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Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Who Killed JFK? Episode 9: Jack Ruby

Episode 9 of the Who Killed JFK? podcast with Rob Reiner and Soledad O'Brien is devoted to Jack Ruby (born Jacob Rubenstein), the man who shot Lee Harvey Oswald on live television two days after John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Photo by Robert H. Jackson. Originally published in the Dallas Times Herald
November 25, 1963. Winner of the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for Photography.

I remember seeing that on television on November 24, 1963, as my 16-year-old self struggled to make sense of the horrendous assassination that had taken place two days earlier.  The first thing that came into my mind as I saw Ruby lunge forward and shoot Oswald was that this meant Oswald was not the person who shot JFK, and the real killers had hired Ruby to kill Oswald to prevent a trial and the truth from coming out.  I had seen enough Perry Mason, Dragnet, or whatever shows on television to know that's how it worked.

Episode 9 of the Who Killed JFK? podcast provides the details.  Although Ruby famously said that he killed Oswald to spare Jackie the grief she would have endured as a witness in the trial of Oswald, we learn that Ruby also said that there was a much bigger story involving Cuba that would sooner or later come out.  He never got to tell that story, because he was afraid he himself would be killed -- "I want to tell the truth, and I can't tell it here," he eventually said to Warren Commission members in Dallas in June 1964, asking that he be transferred to Washington, DC -- but his request was denied, and he died of cancer and a pulmonary embolism in January 1967, before the new trial that he had been granted could begin.

The podcast doesn't mention this, but I couldn't help wondering if the CIA heart-attack gun might have been responsible for putting Ruby, now a grave danger to the CIA, out of his misery?  Even if not, the podcast raises the important question of why the Warren Commission waited so long to interview Ruby?  Gerald Ford, then a Congressman on the Commission, later to become President in 1974 when Nixon resigned, might have known more about this, and I wonder if any of his children might have any more light to shed on what their father really thought about Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald?

The Who Killed JFK? podcast has already shone a light in all kinds of dark, deliberately hidden places, and I very much look forward to next week's episode.

See also Who Killed JFK?  A Review of the First Three Episodes of this Podcast ... Episode 4: The Real Manchurian Candidate ... Episode 5: Sheep Dipped ... Episode 6: The Richard Case Nagell Case ... Episode 7: The Assembled Killers ... Episode 8: Not Lee Harvey Oswald

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