Did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone?
via AP

Did Lee Harvey Oswald act alone?

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The release of the JFK files―previously classified government documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy―threw gasoline on the fire of conspiracy theorists everywhere. Many argue there is no way Lee Harvey Oswald could have murdered the president without help, and the majority of Americans do not trust the Warren Commission's conclusion that Oswald acted alone. But others say JFK conspiracy theorists are just as deluded as 9/11 truthers. What do you think? 

The Votes Are In!

According to FiveThirtyEight, only 33 percent of Americans believe that one man was responsible for Kennedy's assassination.

A majority, 61 percent, think that others were involved in a conspiracy. In pretty much every demographic, most respondents believed that Oswald didn’t act alone.

But others point to modern forensic evidence as well as Occam's Razor.

The evidence is overwhelming that there was only one shooter that day and that his name was Lee Harvey Oswald.
The more we find out the real facts, the more we must conclude that the much simpler and less exciting version of the story is the one which is actually true.

Branko Marcetic argues in Jacobin that the conspiracy theories surrounding both JFK and 9/11 are ridiculous, but also serve a purpose in the American psyche: it actually reassures us in some ways to believe in them.

On the one hand, [conspiracy theories] are oddly comforting things, imposing a sinister yet comprehensible order on chaotic, sometimes messy and random, events. They also convince us that the real problems lie somehow outside us, that evil is perpetuated by some shadowy “other.” On the other hand, conspiracy theories serve as a useful distraction, a safety valve where ordinary people’s attention and energy can be directed. 

But there are still so many unanswered questions surrounding the assassination. Most Americans simply don't trust the government to be honest about what really happened.

For example, a newly discovered memo by J. Edgar Hoover is raising some questions.

J. Edgar Hoover, then director of the FBI...dictated a memo saying, "The thing I am concerned about, and so is [deputy attorney general Nicholas] Katzenbach, is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin." 
It's not clear if Hoover used those words in an effort to curb public confusion and conspiracy theories, or if he thought the assassination could have been part of a larger plot.

Others are tired of the endless and baseless speculation.

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