Seeking the truth behind the JFK tragedy

President John F. Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago today in Dallas.
MCT Regional News
Nov 22, 2013
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Barb Junkkarinen emerges from the bedroom with the gift her husband and son gave her one Christmas.

It’s a 1940 Italian-made rifle, like the one Lee Harvey Oswald fired from a sixth-floor window at the Texas School Book Depository, killing President John F. Kennedy on an autumn afternoon in Dallas. He’d spirited the weapon into the building by disguising it as a curtain rod.

“This is how Oswald carried his package,” she says, holding the butt of the rifle low, the way witnesses described. “He had it cupped in his hand, like this.”

Junkkarinen’s husband, Juha, and son, Jason, nod at the demonstration they’ve seen again and again. They help adjust the unloaded weapon just so. They point out there’s also a scope and ammunition.

Over more than half her lifetime, Barb Junkkarinen has made a hobby of delving into rumors, theories and contradictory facts that swirl around a killing that continues to titillate — and divide — Americans on the 50th anniversary of the events of Nov. 22, 1963.

In the world of online Kennedy discussion groups, she learned “lurkers” tune in but never post; “fringies” attribute a political motive to every turn; false witnesses claim to have been places they haven’t. Those who believe Oswald acted alone are “lone-nutters.”

And people like Junkkarinen are CTs, for conspiracy theorists.

She has amassed a trove of artifacts: autopsy reports, investigation documents, shelves of books and photos, and a model of the Lincoln Continental limousine Kennedy rode in when he was shot in Dealey Plaza. There’s also a life-sized plastic model of a human skull she uses to make detailed arguments about bullet entry and exit.

Inside her Portland-area home office, she avidly dissects the latest theories of the paranoid and the emotionally unstable.

They include those who believe Kennedy was first hit in the throat with a bullet made of ice; that a man in Dealey Plaza fatally wounded the president with a dart fired from an umbrella; and that J. Edgar Hoover attended a party the night before the assassination celebrating JFK’s imminent demise.

Junkkarinen rejects those theories. She blames gangsters and spies.

———

Junkkarinen, 62, can still picture where she heard the news: She was 12 years old, a seventh-grader sitting in the second seat in the row by the window at a Catholic school in San Diego. A superior whispered into the ear of her teacher, whose freckled face instantly turned red.

The nuns instructed students to say Hail Marys on Kennedy’s behalf. Later, after Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby, Junkkarinen heard her father say, “Something’s just not right here.”

She recalls thinking: “Nothing’s right about any of it, Dad.”

By age 15, she’d read the lengthy report published by the Warren Commission, which had conducted the investigation of the killing. She graduated high school and studied to become a medical laboratory technician. She married Juha and moved to Oregon. She would read each new book that purported to solve the Kennedy assassination.

The year 1980 brought a turning point: “Best Evidence: Disguise and Deception in the Assassination of John F. Kennedy” by David Lifton, which focused on medical evidence she understood, with descriptions from attending doctors on the locations of JFK’s wounds. Junkkarinen checked it out of the library and read it three times.

She eventually dismissed Lifton’s central premise — that the president’s body had been altered to suggest gunshots fired from the rear, as a way to help prove the government’s argument that Oswald alone killed JFK. But the book led her to pursue theories of her own.

Junkkarinen came to believe JFK’s death was not the result of a lone killer, a view shared by many. A nationwide Associated Press-GfK poll of 1,004 adults in April found that 59 percent thought multiple people participated in a conspiracy to kill Kennedy, while 24 percent thought Oswald acted alone. About 16 percent were unsure.

Junkkarinen argues there were two conspiracies.

The first, she says, involved a network of gangsters or spies who executed the killing. The second was a cover-up by Cold War-era government officials convinced that Americans were incapable of understanding how such a network could assassinate the president.

A lawyer who has written a book about conspiracies says such theories apply a sensible narrative to troubling historical puzzles like the Kennedy killing, which was the first to mesmerize the entire nation on television.

“There’s the suggestion everything changed after the JFK assassination,” says Mark Fenster, author of “Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture.”

And the hero in any conspiracy narrative, says Fenster: “The person who solves the puzzle.”

Junkkarinen says she’s not trying to be a hero. “We work quietly and diligently,” she says. “The point is not to say ‘I got it!’ We simply want to know the truth.”

———

Junkkarinen’s research has taken her to Kennedy archives and to Dealey Plaza. She speaks at conferences and advises fellow conspiracy theorists on their theories.

“In a field known for hysterics, Barb is grounded,” said Josiah Thompson, a fellow conspiracy theorist and author of the 1967 book “Six Seconds in Dallas.” Thompson is a former Yale philosophy professor who became a private investigator.

“She patrols down the center of the freeway of reasoned debate on this topic,” he said, “pointing out all the nuttiness along the way.”

In one paper published by a group devoted to Kennedy assassination followers, Junkkarinen explains that the small gadgets found in Dealey Plaza today are not government eavesdropping devices, as an online poster claimed, but water sprinkler sensors.

