Thursday, 24 October 2013
Incompetence Vs Conspiracy
Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
This quote from Napoleon Bonaparte is relevant in the context of a new book written by an Australian ex-detective.
The gist of the story is that John Kennedy was actually killed by a member of his own security detail on November 22nd in 1963.
That, on the face of it, sounds far-fetched, but given the variety and range of conspiracy theories produced since the Kennedy assassination, it’s at least as credible as most.
The interesting point, of course, is that he claims incompetence, rather than a malicious conspiracy, killed Kennedy, and given my personal experience and memories of the weapon in question, I find it strangely compelling.
Put briefly, McClaren (the author) claims that although Kennedy was wounded by a shot fired by Lee Harvey Oswald from the book depository, the shot that killed him was actually an accidental discharge from an AR-15 carried by agent George Hickey who was traveling in the open-topped vehicle following Kennedy’s car in the motorcade.
He bases this on ballistic evidence, and claims that he went to the case in the same way as he did as a detective, with no pre-conceived ideas, and relying purely on verifiable fact.
McClaren claims that the shot that killed Kennedy was a hollow point high velocity round fired from a .223 AR-15, a weapon which in 1963 was a novelty to the security detail. He says that Hickey was not trained on it and was carrying it for the first time on 22nd November 1963.
Occasionally I carried an Armalite rifle 40+ years ago. The Armalite is the military version of the Colt AR-15. I remember that the rotating safety switch had three positions – safe, semi and full auto. Safe was 180 degrees across from full auto. I remember an incident in my unit when a digger (a company clerk) went out on an overnight TAOR patrol carrying an Armalite.
In theory, he was trained on it (a couple of sessions in rookies in Oz), but had never carried the weapon in country.
On the way out through the wire, the clerk tripped, the weapon discharged on full auto, and the high velocity rounds did terrible mischief to the lower leg of the digger in front of him. This bloke was RTAd, and after extensive surgery, his leg was saved.
It was discovered that the weapon was on full auto, which the digger carrying it had confused with the 180 degrees opposite safe.
In the light of this memory, McClaren’s explanation of Kennedy’s death is entirely believable. It’s probably worth a read.
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