JFK resources online

2013-11-11T06:00:00Z JFK resources onlineBy KEITH DARNAY Bismarck Tribune
November 11, 2013 6:00 am  • 

If you haven't already grown weary of all the John Kennedy assassination 50th anniversary media hype and hoopla, there are some places online that can give you a more intimate perspective on the Nov. 22, 1963, tragedy.

These are places that hold "source" material; that is, copies of original documents, images and evidence related to the murder.

It's amazing, really. Today, thanks to the Internet, you can access materials that, a few decades earlier, could only be touched by law enforcement or government officials with special clearance.

Yet, even with the wealth of information available, there are still assassination files that are kept from public view in the name of "national security," despite the passage of half a century.

You can conduct your own investigation into the killing and draw your own conclusions based on available source material.

That material, by the way, appears to help dispel many of the conspiracy theories that have grown around the Kennedy assassination.

In particular, the case for Lee Harvey Oswald as the only person who shot and killed Kennedy is strengthened by the available evidence.

And while there remain several unanswered questions, it would seem the answers have less to do with a grand conspiracy and more with fear and perception.

It's a fact various government agencies had encounters with Oswald prior to Nov. 22, 1963. Much of this was due to Oswald's defection to Russia, his return to the U.S. with a Russian wife and his involvement in pro-Cuba activities.

A noisy, self proclaimed Marxist would certainly attract government interest during the height of the Cold War.

Most of these encounters were likely routine and forgettable.

But they suddenly took on a new importance after Oswald killed the president.

The American public certainly would not have been happy to learn the CIA, FBI and other agencies not only knew of Oswald, but had been in contact with him prior to the assassination.

With hindsight, the inevitable question would be asked: If you knew about Oswald, how in the world did you let him slip by and kill the president?

Thus, these agencies kept their knowledge of Oswald as secret as possible.

As has been pointed out over the years, tapes were erased, memos were destroyed and evidence had disappeared.

Grand conspiracy to kill the president?

No, it's something worse: Bureaucracy trying to hide its mistakes.

Hubris, lack of interagency cooperation, lack of communication — all these little failures created a hole big enough for an otherwise forgettable man to crawl through and kill a nation's leader.

Today, people like Oswald get a lot of investigative attention from federal, state and local officials when the president is involved.

But it took an Oswald for authorities to learn how to watch for individuals like Oswald.

Below are websites worth visiting to get to the source material that can help you judge for yourself what the evidence has to say.

Dallas Municipal Archives


This is a collection of more than 11,000 Dallas Police Department documents and photographs related to the Kennedy assassination, including homicide reports, affidavits, witness statements, newspaper clippings and correspondence. A lot of the conspiracy theories are based on these documents.

Texas History: Assassination Records


A rescanned collection of evidence from the Dallas Municipal Archives.

Images include notes, documents, photos and other papers taken from Lee Oswald's home, various crime scene photos and more. These are enhanced scans of the Dallas Police files, meaning photos are clearer and documents are more legible.

JFK Assassination Records


From the National Archives, a "one-stop shop" for the Warren Commission Report, the House Select Committee on Assassinations Report and the Assassination Records Review Board documents. Includes photos, video and audio.

Warren Report Testimony


Links to the text of the report, along with transcripts of eyewitness testimony of people who said they saw Oswald shooting from the Texas School Book Depository, Oswald shooting Dallas Police Officer Tippit, Oswald fleeing into the Texas Theatre and more.

The Kennedy Assassination


From John McAdams, a political science professor at Marquette University.

It is probably one of the best and most comprehensive resources for information about the Kennedy assassination on the Internet. The primary focus of the site is to debunk misinformation and disinformation surrounding the assassination.

History Matters


This site is fairly strong on the side of conspiracies with respect to the Kennedy assassination. But it does have great online versions of the various government investigations into the killing starting with the Warren Commission Report.

Dallas Morning News: JFK50


A collection of interviews, artifacts and multimedia focusing on the impact and legacy of the Kennedy assassination 50 years later.

The Sixth Floor Museum


A useful repository of Kennedy assassination information and material.

(Keith Darnay has worked in the online world for more than a decade, the traditional media world for a few decades more and manages the online department and website for the University of Mary. His own site, featuring this column going back to 1995, is at www.darnay.com.)

Copyright 2015 Bismarck Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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