Let’s start with honesty. I don’t have the faintest idea.
The assassination has spawned more conspiracy theories, jackpot ideas, books, films, novels than almost any other human mystery including Jack the Ripper’s identity. So why its inclusion in ‘The October Men’ and isn’t this just a debut novelist jumping on an obviously lucrative bandwagon?
That last charge is probably justifiable and I’m willing to take it on the chin (especially if the novel turns out to be successful).
A former Los Angeles District Attorney called Vincent Bugliosi tallied up the various theories and estimated that “42 groups, 82 assassins and 214 people had been accused at one time or another [of being involved] in various conspiracy scenarios”. You can find a full overview of the conspiracy theories on the marvellous Wikipedia at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy_assassination_conspiracy_theories
Despite lurid stories of involvement by the CIA, the Mafia, the Vice President, Castro, Kruschchev et al there were a couple of coincident events that led me to suggest that the then-as-now burning question of US race relations might have been at the heart of the plot. I stress that I have joined some coincidental dots and that I am not planting any flags in the sand about this. These dots are:
- JFK’s support for the Civil Rights Bill which effectively removed segregation of blacks and whites (e.g. restaurants, theatres) from the US whilst giving greater protection for the right to vote.
- JFK started the process on 11 June 1963 and was passed out of Judiciary Committee days before the assassination https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964#Legislative_history
- The Governor of Alabama – a keen segregationist – had been generating a high profile for himself by ‘standing in the schoolhouse door’ to prevent two black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wallace
- Coincidentally (?), the day of this stand was June 11 1963 – the same day that JFK issued his Report to the American People on Civil Rights
- George Wallace also tried to stop four black students from enrolling in four separate schools in Huntsville Alabama
Therefore, it seemed feasible that anyone who was opposed to desegregation was going to be very angry at JFK. And these people existing on both sides of the political divide, Democrats as well as Republicans.
As for the question: did Lee Harvey Oswald actually kill JFK? The notorious Zapruder footage (WARNING: this footage may be upsetting) clearly shows a head shot with blood spattering suggesting a sniper shot from the President’s right hand side. That would be the Grassy Knoll at about 3 o’clock from the President’s position and not the Book Depository which was more like 5 or 6 o’clock. I would say that I have visited the site in person.
Whatever the actual facts, the US Government are not appearing to be bending over backwards to furnish the full package of information (even the Trump administration’s release of documents in October 2017 wasn’t exactly fulsome). So the conspiracy theories can continue to flourish and you, gentle reader, can still make up your own mind.