JFK’s Death, Hanlon’s Razor, And How Truth Gets Buried Forever

JFK Hickey

I am a student of Presidential assassinations (as you might guess by the posts on McKinley and Garfield), and have been most of my life, ever since I saw a TV special called “Web of Conspiracy” when I was 10, about the Lincoln murder. That led me to read the  best-selling book the special was based on, an 800 page, sensational analysis of the mysteries behind Lincoln’s death, by mystery writer Theodore Roscoe, who dabbled in history. The book’s theories and insinuating style are more convincing to a ten-year-old than an adult (I read the book many years later, and it drove me crazy), but the book still has a lot of fascinating tales and theories in it. I was hooked.

Oddly, the one Presidential assassination that has interested me least in recent years is the one I lived through, the assassination of President Kennedy. Blame Oliver Stone, Kevin Costner and Jim Garrison: “JFK” was the most dishonest movie I had ever watched (still is) and I walked out of it when its lies and distortions got too much for me about a third of the way through. Even before Stone’s brilliantly directed piece of crap. I was sick of the conspiracy theories, though Stone manufacturing a link to Lyndon Johnson was the final straw. Yes, the bitter Vietnam veteran really got back at LBJ; I hope it made him feel better. I, however, was soured on the whole topic.

I should have been paying more attention. Netflix is showing a documentary with the generic conspiracy theory title of “JFK: The Smoking Gun,” which was shown on cable two years ago. I missed it; if I had been aware of the film, the title and the subject matter—Oh, who’s behind it now? The Mafia? Nixon? Woody Harrelson’s father?—would have kept me away. But while I was on the road for a couple days doing ethics seminars for VACLE, my wife watched the documentary, and when I returned, sleep deprived, weak and submissive, she made me watch it.

Fascinating. And troubling.

Colin McLaren, a retired and well-credentialed Australian detective, decided to review the evidence, testimony and forensics in the now cold case. He was drawn to the theories of the late ballistics and firearms expert Howard Donahue, who was one of the marksmen challenged by CBS news to fire three shots and hit a moving target like Kennedy in the motorcade from Oswald’s distance using Oswald’s archaic, bolt-action rifle. Donohue was the only one who could do it, and that after two unsuccessful tries. Ironically, while  his shots proved that it was possible for Oswald to fire off three shots in 5.6 seconds, the difficulty of the challenge convinced him that Oswald couldn’t have done it. (In the revolting “JFK,” a test proves that nobody could fire off the shots. Yes, my hatred for this film, and its director, is deep.) That set Donohue on a quest to discover what the Warren Report and subsequent theories have missed. From the documentary’s website:

“The late American ballistics and firearms expert Howard Donahue believed that while Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin and he did indeed fire at President John F. Kennedy, the shot that mortally wounded Kennedy was accidentally fired by one of the Secret Service agents riding in the follow-up car behind the presidential limousine. Donahue also maintained that there was no conspiracy to kill the president. Donahue’s theory and his supporting arguments are the subject of a book by Bonar Menninger, MORTAL ERROR (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992). According to Donahue, Oswald only got off two shots. Oswald’s first shot, from a WWII Carcano rifle, hit the road near the limousine and showered the car with fragments, a ricochet hit Kennedy lightly in the head. Oswald’s second shot (the “Neck Shot”) struck the President in the back of the neck and passed right through him striking Texas Governor John Connally’s back, ribs, wrist and thigh and was found virtually intact on a stretcher at Parkland Hospital. Seconds later, Secret Service agent George Hickey accidentally discharged his AR 15 assault rifle in the follow-up car. This bullet hit Kennedy in the back of the head.”

What followed this horrible accident, as pieced together by Donahue and supported by McClaren (and lots of interviews, depositions and testimony), was an epic cover-up by the Secret Service and perhaps others (such as Senator Arlen Spector, not an Ethics Alarms favorite) to keep the facts of this massive botch from the American public. I don’t think the public was ready to accept how incompetent the Secret Service could be in 2013: now, this theory seems almost too plausible. Hickey, we learn, was an inexperienced agent whose main assignment was the motor pool. The President’s main detail, already exhausted, had decided to drink and party the night of November 21st, 1963  rather than sleep. Hungover agents recruited Hickey , for the first time, to be in the car behind the President, and made him responsible for the loaded and cocked semi-automatic weapon on the floor of the vehicle. When the first two shots came (Donahue’s work proved that the Warren Commission got the so-called “magic bullet” theory right, incidentally), a green, panicked agent reached for the gun, took off the safety, stood, and when the car lurched forward, fell back, firing off the fatal shot by mistake.

