Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale University. He has been published in the Boston Globe and the Baltimore Sun.
In 1998, seven years after Oliver Stone had released his controversial blockbuster docu-drama "JFK", the only son of President John F. Kennedy, JFK Jr. was affectionately known by the public as John-John, published an article by Stone in his new magazine George. In the article, Stone reiterated his questions over the murder of the president.
George was JFK Junior's start-up magazine concept to initiate more serious political dialogue than he believed could be found in mainstream media publications.
In the piece Stone said of JFK's murder:
"Kennedy, in 1963, like Alexander long before him, was increasingly calling for radical change on several fronts - the USSR, Cuba, Vietnam. Looming ahead with his certain victory in 1964 was the specter of a Kennedy dynasty well into the 1970s. If nothing else, a motive for murder is evident."
Stone argues in the article, entitled "Our Counterfeit History," that conspiracies are part of human nature, society, and history. He argues that even anytime two children gang up against a third, it is technically a conspiracy.
In the article Stone asks:
"Tell me, do you not conspire on a regular basis? I think if you're honest, you'd agree that conspiracy is a bit like the bugs chomping in the grass in the backyard - it's everywhere, a natural outgrowth of human behavior, wherever and whenever people congregate to form societies."
Stone has never backed off of his film's premise that JFK was murdered by a cabal of CIA and US military-complex connected agents outside the normal chain of command in the US government. JFK Jr. had never endorsed the Warren Commission's conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted as a lone gunman. With the publication of the Stone article in George, John-John began to give hints on his views, at a time when it was being rumored that he was ready to enter politics, at the age of 38.
In 2000, with the retirement of US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan from his Senate seat, the seat became open and it was rumored that John-John would run, possibly to soon be followed by a run for US president.
The circumstances surrounding John-John's death remain shrouded in mystery.
The widely-circulated notion that John-John was an under-qualified pilot for the flying conditions in which his plane went down has been shown to be patently false. He was qualified for visual day or night-time flying in visibility of no less than four miles. Visibility was nine miles that night. Kennedy had accumulated over 300 hours of flying time, enough to qualify for a commercial pilot's license.
Another common misconception is that the skies were "hazy" over Martha's Vineyard, but in fact, the skies were clear, as can be seen in weather service radar for that night. The online weather conditions archive Wunderground.org shows that visibility was a clear nine miles. There was a waxing crescent moon. Radar, weather reports, and extensive witness testimony corroborate that the skies were clear and flying conditions excellent around Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard that night. The Martha's Vineyard airport was well-lit with new landing assistance lights, so much so that residents had complained about them. (Weather radar data archive.)
Kennedy had already spotted the airport lights, radioed the tower at 9:39 pm, and had begun his final approach when the plane went down in a precipitous dive, losing 1200 feet of altitude in 12 seconds, according to FAA radar analysis. The official NTSB report on the accident stated that Kennedy had made no contact with air traffic control at any airport since take-off, but in an interview with WCVB-Boston, Coast Guard Senior Petty Officer Todd Burgun revealed that Kennedy radioed the Martha's Vineyard tower just minutes before the crash, informing it of his final approach, in a calm and routine fashion. This was also reported by UPI.
Having the Martha's Vineyard Airport landing lights in sight and beginning the final approach would be very inconsistent with being disoriented, and suddenly plunging your plane into the sea.
A reporter for the Vineyard Gazette newspaper told Boston's WCVB-TV that he was out walking about the time of the crash and saw a ‘big white flash in the sky’ off Philbin Beach.”
Also killed in the crash were his wife Caroline Bessette, their unborn child, and Caroline's sister Lauren.
Other anomalies that have confounded experts and observers about the crash is the testimony of a Pennsylvania lawyer, Victor Pribanic, that he heard an explosion in the precise direction of where the plane went down as he fished for bass at night. In addition, the flight voice recorder, which would have contained the last words said in the cockpit as the plane went down, was missing its battery, thus destroying the evidence.
Also contrary to widely-read news reports, John-John was a cautious and careful flyer, according numerous evaluations by his flying instructors. The idea that he was a reckless flyer began to be reported only after the crash, relying on anonymous sources. As in his life, John-John was serious and deliberate, having shunned a promising career in acting, and earning a law degree from New York University Law School. During his college years, he worked with the Peace Corps in Guatemala.
A natural speaker, blessed with what were commonly described in the press as "devastating" good looks, the son of the murdered president was considered a threat to any potential political rival, or political enemy.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2017 Ralph Lopez
Damon Ise on November 11, 2018: