‘Dallas 1963:’ ripe for an assassination but not to blame

I always thought those liberal pundits who blamed the conservative city of Dallas for JFK’s assassination spoke too glibly. A recent review of Bill Minutaglio and Steven Davis’ book, Dallas 1963, in the Charleston Post and Courier got it right I think.

“While Dallas bore a large portion of the blame and backlash for Kennedy’s death, how much was the city to blame? If one believes Oswald to be the assassin, his ties to the city were not deep. If one embraces the idea of a conspiracy, it is generally considered to extend well beyond the borders of the city.”

 

The book, unfortunately, is not so nuanced, with the authors dressing up the conventional lone gunman theory with the contorted argument that Oswald, a didactic, self-taught, pro-civil rights socialist was somehow inspired to murder by the city’s pervasive racism and anti-communism. Of the many implausible features of the official theory, that is among the most implausible of all.

Reviewer Michael Nelson is more precise.

“But the mood of political rage and hatred in Dallas surely provided a ripe environment for such a tragedy. The contempt for Kennedy and intolerance for differing views at that time can provide a lesson for us today, when political polarization and extremism are all too common.”

via The Post and Courier.

12 comments

  1. Jonathan says:

    Immediately following the assassination the idea took hold in the media that somehow Dallas was responsible for Kennedy’s murder.

    This idea fits perfectly with the disturbed lone gunman theory.

    I’ve always rejected it. Dallas, I’m sure, was no more racist or rightwing at the time than Chicago and many other cities. Furthermore, it was not redneck right wingers who fudged the autopsy or badgered witnesses, or re-wrote history.

  2. TLR says:

    There are people who believe in a conspiracy that originated in Texas, though I’m not one of them.

    However, the building at 411 Elm St, owned by oilman D.H. Byrd (who had ties with many powerful people), has a very interesting history:

    http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?docId=16259&relPageId=7

    • Jordan says:

      Wow….that description agrees 100% with my suspicions of what was going on at the TSBD.
      They had distribution routes in TX,OK,LA,AR and would make good cover.

      Are there any records of a search of the ‘second’ building they used that was down the side street a few hundred feet or so..?

      • TLR says:

        The warehouse behind the TSBD close to where Frazier parked his car? I know very little about it and have never seen any photos of it. As far as I know, there was no investigation of it.

    • leslie sharp says:

      There are a number of tracks leading from the book publishers that used the TSBD as a distribution facility that do not appear to be named in Weston’s material (I may have overlooked the references); one in particular leads directly to United Fruit. If I were involved with a transnational focused on Latin America, and I needed clandestine support of my expansionist efforts, I might use one of my closely held concerns to facilitate an agenda that may have required weapons, especially a concern situated in Texas where I could be assured of ideological sympathies. Jack Charles Cason and O.V. Campbell represent mysterious characters, as does Warren Caster, the manager of South West Publishing (not Southwest as indicated in Weston’s material unless I’m mistaken) with offices in the TSBD. Caster (tied to Coral Gables? along with the Ulmers?) by pure chance brought a new rifle into the depository building on Wednesday or Thursday to show Truly, and of all people invited to witness his newest Sears purchase? Lee Harvey Oswald. Does that suggest that Oswald had been talking rifles, weapons at work? Had Truly been talking rifles as well? Is the rifle dynamic in the public record other than a brief comment that was quickly dismissed by the Warren Commission, and are we simply required to use our common sense to question the advisability of actions by Caster and Truly and for that matte Oswald given the announced parade route. The convergence boggles the mind.

  3. Clarence Carlson says:

    I have to agree with your comments. The “political rage and hatred” was held up for national scrutiny after the assassination and I think that left a bad taste for many in this country, even though it didn’t necessarily tie into the event. Ironically if the Secret Service hadn’t illegally absconded with the presidents body, he would have certainly received a thorough and very competent forensic autopsy by Dr Rose the Dallas medical examiner. It was the one thing that Dallas had to offer.

  4. anonymous says:

    Kennedy’s death, how much was the city to blame?

    The “Big Event” could have been executed in few other cities. It might have happened in Chicago,
    (on November 2, 1963) during a Kennedy motorcade scheduled to take place from O’Hare International Airport to Soldier Field stadium:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attempted_assassination_of_John_F._Kennedy

    Black Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden said that details of the Chicago plot, which had led to Kennedy’s Chicago trip being cancelled, were not passed to Dallas Secret Service agents.

    Dallas Texas was a prime location – Almost half of the ( hundred ) men in Jack Crichton ‘s Military Intelligence Detachment were from the Dallas Police Department. Russ Baker describes how Dallas also had a continuity-of-government operation, that was fully equipped with communications equipment:
    http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/11/20/bush-and-the-jfk-hit-part-10-after-camelot/

    “Dallas, was no more racist or rightwing at the time than Chicago…”

    The KKK did not chose Chicago for its national headquarters – it chose Dallas. The managing editor of the Dallas Times Herald, resigned to become the Klan’s public relations director:
    “The Klan staged its grand parades down Main Street during the day and it terrorized at night, with cross burnings and whippings”
    http://www.dallasobserver.com/2013-10-10/news/how-the-morning-news-helped-dallas-become-the-city-of-hate/

  5. John Kirsch says:

    I feel a little strange recommending a book I haven’t read but I will anyway — “Jack Ruby,” by Garry Wills and Ovid Demaris, published in 1968. From what I understand the book offers a pretty comprehensive look at Ruby as an individual and as a resident of Dallas, which at the time was very much a city seeking respectability while tied to its wild, violent past.

  6. Ronnie Wayne says:

    Much is made about the parade turnout, rightfully so. Most of the people in Dallas had to work, take care of kids or were otherwise occupied. My Grandad worked for the railroad. That day, beside Stemmons Freeway between Dealy Plaza and Parkland. He knew the POTUS was coming but not when or where. Eating lunch he saw police go flying by with lights on and sirens going along with limo’s and other cars. Most of the people in Dallas didn’t know what to believe.
    Some knew more than others, on a need to know basis and through rumors. It’s well documented the Police and County Government were corrupt. LBJ had lot’s of useful friends there although the Petroleum Club and Bankers looked down on him as a paid employee (just my opinion from what I’ve read). Ruby and others paid off cops and officials and arranged for women, gambling and drugs for the elite to blow their money on. Dallas money owned and controlled the Dallas government. They still do, hence the “celebration” in Dealy Plaza 11/22/2013 Whatever cooperation was needed was afforded.

  7. S.R. "Dusty" Rohde says:

    How much was the City of Dallas to blame? Dallas was a city overflowing with bigotry and big oil (profiteering) corruption. But that doesn’t implicate guilt on the cities part in the assassination. No….any blame applied to the City of Dallas will come directly from their complicity in the Big Event. Like allowing the body of JFK to be removed prior to an autopsy by law. Or the transfer of State control of physical evidence into Federal hands, (which the CIA and other agencies refuse to release even to this day). Or the complicity of evading a legal trial and enabling the formation and substitution of the Warren Commission, a fraudulent misreresentation of trial by jury. Or perhaps more simply to the degree which evidence was manipulated or falsified by the Dallas PD or Sheriffs department. Do these things mean Dallas was to blame? Perhaps “Enablers” is a more fitting description.

  8. Hugh says:

    “conservative city of Dallas”? Was the popularity of separate but equal, the forerunner to Apartheid, an all embracing definition of American conservatism or indeed, Republicanism in 1963? A bit hard on conservatives in general, to implicate them all just to avoid using the word racist.

  9. Ramon F Herrera says:

    The topic is whether Texas was/is different. Was it accurate to call Dallas “The City of Hatred”?

    This was written 20 years ago:

    “The advertisement was sponsored by the First National Bank of Dallas” (not of Chicago!)

    “Dallas already had a reputation for roughing up Democrats. In the 1960 campaign, Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Lady Byrd, were spat on by a group of housewives.”

    I have trouble visualizing Illinois ladies performing such endeavor.

    http://goo.gl/s0Reom

    “Now a Republican stronghold, Dallas had voted 62 per cent for Nixon in 1960.”

    That electoral situation has been slowly but surely evolving. In fact, of all the large Texas cities:

    – Houston
    – San Antonio
    – Austin
    – Dallas
    – Forth Worth
    – El Paso

    The only one where voters still (2012) prefer the GOP is upscale Forth Worth. IOW: This map can be seen as a vanishing species:

    http://www.cnn.com/election/2012/results/state/TX#president

    Gurus tell us about the inevitability of that map undergoing a chromatic transformation, with dates and everything.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

In seeking to expand the range of informed debate about the events of 1963 and its aftermath, JFKFacts.org welcomes comments that are factual, engaging, and civil. more