Meltzer argues in his book that
there’s a pattern. He believes that no matter how much proof a person has,
there is always going to be some other argument being made. Throughout this
semester, I have learned a great deal of conspiracy theories, as well as how to
apply them in the assassination of JFK. By using many sources in hand, I can
come to a conclusion that the conspiracy theory of the assassination of John F.
Kennedy is simply just a theory. Regardless to what Meltzer, Ferrell, and
Steiger have to say, all their “evidence” are not evidence and are just
assumptions without facts.

            Lastly, we have denialism and
goalpost moving. When conspiracy theorists try to build their case, they often
pick their preferred “evidence” and favor the less credible information. They
will accept expectations that are impossible to reach. Conspiracy theorists are
defined as individuals who do not like to hear the truth because they have
already made up their mind and therefore, they know what they want to hear.
They justify themselves by saying that they are simply only asking questions.

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            A few anomalies that are mentioned
in a book by Brad and Sherry Steiger are as follows. 1. The parade route was
changed at the last minute where Oswald was waiting. 2. There wasn’t enough
protection. 3. Zapruder film shows how Kennedy’s head was lunged with force
backward and to the left, which was abnormal since he was shot from the back.
4. After the assassination of the President, many people made statements saying
that they had seen individuals who claimed to be part of the Secret Service.
The Secret Service claim to have not been in Dealey Plaza at all. 

            The
lack of narrative hypothesis is also another way of spotting a conspiracy
theory. Conspiracy theories are usually created from rumors, disbelief,
abnormalities, and questions that can be reversed-engineered in order to
establish an impression of a bad or corrupt plan in progress. In science, when
we are trying to prove something we do it over tests and tests include having a
hypothesis. We propose a hypothesis and it is later on followed by doing
research. In conspiracy theories, the theorists have trouble trying to create a
hypothesis. They focus on other details and anomalies and acting as if each one
is an independent hypothesis. Therefore, this is why the John F. Kennedy
assassination has so many conspiracies. This conspiracy has so many anomalies
but cannot be merged into one suspect. For instance, the change or route,
Oswald being killed before a trial, and secret service protocols.

            Brad Meltzer, a well-known
conspiracists mentioned in one of his books that the magazine Life had issued and article along with a
photo of him holding a rifle, and holding a Marxists newspapers. Meltzer says
the newspapers were proof that Oswald could have been working with someone else
and also mentions that it is also proof of a conspiracy. Meltzer also mentions
that others say that the photo was altered. And in his own words, Meltzer says,
“c’mon . . . that proves a conspiracy even
more.”9 The author also implies
that the government is hiding something from the public when it comes to the
photo that was published in Life. Was
it altered or not? Meltzer says, “But c’mon- this is JFK- why trust the
government?”10
 

A
few of the “evidence” that conspiracy theorists believe support their theory
are, about 120 of individuals who witnessed the assassination have mysteriously
died, the doctors in Dallas should have formed an autopsy of Kennedy’s body but
the body was flown back to Washington, and after the assassination, many
individuals mentioned that they came across people who identified themselves as
Secret Service agents, to which the Secret Service claimed that no one was on the
ground in Dealey Plaza.

“Conspiracy
is always exactly as competent and powerful as the conspiracy theorist needs it
to be. If there’s no good evidence, that’s all part of the conspiracy’s plan.
And if there’s evidence that even an amateur wouldn’t have allowed through,
then that’s also part of their plan.”8

            Competence of the conspiracy. As I
said in the last paragraph, by the ability to enforce silence, conspiracy
theories assume that those who are involved are good at what they do. Such as
cleaning up, hiding evidence, covering their tracks, etc. In debating conspiracy
theorist, one of the problems is that the lack of evidence that can support a
conspiracy theory is also treated as “evidence” that supports a conspiracy
theory.

            Motive of the conspirators. A
conspiracy has to be arranged by people. These individuals who help with the
conspiracy do it because they hope to get something out of it. Yes, it
accomplishes the main goal but they also have something to gain from it for
themselves, maybe money, power, etc. A conspiracy theory requires the main
individual who will arrange the conspiracy and others as well who are willing
to comply. Depending on how large the conspiracy is, it may also cause some
problems such as the more people who are involved, the more exposure there is. “And
tying both conspiracies together rogue CIA agents, and the mafia. . . the
secret government, always working in the shadows behind the scenes to bring
about the ultimate goal, a One World Government.”7

            Purpose of the conspiracy is also a
way to spot a conspiracy. Individuals who also support event-conspiracy
theories have a difficult time describing what the conspiracy theory was trying
to accomplish. Theorists search for and individual who could have benefited
from the event and conspirators point their fingers at them. Who would have
benefited from the death of the President of the United States? Let’s say that it
was the Vice President. Then we would all seek for anomalies in Johnson’s
behavior in order to support the theory. 
“Motivations end up being reverse engineered. . .”6 Cui Bono? In other words, “To who’s benefit?” In whichever event
from history, conspiracy theorists will look at it from the perspective of the
future to where someone would have benefited from the event.