Witnesses interviewed in Dallas but never called by the Warren Commission described seeing a scene consistent with this scenario. Hickey’s description to the Commission of what he did with the gun didn’t match other testimony. Only some of the agents in the car with Hickey ever testified (this makes no sense at all). The Secret Service interfered with the autopsy, and Kennedy’s brain was even taken and “lost.” An X-ray technician involved with the autopsy told Donohue that he was told to fabricate evidence, and did.  The most suspicious revelation in the documentary is that when President Clinton, in part because of the doubts planted by “JFK,”  formed a commission to review the files, take new testimony, and analyze newly declassified documents and evidence, all the agencies involved turned over their materials, except one. The Secret Service had destroyed its files relating to Kennedy’s assassination and the aftermath, just a week before the new inquiry was to commence.

That’s spoliation.

Or just a coincidence.

Do I believe the McLaren-Donahue theory? There are problems with it. I don’t think this is the explanation people want to be true, and that accounts in part for the failure of  Donohue’s book and the 2013 documentary to spark public interest. Conspiracy theories are fun: government incompetence and cover-ups are just unsettling. It would be a useful lesson, however, if we learned that the most history-altering crime of the 20th Century was an epic example of Hanlon’s Razor, that incompetence, not malice, explains more wrongdoing than we tend to believe.

What the Kennedy assassination inquiry already shows, however, is how the confluence of conflicts of interest, ineptitude, exploitation, incompetence, and dishonesty can so poison public trust that the truth can be obscured forever. So many shady, venal people, like Stone, have lied and tried to cash in on this tragedy with false theories and personal agendas that it is now impossible to believe any theory, even sincere and thoughtful ones. If they happened upon the truth, both Donahue and  McClaren got to it too late. The press and the public had lost interest, and now have entrenched biases that cannot be dislodged. If you believed that Oswald was the lone gunman, you don’t want to hear that a young, vital Chief Executive was killed because Secret Service agents got drunk and handed a AR 15 assault rifle to a novice. (The Secret Service director at the time told the Warren Commission that a “new weapon” was in the car that day, but was no longer being used. As Theodore Roscoe would put it, “Was the AR-47 pulled to avoid a repeat of the tragedy that haunts the Secret Service? This possibility…or is it probable?… cannot be ruled out). If you are determined to find a conspiracy by the Mafia or the Cubans, or the Russians, this resolution is similarly unwelcome. For everyone else, it is now, “Yeah, yeah, another crackpot theory about JFK. I’m sick of hearing them.”)

That one was me.

George Hickey, we learn, was alive when “Mortal Error” was published, and never responded to the author’s letters and invitations to discuss what happened that November day. He waited two years, after the book had failed and the statute of limitations had run, to sue, then sued again when the book was released in paperback. The publisher, reluctant to lose any more money, settled out of court. Nobody noticed, and Hickey left this earth without ever talking to a journalist, or explaining why his Warren Commission testimony had him reaching for the gun after the fatal shot was fired, while photos and eye-witness testimony show him raising it seconds before that shot.

I don’t know if he was the real shooter. I do know, thanks to what I have learned from recent fence jumpers, drunk agents and wild parties, that Donahue’s theory seems plausible to me now, and once would not have.

104 thoughts on “JFK’s Death, Hanlon’s Razor, And How Truth Gets Buried Forever

    • star trek: the city on the edge of forever. ask the guardian 2 send us back 2 nov 22 1963. this time stop oswald + make certain the unintentional accidental firing of the ar-15 is avoided.

  1. Hah! You’re adorable.

    Here you go, a very short link, a new link, and a very long link…

    short:

    New, haven’t seen this before, complete w nose itch:

    Long:

    Truth always, ALWAYS comes out In the end…
    Enjoy…

  2. 3 shots heard, the vast majority of witnesses confident of the source.

    3 shell casings found (at that source).

    2 shots in 8 seconds (because the 1st shot starts the clock), even a pathetic marksman can handle that.

    Angle of entry of the 3rd shot is TOO high to come from the car behind.

    Why was his testimony different than what pictures show? Because guys caught in an ambush who are responsible for security don’t recall perfect timelines.

    • 3 shots heard, the vast majority of witnesses confident of the source.

