The assassination of President John F. Kennedy was “the overthrow of the government, it was coup d'état in America.”
So declared Dr. Cyril Wecht, the famous forensic pathologist -- to the applause of about 300 people attending his presentation on the Kennedy assassination Tuesday night at DeSales University in Center Valley, Lehigh Co.
“The assassination of John F. Kennedy was plotted and executed by people in this country,” said Wecht.
“Jack Kennedy was going to be around for five more years – no question – followed by eight years of Bobby Kennedy—almost certainly.”
He said there was no way in the world that “super, super patriots” were going to sit back and allow the Kennedys to move the country politically and ideologically for 13 years.
He said the Kennedys – and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, who like Bobby Kennedy, was assassinated in 1968 -- were undefeatable.
“You could not beat the Kennedys with their charm, their charisma, their power, their money, their colleagues, their friends, the constituencies that fell in line. There was only one way to eliminate that. That was through physical assassination.”
Wecht, one of the nation’s leading experts on the assassination of the president, spoke with so much passion about Kennedy’s death that someone walking into the middle of his talk might have thought he was talking about someone killed just last week, rather than nearly 50 years ago.
The 50th anniversary of his assassination will be observed in November. He was killed on Nov. 22, 1963, while riding in a motorcade through Dallas, Texas.
Wecht told the audience he could not give them the name of the person behind the assassination of the Kennedy brothers. “I probably would be afraid if I knew the name. But there are some people that are very suspect, who were high ranking in the CIA at that time.”
Wecht said it is naïve to suggest that the true reasons for the assassination should have leaked out by now. He said “super spies” would never talk about it, but would do it “for the best of reasons in your mind, to save your country, which is going to hell in a basket under the Kennedys.”
He noted at the time some leading U.S. military leaders were advocating dropping nuclear bombs on Russia and that people opposed Kennedy’s views on civil rights and voting rights. Some also didn’t like the president just because he was Catholic.
“This was the social-political climate in our country.”
Wecht indicated no other president in his lifetime has had as much public support as John Kennedy.
Oswald not alone?
Wecht said history and political science books in high schools and colleges report Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin, but every poll taken from the late 60s until the present shows the American people do not agree.
He said the latest poll, done late last year, shows 85 percent of Americans do not believe Oswald was the sole assassin.
‘There’s not 85 percent of people in America who think that apple pie, baseball, motherhood and sex is a good idea, but 85 percent of Americans reject the Warren Commission report.”
He encouraged his audience to read several different books about the Kennedy assassination, including those defending the Warren Commission report -- which concludes Oswald alone did it -- and come to their own conclusion about whether it is possible for one person “to shoot from that window, with that weapon, to produce those wounds” in 5.6 seconds.
He said the bolt-action rifle Oswald supposedly used takes 2.3 seconds from shot to shot when fired by the best marksmen in the country. But Gov. John Connally of Texas, who was sitting in front of the president in the open motorcade car, was shot 1.5 second after Kennedy was hit.
He said Oswald flunked his first marksmanship test in the U.S. Marines and got the equivalent of a C-minus the second time he took it.
Wecht believes two shooters killed the president that day in Dallas, one from the rear --. “I personally don’t believe it was Oswald” – and one from the picket fence behind the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas. “At least four shots were fired, quite possibly five,” he said. “The president was hit in the head twice.”
As Wecht went frame by frame through the famous Zapruder film of the assassination, Kennedy is first seen grabbing his throat. Many in the audience gasped in horror when the front of the president’s head exploded in blood and gore.
Wecht called that film the single most important piece of evidence in the entire case.
Wecht shot big holes in the single bullet theory, that the same bullet killed the president and wounded the governor. “He called it “scientific nonsense – a forensic folly of the highest order.”