Junkkarinen’s family and friends have supported her work. Both husband and son have served as presidential stand-ins, lying atop a gurney with a taped-on plastic wound, when she needed a model for presentations with titles such as “The Back of Kennedy’s Head.”

During one talk at her home, friends flinched when she produced the autopsy photos. A psychologist had trouble sleeping for weeks.

“I guess she didn’t realize all that goes into an autopsy,” Junkkarinen says.

———

Sitting at her desk, Junkkarinen surveys half a dozen storage boxes of Kennedy materials spread across the floor.

“Now, where is that skull?” she says of the item she ordered from a medical supply company. She says it provides context, like the carbine.

When Junkkarinen got the Oswald rifle, her mother asked, “What do you want with that? Let the man be dead.”

Junkkarinen took the rifle, widely known as a Mannlicher-Carcano, to a shooting range and fired it. The weapon “kicks like a mule,” she says. While she believes Oswald carried the gun into the book depository, she calls him a pawn and theorizes he never fired the weapon that day.

She says shooting the rifle has bolstered her contention that it could not have been fired three times in just seconds, as the government claims. “That’s my approach,” she says. “I want to see and hold things for myself.”

She never finds the skull but shows off a gift from Jason — a mock front page from the satirical publication The Onion with the headline: “Kennedy Slain by CIA, Mafia, Castro, LBJ, Teamsters, Freemasons: President shot 129 times from 43 different angles.”

Junkkarinen smiles. She gets the humor.

Like the late-night phone call from a woman with a cigarette-tinged voice: “I just want you to know you’re right,” she whispered, “and I can prove it.” Or the day Jason, now 26, came home from school with a question from his teacher, Sister Mary Ann:

“Why would a second-grader be able to spell the word ‘assassination’?”

———

By John M. Glionna - Los Angeles Times (MCT)

©2013 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments

zt9p.com

Most country boy's that know anything about shooting a gun know that when you shoot something from the back, it moves from the back to the front, & when you shoot something from the front, it falls from the front to the back, right.?? ummmmmmmmmmm, ok..

44846GWP

right?........no. It's been proven over and over that he was hit in the head from behind.

hit the road jack

Everyone knows you can't buy a 29.95 gun from a sears catalogue and go out and pull this off,no wonder no one trusts our govt. they cannot even lie with a straight face. not only that,why is the govt. witholding their files on this,even the Kennedy family would like to see them(supposedly) I know I sure as hell would.

Contango

Re: "you can't buy a 29.95 gun from a sears catalogue"

Why didn't he just walk into a Dallas gun shop and buy one?

Oswald said that he was a "patsy."

How did Jack Ruby fit into it?

Cliff Cannon

The simplest answer, is almost always the hardest answer for most human's to believe. To wit : You can tell someone there are a billion stars in the sky and they will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet and they will touch it.


Obviously, none of us want a simple loser like 'harvey lee Oswald ' as RFK called him. To have brought down the king of Camelot, yet, I despite being a Kennedy-aholic now think he probably did.


Certainly, everything about JFK's murder rings out loudly " It was a contract murder " Particularly, the parts played by H.L. Hunt, Clint Murchison ,l.b.j., Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush and Allen Dulles.


Worse, THE only man ever appointed President---Gerald Ford, served on the ' Warren Commission' which obviously, reeks of 'returning the favor ' to Ford, by someone


No matter, who one thinks shot JFK, this much is certain. The America of Nov.21,1963 and the America of Nov. 23,1963 were vastly different places. Toss in Watergate & Vietnam and the stew that makes us all somewhat, if not very, suspicious of our own government was cooked.

Contango

The United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (1976) "concluded that Kennedy was very likely assassinated as a result of a conspiracy."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uni...

44846GWP

Agree Cliff. When I was younger I thought it was a conspiracy too. But now facts are what walk the walk. There is no evidence that anyone but Oswald shot Kennedy. No evidence that anyone helped him. Oswald killed Kennedy, plain and simple, like the person Oswald was.

hit the road jack

There isn't anyone who can shoot 3 shots with a single shot rifle that fast,NO ONE! its been proved and tried time and time again.

44846GWP

It was NOT a single shot rifle. And yes its been proven over and over the shots were very possible. Where do you get your info?! Get educated on this before you speak. Makes you look very ignorant.

hit the road jack

I seen a special with military veterans that tried the same gun and tried to fire 3 shots and couldn't do it and said it was not possible,also heard others talk of the magic bullet that couldn't be done by one person.
Where do you seem to know so much anyway? you should find credible people or evidence before running your gums about something you know nothing about.

Cliff Cannon

My grandmother was from Ramsey, Ill. same hometown as H.L. Hunt and even had a date or 2 with him. Said he always was a jerk.


Hunt's Dallas office was on the motorcade route.( It is believed he watched the motorcade pass by and he if truly was involved. Must of had a dastardly smile on his face ) It also should be believed at least mentally JFK flipped him off.


Obviously, Hunt was taken by the FBI from Dallas for at least a month after the murder. Why ? So the aforementioned group in my prior comment, certainly would be my place to start looking for guilty parties.