            Another way to spot a conspiracy is
the size of a conspiracy. Conspiracy theories need arrangements to be made,
which lead to big operations. Many conspiracy theorists ignore the amount of
individuals who would be involved, including money, time, and effort. We are
talking about many people having to keep this secret for the rest of their
lives and hoping no one talks about it. For Oswald to have been involved with
any individual, the Warren Commission and whomever else was involved, like
other investigators.

“. . . killed by a
small group or rogue CIA agents in retaliantion for passing National Secutiry
Action Memos 55, 56, and 57. . . These rogue agents also enlisted the aid of
dissatisfied member of military intelligence and angry Mafia mobsters who felt
betrayed by Kennedy when he failed to acknowledge their role in swinging the
Chicago vote during the 1960 presidential election.”5  

            Logical fallacies are the source of
incorrect conclusions as well as the foundation of conspiracist thinking. “When
an event happens, there’s an impulse to conclude that there was intent behind
it.”3  If an identification can be made, it can be
connected to that intent. For instance, untrustworthy individuals. John F.
Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald from a library building. Many
people refused to accept what had happened. Conspiracy theorists began to
speculate who might have a reason to kill him. Many began to seek for anomalies
in order to justify their own doubts. If President John F. Kennedy is
assassinated, it’s because an all mighty all-powerful decided that his time was
ending. Because conspiracy theorist believe that there is a greater cause to
why someone like President Kennedy died, and it is being hidden from the
public, they then search for evidence to support their theories. Conspiracy
theorist retract on anomalies regarding if the anomalies fit together or not.
They are more interested in having proof of the existence of a conspiracy than
distinguish the conspirators. “By ignoring the context in which information is
received, a possible future even can be made to look like an eventuality.”4  

            Individuals who deny that Oswald
shot John F. Kennedy are described as conspiracists and denialist because they
tend to deny the established explanation for what happened. They begin to
construe their thoughts and ideas for what actually
happened. Because conspiracy theorists are so well rooted in their denial of
the truth, event conspiracy theories are often never accordant with an entire
event. “. . . event conspiracies tend to tear down an accepted belief based on
anomalies and then try to build an alternate theory around their interpretation
of those anomalies.”2  Many conspiracy theorists have agreed that
Oswald was not responsible for the death of JFK, and if that’s the case then
who was? That is something that they cannot agree upon. The thought that it was
a one man only operation has been refused. Something I’ll get back to in a bit.
In order to discredit a few JFK theories, we must learn how to spot a
conspiracy.

            Event conspiracies makes the
proposition that certain, bizarre events didn’t happen as others believed but
was rather the creation of a conspiracy act. “When a wrong is committed, there
is an emotional demand for a culprit, and sometimes the true villain is not
emotionally satisfying or does not feel equal to the crime.”1 For instance, President
John F. Kennedy was a father, a husband, and also a powerful man who was
assassinated by a 24 year old man with a rifle. It is events like this that we
believe are historically significant and will affect the continuity of history.
We like to think that the world has an order and want for courses, actions, and
things to happen for a reason and therefore, we as human beings have an impulse
of believing that the assassination of the President United States must have
been the works of the CIA, or the Russians.

            While the conspiracy theorist of the
John F. Kennedy assassination run wild, it was the assassination of President
Lincoln that was a definite criminal conspiracy as there was more than one
person involved. The irony behind both assassinations is that John F. Kennedy’s
assassination was by one individual (Oswald) which has brought forth countless
theories about a secret or “classified” conspiracies. Lincoln’s assassination
on the other hand, was actually the result of conspiracy but it is remembered
as being the operation of a single gunman. Recognizing conspiracism can be very
helpful. No matter who they are, they are all attracted to conspiracies.
Although conspiracy theorists may range from young and old, there is one
specific trait, if they believe in one conspiracy they tend to believe in other
conspiracy theorists. Jonathan Kay, author of Among the Truthers interviewed 9/11 conspiracy theorist and found
out that they also believe that the assassination of President Kennedy was
conspired.

            Conspiracism and denialism are quiet
similar. Denialism concerns itself with disproving an accepted truth while
conspiracism introduces different theories of the truth. Another way of
defining conspiracy is, what is being developed when two or more individuals
arrange and unlawful activity or action. Conspiracies can be held responsible
for world changing events (such as the 9/11 attack or the assassination of JFK)
that captivate conspiracy theorists.

John
F. Kennedy was our 35th President of the United States as well as
the youngest President to ever be elected into office. Little did he know that
the end of his presidency would come sooner rather than later. John F. Kennedy
served as President from 1961 to 1963. 
He was then assassinated in Dallas, Texas in 1963. Many believe that his
assassination was conspired by many groups or individuals that worked together
with the president’s killer, such as rogue CIA agents, Mafia mobsters, and even
the FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Conspiracy Theorist such as Brad Meltzer,
believe that they have “solved the case”. However, I believe otherwise. In this
paper, I will discuss the element of conspiracy theories and apply them to JFK
conspiracy theories. Before getting into some conspiracies, we need to
understand what conspiracies are and how to detect one.