      That’s not really true. The testimony of highly credible witnesses, including experienced gun user Sen. Yarborough and a police officer, of smelling gun powder at the scene cast this in doubt.

      3 shell casings found (at that source).

      There’s a very good explanation for this. Watch the documentary.

      2 shots in 8 seconds (because the 1st shot starts the clock), even a pathetic marksman can handle that.

      5.6 seconds. In the CBS reconstruction, only Donohue could hit anything.

      Angle of entry of the 3rd shot is TOO high to come from the car behind.

      Persuasively countered in the book and documentary…the botched autopsy identified the wrong point of entry AND the SS cover-up was focused on eliminating the autopsy evidence..

      Why was his testimony different than what pictures show? Because guys caught in an ambush who are responsible for security don’t recall perfect timelines.

      That’s one explanation.
      You can’t really fairly debunk the theory without watching it.

      • “That’s not really true. The testimony of highly credible witnesses, including experienced gun user Sen. Yarborough and a police officer, of smelling gun powder at the scene cast this in doubt.”

        Wonder what the micro-conditions were and wonder how the powder burns and powder quality of Oswald’s rifle was? It doesn’t take many PPM to smell something and it doesn’t take long for particles to spread.

        7.9 seconds…”Based upon an evaluation of the home movie taken by bystander Abraham Zapruder, the Warren Commission concluded that

        the time span between the shot entering the back of the President’s neck and the bullet which shattered his skull was 4.8 to 5.6 seconds. If the second shot missed, then 4.8 to 5.6 seconds was the total time span of the shots. If either the first or third shots missed, then a minimum of 2.3 seconds (necessary to operate the rifle) must be added to the time span of the shots which hit, giving a minimum time of 7.1 to 7.9 seconds for the three shots. (Emphasis added.)(2)

        The growing consensus among assassination researchers is that the first shot was fired at about frame 155 of the Zapruder film, and missed. If correct, this would give Oswald an ample 8.6 seconds to fire three shots.

        But, as Oliver Stone himself inadvertently demonstrates, six seconds would also have been enough time to fire three shots from Oswald’s rifle.”

        I’ll watch the documentary this weekend.

        “That’s one explanation.”

        A very, very plausible one anyway.

          • That throws a monkey wrench into my theory, at 15 mph (recorded wind speed at Love Field), the Soviet Paratroopers would have had a very hard time landing on the roof of the Dal-Tex building, let alone establishing the DshK firing position before opening up the killing volley.

            Well, back to the old drawing board.

          • I watched it on Friday evening and already several items popped out at me. I will be rewatching it soon to write up a more in depth analysis of this theory. But first I gotta read through the Warren Commission Report to remind myself whether or not the concerns that popped to mind are warranted (which I think they are). For example, he often tosses around the claim that the Warren Commission was very exact about which bullet did what during the assassination, yet here’s the Warren Commission’s initial blurb on the bullets:

            “The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally were fired from the sixth floor window at the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository. This determination is based upon the following:
            (a) Witnesses at the scene of the assassination saw a rifle being fired from the sixth floor window of the Depository Building, and some witnesses saw a rifle in the window immediately after the shots were fired.
            (b) The nearly whole bullet found on Governor Connally’s stretcher at Parkland Memorial Hospital and the two bullet fragments found in the front seat of the Presidential limousine were fired from the 6.5- millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano rifle found on the sixth floor of the Depository Building to the exclusion of all other weapons.
            (c) The three used cartridge cases found near the window on the sixth floor at the southeast corner of the building were fired from the same rifle which fired the above-described bullet and fragments, to the exclusion of all other weapons.
            (d) The windshield in the Presidential limousine was struck by a bullet fragment on the inside surface of the glass, but was not penetrated.
            (e) The nature of the bullet wounds suffered by President Kennedy and Governor Connally and the location of the car at the time of the shots establish that the bullets were fired from above and behind the Presidential limousine, striking the President and the Governor as follows:
            Page 19
            President Kennedy was first struck by a bullet which entered at the back of his neck and exited through the lower front portion of his neck, causing a wound which would not necessarily have been lethal. The President was struck a second time by a bullet which entered the right-rear portion of his head, causing a massive and fatal wound.
            Governor Connally was struck by a bullet which entered on the right side of his back and traveled downward through the right side of his chest, exiting below his right nipple. This bullet then passed through his right wrist and entered his left thigh where it caused a superficial wound.
            (f)There is no credible evidence that the shots were fired from the Triple Underpass, ahead of the motorcade, or from any other location.
            The weight of the evidence indicates that there were three shots fired.
            Although it is not necessary to any essential findings of the Commission to determine just which shot hit Governor Connally, there is very persuasive evidence from the experts to indicate that the same bullet which pierced the President’s throat also caused Governor Connally’s wounds. However, Governor Connally’s testimony and certain other factors have given rise to some difference of opinion as to this probability but there is no question in the mind of any member of the Commission that all the shots which caused the President’s and Governor Connally’s wounds were fired from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository.”

            Additionally, one of the corroborating witnesses use by this theoretician to support a rifle being fired INSIDE the motorcade was apparently unaware which vehicle the president was even it, the 1st or the 2nd but did recall that a pink looking puff came from one of the vehicles…supposedly this “pink puff” may have been the witness seeing the SS rifle fire…

            Really?

            The witness didn’t even know which car the president was in but did recall seeing a pink puff in one of the cars…

            Really?

            I seem to recall EXACTLY which car had a pink puff and which one also had the President in it…and why the puff was pink

              • Uhhhhh…

                It’s actual FOOTAGE from coverage immediately following the assassination. It’s not a theory, and it’s not made up. The messaging has been managed – hence the title, EVIDENCE of Revision. Why don’t you take another ‘look-see’ at the video and then answer with another glib dismissal – much more relevant than your ‘accidental gunman-unfortunate accident’ hullabaloo.

                Oh, here’s another link for you to explore – you’re labeled in this as what, knowing or ignorant imp? You decide.

                http://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/conspiracy_to_tell_the_truth_interview_with_lance_dehavensmith/

                  • What baffles me, is that with a half dozen general theories around which all the conspiracy theories can probably be classified…why aren’t the various “denominations” of conspiracy theorists arguing with each other? Their individual theories ARE NOT compatible with each other just as they are not compatible with what forensics, physics and common sense tells us what actually happened. It seems like when one “denomination” brings forth some new angle or new evidence, all the others grab it and say “See! Told you So!” without first deciding if the new angle or new evidence is even compatible with their own personal interpretation of the JFK Assassination religion.

    • I’m a distinguished expert rifle shot (expert pistol) by USMC old standards, and the same by NRA standards in 4-position. Ive never looked at the stats for this shooting. How many rounds in how many seconds, at what range? I can tell you at least if I think I could do it.

  3. I’m not certain, but I don’t think Hanlon’s razor can apply.

    The choice of Malice OR Incompetence must be applied to the same subject of the inquiry.

    It can’t be Oswald’s malice OR Hickey’s incompetence.

    Oswald or Hickey must be the subject for both options.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, please.

    • I’m referring to the government conspiracy theories. Obviously it’s Oswald’s malice. Legally, he’d still be guilty of murder, felony murder. Conspiracy theories focusing on the government—the CIA, LBJ, the military etc.—see a malign force at work. This scenario just shows government being incompetent as usual, but this time, fatally.

  4. I think I’ve only read one book on this subject — ‘Case Closed’ by Gerald Posner (1993). He totally convinced me that Oswald acted alone and I’ve not had the occasion to change my mind.

    I conspiracy theories about Pearl Harbor, JFK, and 9/11 share somewhat of a common genesis. These events were all previously inconceivable to most Americans. A lot of people simply cannot believe that our enemies could possibly have carried out their attacks (or would have dared) without inside help, typically from our government for various nefarious reasons.

    Of course this is insulting to the Japanese and jihadists, and implies that certainly they couldn’t be competent (we learned better during the course of the Pacific War). It also ignores the number of times lone assassins have altered the course of history.

    In the end, the simplest explanation — Oswald as the lone gunman — is also the one that doesn’t require massive massaging and explaining away of the facts in the case.Occam;s Razor, I think.

  5. This theory has another advantage: it explains Lee Oswald’s behavior. As I recall, when he was caught, he was claiming that he had been “set up”. Rather odd behavior for a presidential assassin… but perfectly logical for a witness to a death! Imagine it from Oswald’s point of view: he fires off two shoots, hitting Kennedy but failing to kill him, and then someone else fires the killing blow! What? WHAT? He’d be completely confused, and suddenly really paranoid, too. In my opinion, this fits well with his observed behavior.