Of course, the question " why " or better yet " Who " ? shall ring in American minds forever. For me, I just had to simplify to Oswald,who the house committee on assassinations said did it ( with help )


So, I for one can not debate who shot JFK, for the simplest of reasons: Everyone's conclusions in this cottage industry of questions, have validity. I will urge everyone though if you ever have the chance to drive the motorcade route--- do it ! It is one of the weirdest, most stomach turning, emotionally moving drives you will ever take


Bottom line for me is this : American's lost our innocent faith in our own government on Nov.22,1963 and we will never get it back

Contango

Re: "American's lost our innocent faith in our own government on Nov.22,1963 and we will never get it back."

Agreed. A correlation between that day and a rising distrust in govt. can be made.

The Vietnam War period was the most politically divisive this country had seen since the Civil War.

My formative yrs. were IMO, spent under the two worst back-to-back administrations in U.S. History – LBJ and Nixon.

There is no putting the jinn back in the bottle and Frank Church has left the building.

Really are you ...

Movies are movies, but, have you guys ever watched the movie, Shooter? That guy was a marine sniper, left for dead in a foreign country. He makes it back to the states and lives in backwoods America. Minding his own business, a high ranking officer and politician ask him what would he do if... He told them how he would accomplish this feat. This marine was setup from the very beginning. Sad, yes, Oswald could have been setup in this type of way.

44846GWP

No he could not. Read up on Oswald, he was a messed up hot head. He acted alone.

Contango

Re: "He acted alone."

And you KNOW this with 100% metaphysical certainty how?

Really are you ...

My point is government coverup. I did not read up on Oswald, this is only a blogging section. The government has never lied to its people before. Going from what you say, Oswald was a messed up hot head. Perfect scapegoat, right. One magic bullet, right. Oswald did not live long enough to tell his version, right.

Other government coverups. Clinton and Lewinski. "I did not have a sexual relationship with this woman." Or Clinton smoked marijuana but didn't inhale. Which was it? President Bush and the WMD's in Iraq. All of the false flags on September 11, 2001. We believed the government and fueled a war out of rage. But were we receiving the truth? In hind sight maybe, maybe not. Here is another example of what we have all been lead to believe. This is not political but science based. Since elementary school we have been taught northern and southern hemispheres, right, north and south poles. On a compass the needle points magnetic north. If you take two magnets and try to put the two north poles together, it does not work, they repel each other. Then how can a needle on a compass point north? It should be pointing south. Or is the earth rotating around the sun upside down? Which one is lying? This is what we have been lead to believe as true. The assassination of President Kennedy could be the same way. A government coverup that has lead us to believe what is true, which is not.

Cliff Cannon

The disputatious nature of who shot JFK, will echo as long as there is an America. So whomever you think shot JFK as well as why did they is fine by me.


So may I add a different question to this debate ? Obviously, we all have studied revolutions in a vast number of country's. So we know coup d'état's in search of power happen.


Then, we all have seen how many low life unqualified, backstabbers seeking power in our workplaces ? So we know that irresistible quest for power, no matter the cost or rank resides in a vast number of our fellow humans.


Toss in the fact that 3 American Presidents were murdered in 36 years (Which is to say we shouldn't be surprised Presidential murder) and that leads to this question: " Why was J.F.K.'s murder so incredibly damaging to our national psyche ? "

Contango

Re: "Why was J.F.K.'s murder so incredibly damaging to our national psyche ?"

A confluence of reasons, but one in particular for some may be that LHO never had his day in court leaving many questions unanswered.

The other 3 three presidential murders and the several attempts were fairly well cut n' dried as to the person or persons involved.

One that we're not positive regarding who was the intended target involved Joseph Zangara.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giu...

I agree, a coup 'may' have occurred on 11/22/63. The CIA's power and influence has only grown more powerful since.

Aside: Rumor has it that Israel apparently inspected Saudi air bases. Future Iranian strike sites?

Cliff Cannon

Add this to the 'confluence of reasons ' T.V. Obviously, the pageantry of a Presidential funeral done as well as Jackie did for JFK on never ending television, will be inspiring as long as there is an America.


Of course, dying in full view of a disbelieving public is as dramatic as it gets. Believe it or not THE most watched television event by an individual person over say 40 is the Zapruder film of JFK dying. No doubt, you've seen it at least 75 times if you've seen it once.


So to put it mildly, that sticks. Toss in the untold number of "coincidence's " that the average American can tell you about JFK's case and one is left with the detective mystery of the ages. And of course, the best ending to any mystery is " what if " ?


Which leaves us tantalized by every aspect of his made to order for television life. In short, he shall live forever clutching his throat in Dallas,while countless gazzilions holler " duck ! "

Cliff Cannon

P.S. Seen the movie " Guns of Zangara " (turns out to be the " Untouchables " t.v. show.) as a youngster. So I was interested in that event in my Chicago days. Even thought " Cermak " was a pretty cool street. Glad he didn't hit FDR.


Israel at it again .Yuck