't like. They want to clean it up or they want to muddy it up instead of like looking at it 100% objectively. They want one thing or another. I think it's entirely possible that Lee Harvey Oswald... It's either to me, they want to say, these are the two narratives. Lee Harvey Oswald was a patsy. He had nothing to do with it. The government set him up or he acted alone. But why couldn't he have been involved in it? He obviously was involved in some shady characters. The guy spent a ton of time in Russia, came back over here very easily, even though the Cold War was going on. There's a lot of weird stuff. He might've very well been some sort of a government informant or working in cahoots with the government. If that's the case, and he did shoot Kennedy or shoot at Kennedy, who's to say that he wasn't with other people and they killed him because this guy was going to go to jail and he was going to start talking. When they arrested him, he said, I'm a patsy. I'm just a patsy. And then, blam, he's dead. Oh, we got him. And that's it. Wrap it up tight. It wasn't until there's a Pruder film that people really started to question. And I think that was, it might've been 10 years later. We've talked about the whole history of this Pruder film, how it was released. The Geraldo Rivera show. That crazy? Dick Gregory, a comedian, brought the film footage to the Geraldo Rivera show and showed it on television for the first time. Life magazine bought the rights today. Life magazine had the rights and didn't do anything with it. They kept it for more than a decade. Dick Gregory got ahold of the actual film footage and premiered it on the Geraldo Rivera show. I want to say it was like 1971 or 72 or something like that. So it was way, way after the assassination that the American, what was it? 75. Oh, that's crazy. 75. So all those years later, and then people got a chance to see the footage and they were like, whoa, this is not how it was described to us at all. And it made people skeptical. There's a good Nova show on the ballistics in the head and testing the rifle. And could you shoot that many times in that many seconds and so on? And it's pretty, to me, it's pretty convincing. The problem with me is I know too much about what happens when bullets hit bones. I don't buy that that was the bullet. I do look, I think they could have just dropped that bullet off. It doesn't mean that Lee Harvey Oswald didn't do it. The thing about that bullet though, is it like there might be some fuckery involved. And the David Lifton book was, that was the book that got me into conspiracies. That fucking book, God damn it. If I could go back and not read it, I bombed on stage because of that book. You did? Yeah. Well, it's my fault, but I've read that book the day I was performing and I was freaking out because I was like 24 or something like that. I was like, Oh, this is crazy. They killed the president. And I was so naive and I was like really bummed out when I went on stage. And then I realized like, Oh, you can't like, I didn't know any better. I've only been doing comedy for three years. I'm like, Oh, you can't go on stage bummed out. You got to get your head together. You can't just say the jokes and not have some emotional attachment to them. But that book highlights, what it was, was Lifton was a bookkeeper and or an accountant, I believe. And he was hired to do something with the Warren commission report. And because he found some contradictions and he went over the entire Warren commission report, which is an enormous, enormous publication. And he found all of these problems, all of these problems in the Warren commission report and all these contradictions. And it was his determination after reading everything and writing his book, he thought that the conclusion they made, they made before the fact, and that they wrote all this stuff to sort of bear to back up their conclusion, that it wasn't based entirely on an objective version of the facts and of the event itself. And his his take was there was a conspiracy. Well, it's launched a mini industry of books and films, man, think about all the money that's been made off of the Kennedy assassination. Go down the rabbit hole with this stuff. Can we see the Jesse Ventura version of it? He believes everything. He's the best. He's the best. I was on his conspiracy show. Yeah, he's out there. Oh, yeah. He believes it. Yeah, he was like, no one could have made that shot. They definitely could have made that shot. It's a rifle. It's not that far. And just because someone gets lucky doesn't mean they can't get lucky. Like people get lucky all the time. People flip a coin and it lands on heads a mile away. I mean, you know, you could throw a coin. You could, you could throw a coin out of a helicopter, you know, right? You could say this is going to be heads when it lands and it can be heads. You can get lucky. Really as possible. Well, this assassination of Franz Ferdinand that triggered the first world war, this, yes, but okay. They, they messed up. I mean, they had like seven of them and they met in secret and they got their weapons that morning and so on. And it's a couple of them chickened out. Somebody else got lost. So there's like three of them there. Somebody threw a hand grenade, missed, rolled into the car behind the Franz Ferdinand and they got hurt and went to the hospital. And he's like, Oh, fuck this. I'm not giving my speech. Let's go to the hospital and visit, see how he's doing. So they double back like half an hour later, they double back and come back down the same route. And the guy who had missed, he was just sitting there on the curb. It's like, Oh, fuck, here they are. Bam. Yeah. Pure luck. Pure luck. Yeah. Yeah. That does happen. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think that history turns more on that kind of thing than on carefully orchestrated, perfectly executed plot. Sure. It certainly can. But you know, the idea that, I've always found it offensive, the idea that there's no way Oswald could have hit him. Like people say that, like there's no way, there's no way. Like you're out of your, you never shot anything. Right. That's crazy. I can make that shot. 100%. Yeah. I look, if you have a rifle with a scope and a guy is a hundred yards away, you tell him you can't shoot him. Right. That's crazy. That's crazy talk. Or the rifle was out of that was the other thing they said, this, the scope wasn't lined up correctly. Here's the thing, folks. If you have a rifle, okay, and this has happened to me before and you drop the rifle, the scope gets damaged. It gets moved. It's a very sensitive thing. Like when you're talking about something that goes faster than the speed of sound, a bullet, boom, firing out of a rifle, you have to that, that is going incredibly fast. And to be able to get that reticle exactly on where you think that bullet's going to hit requires a lot of adjustments. When you go to the range, they set up a lead sled. You put your rifle down on this sled so you're not holding the rifle. And by the way, your Osball wasn't holding it either. The idea was that he had it rested, which makes it much more steady and much more easier to make an accurate shot. So you set up this rifle on the lead sled and it's usually a hundred yards or 200 yards, however far the distance is to the target. You squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, boom, the trigger goes off and you see that the bullet is low and to the left by a couple inches. You make an adjustment on the scope. If you drop that rifle, that scope gets knocked. The adjustment's out the window. So the idea that there's like a perfect chain of command between Lee Harvey Oswald pulling that trigger and that scope never got rattled at all. No, but the conspiracy theorists want you to think there's no way he could have made that shot. That scope wasn't even lined up good. How the fuck do you know? How do you know? You don't know. Like anybody who knows anything about rifles knows there's no way you could know. Because if all you'd have to do is whack it here, I'm going to bring you the rifle and just bump it with your elbow funny, knock it into a wall when you're handing it to someone and that scope's going to be off. So then you take it to a range. We're going to prove definitively that he could have never made this shot because this scope is off. Boom. Look, it's six inches to the left. Wow. Case closed. Right. No, it's, it's, there's no way people know whether or not that scope was on when he was pulling that trigger. There's no way you know. When I went to Dealey Plaza, it's so big in our public imagination. It's not. It's not. You go to, like, this is it. It's tiny. It's so small. And then you go up to the museum and you're on the sixth floor deposit, the book depository, and you look down and they have an X, the two X's in the street and you think that's just right there. Dude, I could shoot that with an arrow. I bet you could. I can. Yeah. I guarantee you. If you give me some time, you give me some time. If you put a target right where that thing was, right where that Lincoln was and you put me in that window, I guarantee I hit that target with a bow. Right. With the idea that you couldn't, and I'm holding it, not no rest. Right. The idea that you couldn't do that with a, with a rifle. Right. You certainly could. Lee Harvey Oswald certainly could have done it. He certainly could have shot at Kennedy. He was a crazy fuck. Lee Harvey Oswald was involved in a lot of shady shit. It wasn't like he was just some dentist somewhere. And he scored the second, according to the posternary, he scored the second highest marksmanship. There it is right here to here, right? Dude, that's so small. That is such a short distance. Then the other question I had when you're coming up Houston street and going left, I always wondered why he didn't shoot him there when the car's coming right at him. What was in the other window? He was in the window on the left hand side. He was over there. No, no, no, no. It's, uh-uh. It's over here? Yeah. It's right there. That's where he shot him from that window there. Yeah. Yep. So I always wondered why he didn't shoot him when the car was coming right at him. Cause that would have been a cleaner shot, it seems to me. Head on, you mean? Yeah. Yeah. Um, maybe we want to shoot him in the back of the head. Does it have a, like a sniper? It's maybe panic. It's that upper right. Yeah. It's the upper right one. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. When we drove through it, when a last time, not last time was in Dallas a couple of times ago, but when we drove through it, it's like, it's eerie. You're like, wow. Yeah. It all happened right here. I've been twice there and there's always a conspiracy people walking around that they're looking for a tip. So I gave this guy 10 bucks ago. All right. Give me the whole story. And oh, it was very entertaining. Okay. Here's the grassy, no, the pickety fence. Yeah. And he had another one about this May. He took the manhole cover off. He goes, there was somebody down here in the manhole. Oh, pop that BAM shot him, went back down to the manhole. My favorite dumb conspiracy is they believe that the driver turned around and shot. That's the best one. Yeah. Those are the faces, faces fake people. You're always going to get a bunch of really wacky conspiracies whenever anything happens in the news.