    And the Secret Service! It’s clear that they pulled a cover-up, but what an awful cover! How much more obvious could they get? Surely, if they had planned the kill, they would have also planned a more subtle cover-up. But if they accidentally killed the President? They’d have to do a total rush job of a cover-up! And that’s what I see when I look at the known events.

    I’m still pondering the holes in the theory (thanks for the link) but this new theory makes sense of some things that have never made sense to me before. I predict that, if we ever arrive at a Grand Unified Theory of Kennedy’s death, the final theory will include elements of Donohue’s theory.

  6. Hickey’s description to the Commission of what he did with the gun didn’t match other testimony, or even the photograph showing him raising the weapon.”

    Could you direct me to the photograph of him raising the weapon? So far all I’ve found is an image of him holding the AR-15 in the car, WELL AFTER the shooting as they are racing to get to the hospital…

    Interestingly, I’ve seen stills from another video camera at the time of the head-shot that would indicate Agent Hickey still low in the car or seated, which places a windshield and 2 other agents between him and the President.

  7. Any Marine worth his salt could have made those shots. All the reenactments I have seen where they so called sharpshooters cant fire off those shots in that time period all have a couple things in common.

    None of them used the rifle sling in a loop around their arm. All Marines are taught how to do this. It pulls the rifle into the shoulder giving a lot of support.
    Between the loop sling , Oswald in a kneeling position at the ” L” of the window using both the horizontal and vertical parts as support the rifle would have been an almost immovable object allowing him to operate the bolt easily and quickly.

      • Because its not skill taught outside the Marines, the Army stopped teaching it shortly after the Korean War. It was still taught at Parris Island when I joined in 1979.

        If you watch this film of the test you will see that none of them are stable, they are sliding all over the place , plus their weight is forward which means their shooting position isn’t stable. They are also not using the vertical portion of the window mock up to support the rifle which is something Oswald would have done.

        You can see one of the shooters is using the sling partially for support but its not tight enough plus its not looped around the bicep of the arm which gives the most support.

        The men who participated in the CBS test are listed on Wikipedia as :

        “3 Maryland State Troopers, 1 weapons engineer, 1 sporting goods dealer, 1 sportsman, 1 ballistics technician, 1 ex-paratrooper, and 3 H. P. White employees.”

        • It amazes me that nobody at CBS, or outside of the test team once it was broadcast, objected that since Oswald was a Marine sniper, Marine snipers had to be used in the test.

          I’d love to get your reaction to the documentary, like the argument that while the “magic bullet” was a full metal jacket, went straight through Kennedy and Connelly (three times), the kill shot not only exploded Kennedy’s head, but exploded IN the head, leaving over 40 bullet bits…and (this investigator alleges, left an entrance wound too small for a full metal jacket bullet. Then there’s the long-standing mystery about where that recovered bullet came from, since it was just “found” at the hospital. You’d be a terrific critic of this film.

          • I’ll have to find the studies, but I recall seeing that ballistics tests on the Carcano rounds showed that impacts with the skull often did lead to bullet shattering and the bullet doesn’t *need* to shatter anyway to explode a ball of water (head), but that it did disintegrate in the skull is consistent with those ballistic tests. Whereas the “magic” (not magic at all) bullet, not impacting bone initially wasn’t likely to shatter during its deceleration with, though still traveling quickly, didn’t strike bones as quickly or directly as the headshot bullet did…

            • Indeed, though if there was a Secret service cover-up, these would be great “yeah but” deflections. MOST such bullets don’t shatter, just as most bullets that hit everything that “magic bullet” did are more beat up than the one identified as that bullet. (The documentary’s investigators say that the bullet found at the hospital was that bullet, and was just unusually but not uniquely intact.) The entry wound argument used to support the different weapon and ordinance is also problematical, as the conclusion is based on autopsy results that elsewhere the documentary says are fatally compromised. All of the factors—the drunk agents, the one novice with the gun, the odor of gunpowder, the suspicious post shooting conduct, the lost evidence—is circumstantial, but there is a lot of it.

              • Here’s a wild thought…I wonder if anyone has bothered theorizing this:

                What if Oswald did NOT miss any of his shots…or to say, he may have missed Kennedy and accidentally hit Connally and Connally’s multiple wounds could be accounted for by 2 bullets (one of which was shared with Kennedy’s back/neck shot) and Kennedy still received 2 bullets as well (including the one shared with Connally).

