It seems to me…
“I love conspiracy theories. I used to just live on it. You know it’s all hype and garbage, but you’re still really paranoid afterwards. It’s fun entertainment.” ~ Doug Stanhope.
It now has been 50 years since President John (Jack) F. Kennedy was assassinated. I had not voted for him for president in 1960. Being in the Air Force and stationed in Okinawa at a time when China was threatening to invade Taiwan and shelling the islands of Quemoy and Matsu, I felt Nixon would more strongly defend a U.S. ally. On the radio, I felt Nixon came across slightly better than Kennedy in their debates. Only later when I was able to actually see the televised debates did I reverse my opinion.
During the one thousand days of his presidency, I went from being a Kennedy skeptic to supporter. Jack and his wife, Jackie, had more charisma than any national figure before or since. While today everyone is aware of his many peccadilloes – health, sex, etc. – these were largely overlooked at the time. What we saw was a president and his family, along with the advisors and brain trust surrounding the executive office, who were intelligent, photogenic, physically active…
Now, a half century after his death, questions still remain regarding exactly what happened on that fateful day in Dallas. There must be quite a few gullible people out there but a category totally unto themselves are the “conspiracy theorists”. John Wilkes Booth did not act alone when he murdered President Lincoln. President Obama was not born in the U.S., is a Moslem, and a socialist. Flying saucers are zipping around abducting people and we have one at Area 51 in Nevada. President Kennedy was murdered by the CIA. The 9/11 attack was staged by the U.S. The U.S. moon landing was faked… Give me a break.
It is the nature of these types of events that doubts always will remain. Regardless of evidence to the contrary, some people either refuse to accept facts or choose to interpret them in some manner totally at odds with what most people believe to obviously be true.
A conspiracy theory is “a proposed plot by powerful people or organizations working together in secret to accomplish some (usually sinister) goal”[i]. Some people will believe anything and the more far-fetched it may seem, the stronger their belief. Even more strange, conspiracy theorists apparently are able to support mutually conflicting beliefs: Princess Di was murdered by a rogue M16 cell but faked her own death and still is alive.
My dad was very involved in the investigation and subsequent prosecution in the kidnapped and murdered of Charles & Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s infant child. Conspiracy theorists still refuse to accept the evidence, conviction, and execution. Though the infant’s body was positively identified by the Lindberghs, some claim he still is alive.
Some conspiracy theories occasionally are encouraged by the media. The BBC, who I normally consider highly credible, in an interview with my dad while he was living in an assisted-living center, totally distorted what he said. I was there throughout the interview and could not believe how they selectively edited his remarks to make it sound as if he doubted the outcome of the trial. He never had any doubts as to Bruno Hauptman’s guilt and said he was so confident, he would have pulled the switch himself. He obviously did not like Hauptman (who he called an arrogant SOB) and several times told me Hauptman privately had bragged to him that unless he confessed, they never could execute him. Guess he was wrong…
Conspiracy theorists never will accept the truth and continue to support their favored interpretation of all available evidence. Perhaps the best proof contrary to these theories is that everyone knows how difficult it is for even three men to keep a secret – especially if they are married. The possibility of the truth not eventually being disclosed when a larger group is involved should give anyone cause to doubt these theories.
That’s what I think, what about you?
[i] Wood, Michael J., Karen M. Douglas, and Robbie M. Sutton. Dead and Alive: Beliefs in Contradictory Conspiracy Theories, Social Psychological and Personality Science, September 2012, http://spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/01/18/1948550611434786.abstract.