                Hm…

                Maybe I could get rich…

            • Hydrostatic shock from a high velocity projectile. Anyone who has shot a milk jug with anything moving greater than 1300 fps has seen this. Bullet geometry or construction doesnt play much of a role, other than in what the wound channel looks like after traveling through lots of meat. The 6.5 mannlicher-carcano round is probably moving at least 2400 fps, depending on bullet weight. Not a tremendously powerful cartridge, but certainly powerful enough to blow up someone’s head somewhat. Its also a urprisingly accurate cartridge/rifle all things considered, but if the range was as short as i seem to recall it being, that wouldnt be a huge factor.

          • “It amazes me that nobody at CBS, or outside of the test team once it was broadcast, objected that since Oswald was a Marine sniper, Marine snipers had to be used in the test.”

            Is JFK research, even by the main “respectable” channels, serious work anymore? Or is it all entertainment and pandering to salivating masses? Anytime I see these “tests”, I smell agenda, though not necessarily nefarious agenda as much as “hey, let’s come up with some more JFK entertainment”.

            It’s not hard to throw a ballistics test just like it wasn’t hard for OJ to pretend like he could put the glove on.

            Another question: Did the test group have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the rifle prior to the real deal, as Oswald did?

    • The sling is a very important piece of gear, even prone. It’s remarkable how much stability it gives you, if used correctly. By correctly, I mean your fingers are turning purple.

  8. The problem with altered evidence is if some is manufactured/altered, what isn’t? If the Secret Service tried to cover this up, then all the things you know could be wrong. All the autopsy findings are suspect as well as the ballistics work. The compositional bullet lead analysis used to ‘match’ the bullets is a technique only ever used by the FBI crime lab and since discredited (quite a scandal in itself). Even if it wasn’t a controversial topic, we would have to question whether or not such a finding was fabricated or not.

  9. ALL OF YOU — JUST WATCH THE DOCUMENTARY. If nothing else, it sheds more light on the forensics of the assassination,and the testimony ignored because it didn’t fit into the pre-ordained explanation by the Warren Commission, and provides NOT another conspiracy theory, but instead a cover-up theory (this time by the Secret Service), which now seems plausible if still outrageous/evil, considering the “outing” of other Federal Government cover-ups on a regular basis (IRS, NSA, CIA, State Department, and recent exploits of the Secret Service itself.)

    And really, what American wanted to know that Kennedy was ACCIDENTALLY shot by a Secret Service agent during a probably unsuccessful attempted assassination????? No one, no one, wanted THAT explanation — at least not for this history-changing event.

    Doesn’t make the cover-up right. But after more than 50 years, maybe it IS time for some real information.

    • Elizabeth, after more than 50 years, you are unlikely to get anything like real information. At least beyond that Kennedy was shot at least twice, one was a head shot and he died. While I would like to assume skill on the part of the assassin, I think there was some luck involved as well, and I find that REALLY distasteful. The bad guys aren’t supposed to have luck.

      • This theory is the ultimate in luck: Oswald misses, but a panicky and poorly trained agent shoots JFK anyway. The one attack on the theory that doesn’t fly is “It’s freaky.” ALL the assassinations, especially Lincoln’s were full of crazy bad luck.

        • Oh, yeah! Bad for the victim and for the shooter. At least the shooter didn’t kill himself while accidentally shooting a sitting president. If he did accidentally shoot Kennedy, bet he had some sleepless nights before passing.

        • Shouldn’t this be known as the “Naked Gun” theory? I can’t help but think of the Leslie Nielson/Queen Elizabeth scene as I contemplate this.

          Yes, I am sick.

    • That would have been my guess. Funny you’re here, being a former marine. I was going to post about how govt incompetence is, by far, the most logical explanation, and cite “Generation Kill” as a great reference, at least as it applies to the Corps. If you haaven’t seen it, you must do so. It will bring you back like nothing else you’re likely to have seen to date. My military experiences are a big part of why conspiracy theories don’t usually get much traction with me. Our government couldn’t pull off probably 98% of them. Not that I don’t believe there are people and agencies with that sort of insatiable power-lust, however.

      • I think lots of people get caught up in thinking of the govt as this monolithic organism, this “other”, and forget that it’s largely manned by everyday people, at least among the rank-and-file. The fluoride in the drinking water probably aggravates that paranoia, too.

      • Im here because Ive known Jack for years and take great joy in pushing his buttons. Its even more fun in person then on line.

        Yeah , I agree anyone who thinks the government could have pulled this off and kept it quiet has never worked for the federal government.

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